Innovating the Brigade Support Area Live Fire Exercise

By CourtesyMay 30, 2024

Innovating the Brigade Support Area Live Fire Exercise
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Figure 3: Soldiers evacuating a simulated casualty during the BSA Live Fire Exercise at the NTC, April 2024. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Innovating the Brigade Support Area Live Fire Exercise
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Figure 1: A soldier engages targets in the night iteration of the BSA Live Fire at the NTC, April 2024. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Innovating the Brigade Support Area Live Fire Exercise
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Figure 2: Soldiers from the BSB engaging simulated vehicle targets from a prepared fighting position during the BSA Live Fire at the NTC, April 2024. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

By Command Sergeant Major Carvet C. Tate

National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.

Fort Irwin, Calif.- The National Training Center is deeply committed to enhancing the readiness and effectiveness of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) through rigorous training exercises, particularly in sustaining combat operations. The emphasis on Large-Scale Combat Operations (LSCO) and the critical role of the Sustainment Enterprise in supporting maneuver battalions on the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) is paramount for success on the modern battlefield.

The shift towards a dispersed "node" configuration for sustainment elements during the Live Fire Exercise (LFX) reflects a strategic response to the evolving character of warfare, where survivability and agility are essential. By moving away from the traditional Brigade Support Area (BSA)/Regimental Support Area (RSA) construct, the sustainment enterprise mitigates their signature in the electromagnetic spectrum and reduces their chances of being targeted by enemy fires. This enhances the overall resilience of the BSA/RSA on the transparent battlefield.

Under the leadership of Operations Group Goldminer Team, led by LTC Octavia Davis and MSG Brandon Reyna, the newly designed LFX provides a realistic environment for sustainers to hone their individual and collective skills in engaging the enemy within an LSCO context. This hands-on approach not only prepares sustainment units to defend against various threats but also fosters a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in sustaining combat operations under fire.

Overall, the National Training Center's focus on innovative and realistic training methodologies ensures that the Army's sustainment forces are well-prepared to meet the demands of future conflicts and contribute to the success of Brigade Combat Teams on the modern battlefield.

The detailed description of the LFX and the scenarios presented within it showcases a high level of realism and complexity, designed to challenge, and prepare War Fighters for the realities of modern warfare. Let's break down the key elements:

1. Enemy Threats and Sequencing: The exercise replicates a variety of enemy threats, including ground forces, armored vehicles, enemy artillery, and drone surveillance. The sequencing of enemy attacks, from artillery barrages to ground force advancements, adds layers of complexity and realism to the training scenario.

2. Response and Engagement: War Fighters are required to respond to enemy threats with appropriate tactics and firepower. This includes engaging advancing ground forces with small arms fire and anti-armor capabilities, as well as employing defensive measures such as live Anti-Personnel Mines (Claymore) to push back enemy forces.

3. Integration of Technology: The exercise incorporates emerging drone activities as a realistic threat, challenging War Fighters to effectively engage moving aerial targets with small arms fire. This reflects the evolving nature of warfare and the need for troops to adapt to new technologies on the battlefield.

4. Operational Configuration: The shift towards a three-node configuration for Brigade Support Battalions/Regimental Support Squadrons (BSB/RSS) allows for more effective base defense and strategic positioning. Units are expected to "dig in" and establish communication and coordination between nodes to maximize situational awareness and response capabilities.

Combat Support and Logistics: The exercise highlights the importance of combat support functions such as casualty collection points (CCP) and ammo supply points (ASP) in sustaining operations under fire. Additionally, the request for Final Protect Fires (FPF) from co-located ally forces demonstrates the integration of combat support assets to deter and repel enemy attacks.

5. Stress Testing: Throughout the exercise, War Fighters are subjected to a continuous flow of casualties and ammunition depletion, simulating the stress and challenges of prolonged combat operations. This tests the resilience and adaptability of both combat and sustainment elements under pressure.

Overall, the described Live Fire Exercise provides a comprehensive and immersive training experience that prepares War Fighters to effectively defend against advanced enemy threats in a dynamic and demanding operational environment. The introduction of the king of battle to this LFX instills the ‘dig or die’ mentality into the sustainment enterprise. Getting back to the fundamentals of dug in fighting positions, interlocking fields of fire, and a constant air guard all within a dispersed support area will allow our BSAs/RSAs to withstand first contact in the next battle of the next war.