By Sgt 1st Class Caleb BarrieauApril 26, 2015
SMARDAN, Romania (April 27, 2015) -- War strategists, from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz, could never quite solve the problems posed by distance. But distance is becoming less and less of an issue for training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, or JMRC.
U.S. and British troops are both simultaneously conducting situational exercises here and at the JMRC's Hohenfels Training Areas. What has been dubbed "connected training" is proving they can all link into the same training exercises and receive unparalleled multinational training from a U.S. Army combat training center.
U.S. Soldiers, from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, are training with NATO allies and partners during Operation Wind Spring, a satellite exercise held in Romania that is part of the larger multinational exercise, known as Exercise Saber Junction 15, which will conclude at U.S. Army Europe's Hohenfels Training Area, April 30.
Multinational exercises, including Operation Wind Spring, are becoming a commonplace as the U.S. Army encourages interoperability with its NATO allies and partners through connected training.
What in the past was confined to a single geographical area has now expanded throughout Europe. So while the Romanian 282nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade fights a replicated enemy played by U.S. Soldiers, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment in Romania, that same enemy is being fought at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany - as part of Exercise Saber Junction 15.
"During [Exercise] Saber Junction 15, we have a Division [4th Infantry Division] providing mission command for one live brigade in Hohenfels [2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment], and a Romanian Brigade [282nd Romanian Mechanized Infantry Brigade] and [a] Lithuanian Battalion in a simulated environment, simulating units operating side-by-side," said Capt. Hector Rueda, assigned to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center's Warhog observer coach trainer, or OCT, team. "This training highlights multinational interoperability at all levels."
JMRC's OCTs conceptualize, administer and monitor the bulk of the training at the JMRC. The JMRC often sends OCT teams to multiple countries, which also expands training to countries unable to participate in the large-scale training exercises.
"The Romanian brigade is very receptive of all feedback provided by OCTs at all levels, and as the exercise progresses, the units continue to improve," Rueda said. "We are able to give an unbiased, outside perspective, to training units that help further refine their military operations."
U.S. Army training continues to evolve. The Multinational Interoperability Program Gateway, or MIP, allows multinational command and control systems to pass data across different networks for collaborative sharing of information.
"This allows units to exercise adjacent unit coordination and synchronization of assets and enablers, because they are seeing a common operating picture as their multinational partners," Rueda said.