DRAWSKO-POMORSKIE, Poland – The staff and enabler support battalions from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division “Black Jack” recently concluded a two-week long command post exercise on March 3, 2023. A Command Post Exercise (CPX) is a headquarters exercise involving commanders and their staffs, and communications within and between participating headquarters, in which NATO and friendly forces, as well as opposing forces are simulated.
The exercise began with the headquarters company for the brigade, led by Capt. Shaun Ferguson, conducting quartering party operations and establishing security for the future location of the tactical brigade headquarters. Once the establishment conditions were met, the real work began to allow the brigade to communicate with its subordinate units and higher headquarters.
Speaking on the purpose of the CPX, Maj. Charles “Larry” Harris stated “It [CPX] is really to ensure that we are a combat credible force as a brigade, and we have a responsibility to be able to receive communications, transmit, conduct the MDMP process, and be able to communicate across all platforms with our division. The purpose is to validate that we are a combat credible force, but also conduct interoperability with our allies and partners. Our main end goal is to ensure that we have the ability to control our forces, to understand our operational environment, and ultimately to be the combat credible force that we have been asked to be.”
During this CPX, the Black Jack exercise was visited by leaders of the Polish 16th Mechanized Division, the higher headquarters of the brigade for the upcoming exercise Combined Resolve 18. This delegation consisted of representatives of each warfighting function that were able to establish a working relationship prior to each unit reporting to Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, later this spring.
Upon completing the operations order for the simulated exercise, the staff present a combined arms rehearsal (CAR) to the commander to clarify details of the operations and allows the staff to visualize and synchronize efforts between themselves and other elements. A key difference for this CAR from others is that the brigade commander, Col. C.J. Kirkpatrick, was joined by the leaders from the Polish 16th Mechanized Division. Their participation helped them understand the style of planning and wargaming the brigade conducts during the military decision-making process. Maj. Marcin Biegaj, the operations officer for 16th Mechanized Division, pointed out that they “do not normally do rehearsals with physical objects at the brigade and above levels,” and “choose instead to use computer simulations to better see themselves.”
The presence of our Polish allies greatly assisted the staff in preparing to conduct joint and multinational training and ensure the concepts and branch-specific language was universally understood. The Black Jack Brigade is now postured to better support America’s V Corps as a combat-credible force in the European theater of operations.