By Joint Forces Headquarters, Washington National Guard Washington National GuardJuly 1, 2019
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - For eight years, Panther Strike has set the standard for military intelligence training for the U.S. Army. The multi-national, multi-echelon military intelligence training exercise challenges soldiers on the skills associated with counterintelligence, human intelligence, geospatial, all-source and signal intelligence.
That is why leaders from the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion traveled to Camp Williams, Utah to learn about the success of the 2019 event.
"We will be hosting Panther Strike 2021 at Camp Williams," said Lt. Col. Teresa Wenner, commander of the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion. "We have two years to plan the event, coordinate any support needed and prepare the best exercise scenario for more than 1,000 intelligence professionals."
Even though it's a training event, hosting Panther Strike is no small task.
What started as a company level exercise in 2003 with the Florida National Guard's 260th Military Intelligence Battalion has grown to include Counter Intelligence and SIGINT operations and is now a brigade-level exercise hosted by the battalions of the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade. Since 2012, Panther Strike has been conducted at Camp Williams, Utah, where the terrain, topography, and temperatures closely resemble those found in Afghanistan.
"This year, more than 800 participants were involved in Panther Strike, to include another 110 five eye partners," said Col. Joseph Green, commander of the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade. "We want to start including more open source and cyber into future Panther Strikes, so it will just keep growing."
Next year the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion will conduct Panther Strike "Lite," a smaller version of the exercise to test the battalion's capabilities.
"We will be incorporating the Panther Strike model, but for the 341st only. This will allow us to identify any gaps before we host the large exercise in 2021," said Wenner. "We are looking at all sorts of training avenues to prepare."
During Panther Strike, Counter Intelligence professionals from Bravo Company, 341st Military Intelligence Battalion worked with soldiers from the 6th Military Intelligence Battalion, United Kingdom.
"We shared a lot of lessons learned and really worked well off one another," said Sgt. Jeremy Gamelli, a counterintelligence soldier with Bravo Company. "This exercise was great for practicing the skills needed to be successful at counterintelligence."