Active Army and Guard divisions pair up against hybrid threat in Warfighter exercise

By Maj. Orlandon HowardNovember 30, 2022

40ID Rehearsal
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 40th Infantry Division leaders conduct a combined arms rehearsal during a command post exercise, September 13, 2022 in preparation for their November Warfighter exercise. A warfighter exercise is a 10-day training event used as a capstone for division and corps echelons and is typically conducted bi-annually. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Maj. Orlandon Howard) VIEW ORIGINAL
40ID Group Photo
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 40th Infantry Division Soldiers take a group photo in their division tactical command post (DTAC) area during Warfighter Exercise 23-2 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, November 9, 2022. A warfighter exercise is a 10-day training event used as a capstone for division and corps echelons and is typically conducted bi-annually. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Maj. Orlandon Howard) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division and California-based National Guard 40th Infantry Division conducted warfighter exercises at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, supported by the Mission Command Training Program, Nov. 5-14.

It was a part of an ongoing series of division-level exercises with Regular Army and Reserve Component elements training side-by-side to build proficiency and readiness to conduct multidomain operations in large-scale combat operations.

The Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James McConville's recent comments at a National Guard conference suggested the importance of the two components training together.

"We [the Regular Army] don't go anywhere or do anything without the National Guard,” he said. “We cannot do what we do as an Army without the National Guard.”

The 3rd and 40th Inf. Div. elements simulated operating as adjacent divisions, tasked with expelling an invasion force from an occupied allied country.

The scenario allowed them to practice pacing their offensive operations as adjacent units within their respective sectors to limit creating potential vulnerabilities on their flanks. They also worked on coordinating cross-boundary and deep area support and sharing information to round out each element’s understanding of their current situation.

The 3rd Infantry Division takes part in warfighter exercise
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Christian Lopera, left, an army cyber network defender, and Cpt. Stephen Harding, right, G-6 plans officer, both assigned to 3rd Infantry Division, conducts assessments of simulated threats and vulnerabilities during a warfighter exercise on Fort Stewart, Georgia, Nov. 15, 2022. A warfighter exercise is a 10-day training event used as a capstone for division and corps echelons and is typically conducted bi-annually. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Duke Edwards) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fuel Check
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Spc. Rhiannon Henry, a fire support specialist, Ops Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 40th Infantry Division, checks the fuel level for a generator during the Command Post Exercise on Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton, California, Sept. 13, 2022. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Yancy Mendoza) VIEW ORIGINAL

The exercise proved timely and operationally relevant.

It occurred amid the official announcement of the 3rd Inf. Div.’s Combat Aviation Brigade deployment to Europe as part of the U.S. Atlantic Resolve mission.

Atlantic Resolve began in 2014 with the U.S. providing rotational deployments of combat-credible forces to Europe to show its commitment to NATO and strengthen their interoperability, according to U.S. Army Europe and Africa sources.

The 3rd CAB honed its ability to support division-level operations in the exercise ahead of their deployment.

MCTP’s warfighter exercises are emerging as the Army’s go-to combat training center rotations for readying echelons above brigade and functional and multifunctional brigades ahead of deployments.

The Colorado-based 4th Inf. Div. headquarters and its sustainment brigade also completed warfighter exercises in October. They’re set to deploy to Europe in 2023, with the 3rd CAB aligned under their command and support in Europe.

4DSB Warfighter 23-1
A group of Soldiers attached to the 4th Division Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, set up camo nets in preparation for Warfighter 23-1, on Fort Carson, Colorado, October 2, 2022. A warfighter exercise is a 10-day training event used as a capstone for division and corps echelons and is typically conducted bi-annually. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Jason Klaer) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 40th Inf. Div. brought a unique perspective to the exercise. It has significant expertise in urban operations, having conducted real-world support missions within its state in highly urbanized cities such as Los Angeles. It also leads an urban planners’ course and recently partnered with the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, to enhance the urban terrain it replicates in its training areas.

Their perspective gave them a keen sense of civilian considerations respective to their operations. It led to detailed focus on judicious and precision targeting in their area of operations.

However, the exercise allowed them to train on complementary skills of facing a near-pear threat in less densely populated areas, akin to some of the operations seen in Ukraine.

Incidentally, the California National Guard from which the 40th hails, has a state partnership with Ukraine. The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, U.S. Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, recently told congressional elements that Ukraine contacted California National Guard leaders when Russia invaded the country.

“When Russia began its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s military leaders reached out to people they trusted — people they had known for years. And those were members of the California National Guard,” said Hokanson. Ukrainians’ first text messages were, “We’re being invaded.” Their second messages said, “Here’s what we need.”

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Malanka, commander of the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard, second from left, talks with Colonel-General Sergii Larovyi, Ukraine First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, second from right, and Major-General Oleh Melchutskyi, Ukraine Deputy Head of the State Emergency Services, left, on June 25, 2018, inside the 40th Infantry Division headquarters building at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, California. Leaders from the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs are visiting various agencies in California this week to exchange emergency management and disaster preparedness techniques. The California National Guard and Ukraine have worked together for over 25 years through the National Guard State Partnership Program.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Malanka, commander of the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard, second from left, talks with Colonel-General Sergii Larovyi, Ukraine First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, second from right, and Major-General Oleh Melchutskyi, Ukraine Deputy Head of the State Emergency Services, left, on June 25, 2018, inside the 40th Infantry Division headquarters building at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, California. Leaders from the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs are visiting various agencies in California this week to exchange emergency management and disaster preparedness techniques. The California National Guard and Ukraine have worked together for over 25 years through the National Guard State Partnership Program. (Photo Credit: Photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Crystal Housman) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ukrainian military and internal affairs leaders visit JFTB
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Malanka, commander of the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard, greets Colonel-General Sergii Larovyi, Ukraine First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, June 25, 2018, outside the 40th Infantry Division headquarters building at Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, California. Leaders from the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs are visiting various agencies in California this week to exchange emergency management and disaster preparedness techniques. The California National Guard and Ukraine have worked together for over 25 years through the National Guard State Partnership Program. (Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Crystal Housman) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 3rd Inf. Div. also had a real-world connection to the conflict in Ukraine. One of its brigade combat teams deployed to Europe on short notice as soon as the invasion began. It was tasked to support Joint Task Force Dragon to assure NATO allies and partners in the region.

“Soldiers of the 3rd Inf. Div. regularly deploy to support combatant commands all over the world, assisting our allies and partners in a wide range of environments and missions,” said Col. Pete Moon, 1st ABCT, 3rd Inf. Div. commander, in a statement following designation of the mission.

The brigade had only recently returned from its deployment before the exercise began. Its leaders and Soldiers undoubtedly returned with lessons and insight that helped enable the broader division better to understand its operational environment and execute its operations so successfully in the warfighter exercise.