By Lt. Col. Darin Lewis, BCTP-Operations Group BravoAugust 31, 2010
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - In mid-August, Operations Group Bravo team spent four days in Baumholder, Germany, helping 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team leaders prepare for deployment to Afghanistan.
Operations Group Bravo is part of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center-Training's Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), which is the Army's only worldwide deployable combat training center.
Bravo's mission is to conduct Battle Command Seminars with a focus on Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations to all deploying ground maneuver brigades. For the August training, Operations Group Bravo team members worked with The Bayonet Brigade's company to brigade level command and staff leaders to help them understand the evolving environment down-range, from brainstorming cultural perspectives and intelligence to perfecting internal battle rhythms and managing a command post.
The BCTP-hosted training helps brigades start building and growing their teams. The brigade commander is encouraged to talk with their leaders and discuss their thoughts and intent - in a forum where they can collectively share their experiences and learn about what to expect.
"What worked last year in Operation Enduring Freedom probably won't work on your arrival," said Col. Anthony Deane, Commander of Operations Group Bravo, which is based at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
"In partnering with your Afghanistan military and police partners, it's not necessarily about whether you can do something, but whether or not you should," he added. "You definitely have to take into consideration the second- and third-order effects and if your actions will negatively affect the current status quo."
The BCTP seminar begins with doctrinal discussions about battle command and leadership, followed by increasing the unit's historical and cultural perspective. Next the unit is introduced to enablers like Human Terrain Teams, Law Enforcement Professionals and Provisional Reconstructive Teams. The training then switches gears to gain perspectives on the current situation and vision for the way ahead through video teleconferences with key leaders currently deployed in Afghanistan.
The unit then goes through internal brigade staffing challenges specific to their deployment and finishes the seminar with a capstone event of "putting it all together" by developing the unit's long-range planning cycles and targeting processes. Operations Group Bravo also arranges instructors to work with Battalion commanders, Company commanders, intelligence analysts, fire support, logistics and brigade aviation elements in audience-specific breakout sessions. Additionally, The Center for Army Lessons Learned provides a representative who gathers the unit's requests for information and provides feedback within 72 hours.
"Overall, it was an invaluable week of focusing us on our upcoming mission," commented one Battalion Commander.
Retired Gen. James T. Hill, who served as senior mentor for the seminar, is a former United States Southern Command Commander and I Corps Commanding General. "I still try to make a difference in today's Army," said Hill. "It's all about teamwork, doing the right thing, selfless service and Army values."
During his sessions with 170th's Company and Battalion Commanders and Command Sergeant Majors, Hill encouraged Col. Patrick Matlock, Commander of the 170th, and his team to remain a learning, constantly-evolving organization because no stage of a war is typically the same as the last. "If you think it's the same, you're asking for trouble," Hill warned.
Earlier this year BCTP received the Army Superior Unit Award, one of the Army's highest unit awards. BCTP is the first Combat Training Center to receive the award in support of the Global War against Terrorism and Homeland Defense.
Based at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the U.S. Army's Combined Arms Center-Training delivers training programs, products and services to leaders and units in support of Army readiness. Wherever Army training occurs, the Combined Arms Center-Training helps make it happen. To learn more about the Combined Arms Center-Training, visit www.leavenworth.army.mil, www.facebook.com/usacactraining or www.twitter.com/usacactraining.