European Counter IED training expanding partner capacity
April 19, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (April 19, 2011) - Multinational military personnel from five countries attended the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Train the Trainer Course here at the Joint Multinational Training Command from April 4 - 8.
Funded by the Joint IED Defeat Organization, this state-of-the-art course is the only kind in the world made available to all U.S., NATO and Coalition soldiers.
Coalition partners from Poland, Slovenia, Serbia, Romania and Hungary participated in the program to become trained as IED-defeat instructors who train counter-IED measures within their own units prior to and during deployments to Afghanistan and other future Coalition conflicts.
"This is a great class with a lot of hands-on information," said Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Hudson. "The fact that we get to train soldiers from countries that are members of NATO and Coalition partnerships, so they can support us down-range, makes this all the more worthwhile."
Hudson is the Combat Skill Training Branch Counter-IED Course Manager and instructor. He has four deployments as an Explosives Ordnance Technician under his belt with experience ranging from roadside bombs to searching homes for labs.
During the weeklong course, U.S. and multinational soldiers prepare for future deployments by developing their situational-awareness skills through the use of various simulations platforms.
The first phase is devoted to learning about the enemy. The instruction consists of familiarization with IEDs, unexploded ordnances and explosively formed projectiles, as well as suicide bombers, IED materials and IED Disposal Tactical Technique Procedures.
The second phase helps soldiers understand how to counterattack the enemy by maintaining situational awareness, knowing what to look for while on patrol and searching homes of potential insurgents, as well as knowing what to do when an IED is found or detonated.
By having all live, virtual, constructive and gaming assets controlled by one headquarters, training conducted by the JMTC is unique due to training synergies not offered by other training centers.
This program is also the first and only location in the U.S. Army that offers multicultural training such as C-IED for Coalition partners.
"This was a very good opportunity," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrija Radic, a military police section commander from Serbia. "Since my country is trying to gain better ties with NATO, it is good that we are here getting exceptional training from the U.S."
Just like all JMTC courses, the curriculum for this course is frequently updated to meet multicultural and battlefield nuances to ensure students get the best instruction possible.
"The courses here adapt by experiences and newfound information from our units downrange," Hudson said. "So, when Soldiers come across an insurgent's change in tactics, we adjust fire on our end and make the necessary alterations so that our training is always kept current."
Within the C-IED course, there are several practical training exercises which provide state-of-the art technology and scenarios soldiers will potentially be faced with downrange.
One such simulator is the Reconfigural Vehicle Tactical Trainer where soldiers can conduct convoy missions down a road in an Iraqi village, avoid roadside bombs and engage in enemy fire, all in the safety of a 360-degree virtual training station.
Another part of the course provides soldiers the opportunity to train on the Virtual Battlespace Systems 2. In the VBS2, soldiers can perform mounted and dismounted operations, communications, reacting to IEDs, and engaging in enemy contact - all within a virtual environment.
"It's like a high-speed Playstation," Hudson said. "It enhances the course for us because there are so many things about this simulator that makes it so great to work with it. The details alone, where you can actually see wires and details that you don't normally see in other virtual simulators makes this one of the best simulators available."
Yet, another part of the course is using the Multi-cultural Mobile Counter-IED Trainers. The McMCIT is a series four training cells, with real-life examples of IEDs and its components as well as a video game simulator of convoy operations.
By integrating other languages, such as Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian, it is the only McMCIT in the U.S. Army built to specifically support out multinational partners.
Soldiers can walk through each cell and observe the component of an IED. One of the cells gives soldiers a chance to familiarize themselves with the overwhelming odors of bomb-making materials.
The fourth cell gives soldiers the opportunity to take turns role-playing as insurgents on a video-game simulator, so soldiers can gain an enemy's perspective during an attack of convoy operations.
"The video simulator and practical exercises were my favorite parts, and I would recommend this course to anyone," said Warrant Officer Arnold Cservenak, a contract trainer for the Central Training Base in Hungary.
While all three simulators may not be available at all times here, since they are mobile training stations, units interested in enrolling in to this course can make requests for the simulators to be a part of the curriculum for their soldiers.
The many facets of this course make for an attractive curriculum for all soldiers - U.S. and multinational - training and preparing for deployment.
In fiscal year 2010, 790 NATO and Coalition soldiers were enrolled in this program which has now jumped to 864 in the first two quarters of the current fiscal year.
Hudson said the course, established in February 2010, takes in about 25 to 30 students every three weeks and is completely booked until the end of 2011, so interested units are advised to enroll quickly for next year.
This program is offered to senior-noncommissioned officers and officers for U.S. and multinational soldiers. Multinational soldiers must take a written English proficiency test and based on their scores will determine the course enrollment acceptance by the JMTC.
For more information or enrollment inquiries, go online to the ATRRS website through AKO or contact Sgt. 1st Class Hudson, the POC, at 09641-83-7943 (civilian line) or 475-7943 (military DSN).