Leaders use battlefield incidents to train for Joint operations
August 25, 2009
GETTYSBURG, Pa. (Aug. 20, 2009) - A new integrated training that targets decision making and planning skills in crisis situations was demonstrated during the TRADOC Senior Leaders Conference here Wednesday.
The training, which involves video, discussion and a case study, was facilitated by Maxie McFarland and Col. Paul Funk of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command G-2.
The demonstration was based off real-life events that happened in the Farah Province of Afghanistan in May. The Farah Incident, as it is often called, involved an American airstrike over a village leading to a significant number of civilian casualties.
"We didn\'t make any of this up, nothing is fabricated," emphasized McFarland, deputy chief of staff, G-2. "Nothing that wasn't real at the time was injected in this."
Funk, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center's Training Division, led the participants through a pre-brief of the situation. The participants, TRADOC commandants and command sergeants major (many who have supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a leadership capacity), were able to answer questions through the leadership lens.
"What are your considerations when you're asked to do a mission with the Afghan Police and the Afghan National Army'" he asked.
"Find out what they're looking for as far as response," said USACAC Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Johndrow. "Find out what's going on, the people and the culture, the assets and how far they're trying to go, what they're looking at and what's going on."
The discussion included videos of the area, aerial views of the province and the air strikes that took place. The group also addressed the needs of working in a Joint environment. Coordinating with the Air Force, Marine Corps, Afghan Police and military added more players, needs and considerations. Funk highlighted the lessons learned from the Farah Incident.
"Through this, some of our lessons-learned are to improve quick-reaction-force planning, a better monitor of close air support and to conduct a close battle follow-up," he said.
The authenticity and the total approach of the demonstrations provided a new insight to the future of training.
"We got this [information] from our significant actions report," said McFarland. "We used our tracking systems and gathered all the actual imagery and intelligence to create this simulation, and we're making this available to our leaders."