FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas – Fresh off the heels of training as an Enhanced Response Cell (ERC) during Warfighter Exercise 21-3 in February, the 1st Armored Division (1AD) is set to put those lessons to the test in the upcoming WFX 21-4. In April, 1AD will conduct a warfighter simulation at its home base of Fort Bliss, Texas. Every division and corps headquarters in the Army usually conducts a warfighter validation every two years as a training audience. Yet, for the 1AD headquarters team, familiarity with this training opportunity is much more recent.
Warfighter exercises (WFX) test the commanders and staff of brigade, division, and corps headquarters on mission essential tasks, as well as the commander’s training objectives in a simulated large scale combat operations environment (LSCO) through an exercise computer network. The challenges of managing simulated complex ground operations in a highly time-constrained environment helps commanders to identify gaps in their staff’s planning and execution capabilities for managing combat operations.
Having evolved the training scenario away from a primary focus on counterinsurgency, the Mission Command Training Program’s (MCTP) warfighter exercises today focus on the crucial role that the division main command post, tactical command post and support area command post fill in operating across the deep, close, and consolidation areas of a LSCO environment.
Prior to going through a WFX, training audiences complete a series of command post exercises, much in the way that Army training starts at the individual and works its way up to collective squad, platoon and company-level training events. During WFX 21-3 in February, 1AD used their Command Post Exercise-3 (CPX 3) training event to perform as an ERC for the 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions.
“Embedding CPX 3 into a WFX as an ERC improves WFX training objectives,” said MCTP Deputy Commander Myron Reineke.
According to Lt. Col. James Brogan, the main benefit to embedding 1AD’s CPX into this warfighter exercise is that it allowed the division to execute a repetition in the new Baltic scenario under III Corps as the higher command element before the division goes into WFX 21-4 with III Corps as its higher headquarters. Brogan is the intelligence warfighting function chief for MCTP’s Operations Group Bravo and lead planner for the group’s upcoming warfighter with 1AD.
This arrangement offered the 1AD staff access to other exercise role players operating in support of WFX 21-3, including unified action partners. The CPX also allowed the division to observe peer units during warfighter training and to revise operating procedures and staff products. The 1AD staff used the enhanced response cell experience to revise the tactical standard operating procedures (TACSOP) and planning standard operating procedures (PSOP) to provide better information, make better decisions, and generate more refined guidance to subordinate units. This sets the conditions for a higher level of division staff training for 1AD during WFX 21-4.