Maneuver Center of Excellence
The activation ceremony of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Oct. 22, at Fort Benning's Ridgway Hall features Maj. Gen. Michael Ferriter, commanding general, behind and to the right of the podium.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 6, 2010) -- The Army Maneuver Center for Excellence opened in October at Fort Benning, Ga., with new simulation facilities expected to train about 111,000 Soldiers this year, and about 144,000 by 2011, said its first commander.

Maj. Gen. Michael Ferriter, also Fort Benning's post commander, discussed the new center's contributions to Army aviation today at the Association of the United States Army's Aviation Symposium in Arlington, Va.

The new Army Maneuver Center is linked to the aviation force through its simulation-based training of captains and noncommissioned officers, Ferriter said.

These systems "allow our teams to fight together while they're back at school, and they will use the same kind of system that they'll use to fight together while deployed," he said.

Ferriter expects to see even more collaboration as the Army and the center continue to develop the Virtual Battlespace System and equivalent programs.

"When you consider that every staff sergeant, sergeant first class, lieutenant and captain, and all pre-command lieutenant colonels of infantry and armor are going to come through this one place... if we get it right, it will have a very large impact on the Army for years to come," he said.

Construction of the center comes as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act, which combined the Army's Infantry and Armor schools. Though Fort Benning has been home to the Infantry School since 1918, the Armor School is relocating from Fort Knox, Ky.

In addition to the construction of the center producing a physical change at Fort Benning, there is a psychological change that must be taken into account as well, said Ferriter.

"Families that are leaving Fort Knox are having some anxiety, they're leaving their comfort zone, both the military families and the many civilians that are coming along, so we're reaching out," he said.

Preparation for the incoming Soldiers, families and civilians has led to participation in town hall meetings in an effort to coordinate with the surrounding communities, as well as more than $2 billion in construction projects to include a new hospital, post exchange, gym and enlisted housing, said Ferriter.

The center "is going to be a big organization. I'm surrounded by very, very talented folks, and it's an exciting time," he said.

The Army Aviation Symposium will continue through Thursday, exploring Army aviation's wartime sustainment, transformation, and methods for best acquiring and sustaining the materials necessary for the successful support of the Aviation warfighter.

Page last updated Wed January 6th, 2010 at 17:52