Home station training ensures Soldier education not hindered by COVID
Jason Keep, Army Space Training Division, Home Station Training team, speaks with a Soldier from 18th Field Artillery Brigade, in a live contested environment down range at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Oct. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Hughes/RELEASED) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado -- With travel limitations placed on Soldiers Army-wide during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Army Space Training Division Home Station Training team provides classes to multiple units, via Microsoft Teams, secure video teleconference, and limited in-person training.

The use of MS Teams enables the HST team to continue their mission to provide the foundational training necessary to develop tactics, techniques and procedures, implement mitigation strategies, and prepare for their Combat Training Center rotations and real-world deployments.

Done within the ASTD, it is responsible for conducting training operating in a denied, degraded, and disrupted space operational environment, or D3SOE.

“When the travel ban was instigated, we had to figure out how to still train Soldiers for CTC rotations and deployments,” said Cheryl Hughes, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command HST branch chief. “This has allowed us to continue to train, versus a lot of the school houses that had to shut down. The majority of our academics are focused for the tactical user, so a lot of it is unclassified, which allowed for a larger avenue for Soldiers to learn.”

Training in a D3SOE allows Soldiers at all levels to develop and execute the necessary TTPs to mitigate the effects of a D3SOE on their systems. It also directly improves overall Army readiness by providing Soldiers and systems able to conduct critical missions at the operational and tactical levels.

As with any new delivery method, there were some challenges using MS Teams said Joan Rousseau, ASTD Strategy branch chief.

“SVTC delivery created challenges as there was no way to project slides,” she said. “As a result, both the instructors located in Colorado and the students at the distant ends had to manually review training materials in a synergistic fashion, and imposed the need for the instructors to rehearse the delivery more vigorously.”

Three training events were successfully conducted via MS Teams for 126 Soldiers from units located in Korea, Hawaii, and Fort Stewart, Georgia, where one SVTC delivery was provided for 10 Soldiers.

There were also two in-person training events, one at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Fort Stewart, Georgia, where class sizes were limited in order to maintain proper social distancing during execution. Instructors were also required to quarantine in accordance with governing policies post in-person training.

“Even with COVID, the demand for our training never went away,” Hughes said. “Commanders and leaders who wanted the training were still reaching out to us. This speaks volumes to the incredible work my team does and just paves the way for the future when it comes to incorporating Space into the tactical fight.”

The ASTD HST team is currently scheduling additional training opportunities for delivery on MS Teams and SVTC for units preparing to conduct CTC rotations and deployments.

Future in-person training events through January 2021 are planned for Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Riley, Kansas; Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington; and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.