FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The 1st Brigade Combat Team began Operation Mountain Peak, a brigade-level training exercise designed to assess the unit's readiness to successfully complete its combat training center rotation, Monday at Fort Drum.

During this exercise, the Warrior Brigade units encounter realistic scenarios requiring the demonstration of technical and tactical competencies, which result in the certification of the battalions and companies.

"We're looking at developing a decisive action brigade combat team that's ready to fight anywhere and in any conflict," said Maj. James Browning, 1st BCT operations officer. "We are honing our skills more -- specifically for warfighting -- to engage enemy in pitch battle and direct contact, to execute and dynamically win anywhere."

Conducting a brigade-level exercise of this magnitude at a unit's home-station is a rare occurrence, especially to Col. Mark O'Donnell, 1st BCT commander.

"Over the course of my career -- 24 years -- I've probably done seven or eight brigade-level exercis-es," he said.

Although occasions to engage in this type of training have been uncommon throughout his experience, the Warrior Brigade com- mander appreciates the implications.

"Mountain Peak is a brigade-level field training exercise that gives our brigade a unique opportunity to employ all of our brigade-level combat systems in one field exercise where the resourcing of the training is not our own," O'Donnell said.

"What this gives us is an opportunity to go out and execute those core training tasks as a brigade in a very fluid environment in which there's (opposing forces) out there aggressing against us and make the assessment to see exactly where we're at," he said.

With a fast-approaching rotation at the Joint Training Readiness Center, Fort Polk, La., begin- ning in January, there are no illusions regarding O'Donnell's goals for his brigade.

"The brigade is meant to be a stand-alone, self-contained organization that can deploy, fight on arrival and win," he said.

The exercise incorporates elements from across the Army, as well as the Air Force. It also includes members of the Royal Canadian Dragoons from 2nd Canadian Brigade Group who are partnered with 1st BCT as part of the NATO Reciprocal Unit Exchange Program, which is designed to enhance cooperation, improve interoperability and foster unit relations among coalition forces.

The 1st Brigade Combat Team will complete its portion of Mountain Peak on Oct. 9.