BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team conducted a warfighter exercise, August 8 to 18, in the Idaho National Guard's Orchard Combat Training Center that prepared its command and staff teams for follow-on operations.

The warfighter exercise was part of the brigade's four-year sustainment readiness requirement leading into its National Training Center rotation in 2019 and its available-year in 2020, when the organization could deploy.

"This staff development is critical," said Lt. Col. Eric Orcutt, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team executive officer. "In order for us to be successful at NTC, the staff must be able to build clear and concise orders that can be published in a timely manner."

Brigade and battalion staff had the opportunity to train in their war fighting capacities, including developing quality operational orders, while command teams had the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of their staff and processes within each command post.

"The brigade and battalion staff showed a willingness to learn and grow from many challenges they faced throughout the exercise," said Col. Scott Sheridan, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team commander. "Their tremendous efforts will prove beneficial to the brigade going forward and in its available year."

Representatives from all seven of the brigade's units attended, including the 1-163rd Combined Arms Battalion from Montana, the 1-221st Armored Reconnaissance Squadron from Nevada and the 3-116th Combined Arms Battalion from Oregon.

It was the first time since 2015 that brigade and battalion staff from all four states trained together.

"It's hard to get all of the brigade in one place at the same time," said Orcutt. "This was a great opportunity to get each state and their command posts operating and functioning with the brigade staff."

Brigade and battalion staff will convene together once more for a Leadership Training Program at Fort Irwin California in November. There they will develop an operational order for the brigade's NTC rotation, which will also be at Fort Irwin.

During the 28-day NTC rotation, the brigade as a whole will use practices developed during its warfighter exercise and a two-week eXportable Combat Training Capability rotation it completed in June to conduct staff and unit-maneuver operations.

The exercise will be the brigade's final year-three training requirement to validate the organization's readiness for real-world missions the following year.

"NTC is a culminating event for us," said Orcutt. "The end state is that we are trained and ready to respond to whatever call the nation requires of us in our available year."