FORT HOOD, Texas -- For the past two weeks, Troopers assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters have participated in a command post exercise, labeled CPX .5, here, which also included a deliberate water crossing in Poland.
This exercise is different from the traditional exercises because it encompasses the Troopers here at Fort Hood, as well as Troopers currently in Europe, in what is known as a blended training environment.
This is an exercise that we have had planned for a while. We were originally scheduled to be in Europe finishing up a series of exercises called Defender 20, said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Broadwater, commander of the 1st Cav. Div.
Defender 20 was meant to be a large CPX, in Europe, which included modernization training and a live Wet Gap Crossing in Poland, created to test a division sized unit’s ability to conduct a deliberate water crossing, integrate with alliance capabilities and establish a common intelligence operation picture.
Although the training was scheduled, it had to be modified due to COVID19 and the division’s priority to keep the Troopers and their families safe.
Instead, it became a blended training environment which still allowed for training objectives to be met.
Earlier this month, an element of Troopers from the First Team, called the First Team Forward, deployed to Poznan, Poland, to take over as the mission command element in the Atlantic Resolve area of responsibility, as a part of the United States’ continuing commitment to European Security in support of our NATO allies and partners.
The Forward element and the element at Fort Hood connected using the Mission Partner Environment network and new Command Post Computing Environment, which are communication systems that enable multinational information sharing and ultimately allowed for the culminating long-time planned execution of the live deliberate water crossings in Poland.
“We are well trained on the CPCE, but this was the first time we have used the latest software issue of it, and the first time we have used it on our Mission Partner Environment network to communicate with our allied partners on their tactical systems,” said Maj. Michael Finch, chief of operations for the division. “We are in a unique training situation since our team is separated on two continents, and during this exercise we have learned and become better every day, met our training objectives and continue to improve on our ability to communicate with our partners and subordinate units. We will definitely use these lessons for follow on exercises.”
CPCE provides units a user-friendly common operational picture through a single mission command suite and server hardware operated and maintained by Soldiers.
“Operating on the partnered network with our mission command systems allowed the division to develop interoperability while conducting tactical communications with the forward element and allied forces in a live, virtual, and constructed environment,” said Finch.
The Defender 20 exercise as a whole was condensed, but we were still able to execute training and gain proficiency with our teams here and our team in Poland. While we are unable to all be there physically right now, we are still able to achieve most of the objectives that were inside of this exercise, said Broadwater.
In addition to learning and using new communication systems, the blended training exercise allowed for the division to continue training on interoperability from a continent away.
Broadwater stated, anytime that we get to work with other countries we learn from them. It also helps us to build this interoperability piece that we have to continue to get better at each and every day.