By Bob McElroy IMCOMJanuary 24, 2014
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- The Asymmetric Warfare Group officially opened its $90.1 million Asymmetric Warfare Training Center here during a brief ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 24.
The complex features state-of-the art training and range facilities that support the AWG mission of rapid material and non-material solution development as well as adaptability and resiliency training.
The 300-acre training complex includes a headquarters, barracks, administrative, training and maintenance facilities, an Urban Area, a 12-mile Mobility Range, an 800 meter Known Distance Range, a light demolitions range and an indoor range.
There's also a mosque, a soccer stadium, a subway station complete with subway cars and a train station with real rail cars.
Col. John P. Petkosek, the commander of AWG and the featured speaker, said the new training center will help the organization accomplish its mission of identifying shortfalls, developing answers and solving problems.
"That's what the Asymmetric Warfare Training Center is all about. This is the place where we can be creative, where we can come up with solutions for problems that we don't even know we have yet," Petkosek said.
"This is where we'll look at solutions for the future--material solutions and non-material solutions…anything from how you're going to operate in a subterranean environment to how you dismount a Humvee to avoid an IED strike. All of these things are the things we do at this facility."
Several years ago the AWG came under the command of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, a relationship Petkosek called "…a fantastic fit" because TRADOC institutionalizes the solutions AWG develops.
"Once we come up with those solutions we're able roll them back into the institutional army so the next unit and the next unit doesn't have to relearn those lessons; we capture them and share them with the rest of the Army," he said.
Petkosek said that as the Army changes and moves into the future the AWG and Fort A.P. Hill will be instrumental in building the force of the future.
"The Strategic Landpower Task Force said we are looking in the future for ready, robust, responsive and regionally-engaged forces operating on the land. That's what the Army needs for the future and this is the kind of place where we're going to build those forces," Petkosek said.
"Whether there are other units coming here to train or whether it's the Asymmetric Warfare Group looking at the capability gaps and coming up with solutions, Fort A.P Hill and the Asymmetric Warfare Training Center are the places where that's going to happen. This is really important for the installation and the Army as a whole."
The Asymmetric Warfare Group traces its roots to the Army Improvised Explosive Device Task Force, a unit formed in 2003 to improve intelligence gathering, acquire counter-IED technology and develop counter-IED training for troops in the field. The task force proved its relevance and led the Army to establish the Asymmetric Warfare Regiment which later changed its name to the Asymmetric Warfare Group.
Based at Fort Meade, Md. the AWG sends its operational advisors wherever Soldiers are deployed-- Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, South America, Asia and the Pacific Region.