FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 30, 2011) -- What has become one of the largest training exercises within Training and Doctrine Command received a new set of participants this month " with six staff members from the United Kingdom’s Stabilisation Unit.

The Eagle Owl exercise places U.K. military officers in the Defence Academy’s Joint Services Command and Staff College (Land), with military officers in the Intermediate Level Education program at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. The British military officers have visited Fort Leavenworth twice a year for about four years, most recently working together to conduct a joint exercise.

Llewelyn Williams, stabilization adviser, came as part of the U.K. Stabilisation Unit. This unit, he explained, was stood up as part of a joint effort through the Ministry of Defence, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the U.K. Department for International Development " equivalents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development. It works as a reserve unit with a database of experts who focus on governance, rule of law, justice, counter narcotics and other aspects of nation building.

“The British military thought we might add value to their stabilization exercise,” Williams said.

He said U.S. officers might have worked with the U.K. Stabilisation Unit through Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan. After working with U.K., U.S. and international students attending CGSC for the exercise, Williams said he had a much better grasp of the international military planning process.

“This has huge benefits,” he said. “Say I was going to Afghanistan to work in a PRT, now I’ll have a much better idea of how Americans think.”

For the exercise, about 150 British officers joined CGSC students in the 2011-02 ILE class. Using a fictional stability operations scenario in Africa, students spent about a week creating a plan and a week executing their plan.

“They’ve done very well,” said U.K. Maj. Paul Campbell, executive officer of the course. “They delivered a workable plan by the end of the first week, and this week, they’ll learn to deal with the friction of execution.”

Groups worked in small teams " some using the U.S. Military Decision Making Process and some using the U.K.’s “seven questions.”

Maj. Melvin Smith, CGSC student, had worked with the British military before in his role as military police, but never during the planning stages.

“The MP role for this exercise is very important, because we’re dealing with several illegally armed individuals " these are not your traditional enemy forces,” he said.

Smith said especially in cases where military police have been asked by a host nation to help stabilize a region, it’s important to work together as a team.

“MPs have been able to conduct an liaison with local police forces,” he said. “This is really a key to establishing stability in the region.”

U.K. Maj. Judith Gallagher is a logistics officer who works as part of an explosives detection and elimination group. She said the U.S.-U.K. exercise gave her a chance to practice decision making in an international group.

“It’s definitely a different terminology and planning process, but we achieve the same results,” she said.

It was also Gallagher’s first time working with her country’s stabilization unit.

Indian Maj. Virender Salaria, CGSC student, participated in the exercise as well.

“I think the process is the same in how to solve a problem, whether they are U.S., British or Indian,” he said.

Maj. Loren Rachford, CGSC student, said he appreciated the chance to practice with an international and joint staff.

“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to train with them,” he said. “It’s only going to help us in the long run.”

The visit also allows British officers time to do sightseeing in the United States. Today, at the end of the exercise, British officers and CGSC students compete in various sports, including the Iron Major competition.