NTC Improves Force Protection Training
May 16, 2008
By Casey Bain
FT. IRWIN, Calif. (Army News Service, May 16, 2008) - The National Training Center here has made significant progress in improving force-protection training for Army brigade combat teams as they prepare for future deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
With the Army's Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar Program Office, Joint Forces Command's Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team is working to incorporate the Integrated Base Defense System of Systems into existing joint fires and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to increase the safety of forward-operating bases.
"Being able to replicate the force-protection resources that an Army BCT will have in theater and provide a training environment that stresses their force-protection capabilities will greatly enhance the BCT's ability to perform their mission once in country," Lt. Col. Charles Evans, deputy commander, Operations Group, NTC.
As part of this enhanced capability, IBDSoS integrates multiple systems and sensors to improve situational awareness and provides an audible warning of a potential attack on a FOB.
"IBDSoS provides the warfighter with an integrated set of capabilities that is designed to protect against and defeat perimeter threats that our forces face in today's operational environment," said Kirk Ruppel, senior IBDSoS trainer at NTC. "IBDSoS is an integral part of C-RAM and provides the ground commander with additional capabilities to defeat the insurgent threat and preserve his combat power."
According to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chris Olson, C-RAM project lead at JFIIT, fully integrating the joint fires and JISR assets into IBDSoS training will help prepare units for their experiences in theater and improve warning and reaction times.
Eventually, he said, IBDSoS and C-RAM will be digitally integrated with joint fires and command and control systems, which should greatly improve shared situational awareness among coalition forces and make it easier to defeat threats to FOBs.
Soldiers undergoing the training agreed it was going to help them.
"I've learned more from this NTC rotation than any I've ever experienced," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Green, battle captain, base defense operations center, 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division. "The increase in situational awareness we've received while using this system allows us to see real-time what is going on around our perimeter, warn friendly personnel of a possible attack, and helps us to more efficiently defeat the threat...simply put, IBDSoS helps us save lives."
"NTC provides great training and good coaching to exceptional soldiers within the brigade support battalions that are assigned base defense responsibilities," said Ruppel. "The goal of IBDSoS is to increase the force protection capabilities on FOBs to help improve their base defenses, and allows the commander to focus most of their time and effort outside the FOB on the tactical mission they are assigned."
(Casey Bain works with Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team, U.S. Joint Forces Command.)