FORT HOOD, Texas — Leaders and Troopers from the 1st Cavalry Division, America’s First Team, spent nine days honing their capability to fight in a large-scale combat operation while operating in multiple domains during the Warfighter 23-04 exercise.
From April 19-28 the division staff, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, the Division Artillery Brigade and four maneuver brigades including the United Kingdom’s 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team from the Pennsylvania National Guard took part in the exercise operating out of several different command nodes across one of the U.S. Army’s largest military installations.
The Warfighter is a simulation-driven, tactical command post exercise in which participants fight against a live, freethinking adversary. The exercise is overseen by the Mission Command Training Program which supports the collective training of Army units to provide commanders and leaders the opportunity to train on real-time, virtual platforms.
For America’s First Team, this exercise was a culmination of six months of training. It was also unique because the division integrated maneuver, sustainment and protection units including liaison officers from the Army Reserve and National Guard and from a NATO ally, the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division.
“There was a lot of great effort across the staff and subordinate units, and I could not be prouder of this organization,” said Maj. Gen. John B. Richardson IV, 1CD commanding general. “Everyone stayed dialed in the entire time and we are a better warfighting division after this exercise.”
According to the 1CD liaison officer from the 20th (United Kingdom) ABCT, an infantry lieutenant with three years of service in the armed forces, the exercise proved to be an excellent training ground for integration in planning, execution and communication systems. The young officer also said he felt this exercise achieved the goal of increasing interoperability on the procedural, technical and human levels.
1CD also fully integrated all mission command integration systems including the Command Post Computing Environment, or CPCE, to synchronize units across the Division battlespace.
From the corps level down to the battalion level, units have a stand-alone CPCE server which allows them to battle track and develop their common operating picture and share this information up, down and across organizations so we have the same sight picture within the operational environment.
The CPCE system enabled the real-time sharing of information across the battlespace with subordinate units, partners and allies, as well as with divisions operating alongside 1CD in the III Armored Corps area of operations including 1st Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Division United Kingdom.
“We maximized the capabilities of the mission command systems which allowed all units to better visualize the battlefield and enable timely decision making for the commanding general,” said Maj. Pete Anderson, deputy knowledge management officer, 1CD. “I feel we can build upon this training experience and use this knowledge and understanding during future command post exercises and potentially in a combat environment.”
The progression of command post exercises including Warfighter also allowed the command to grow the capabilities in the rear command posted and turn it into a fully functional division task force command post capable of executing all functions of command and control associated with multi-domain operations.
Maj. John Pelham, deputy plans officer, 1CD has participated in three previous warfighter exercises and said he felt this exercise forced the division command team and staff to develop trust and proficiency in our equipment, systems and processes as this was the first fully executed via distributed means in the execution process.
“The combined efforts of the team ensured continuous synchronization of the division sustainment and protection fights, as well as the security of the rear area allowing for enduring retention of tempo, extension of operational reach and preservation of freedom of action,” Pelham said.
For younger Troops serving with division staff sections, this exercise was an opportunity to learn and understand how a division headquarters and staff would operate in a large-scale combat environment.
“The Warfighter exercise was a major learning experience for me,” said Spc. Jack Tyrwhitt, intelligence analyst, 1CD. “It challenged me and tested my abilities as an analyst and a Soldier.”