By Capt. Lynda J. Cobb, 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Battalion, 5th Armored Brigade, Division WestJanuary 16, 2013
McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Joint warfighters being trained here for deployments by the 1st Battalion, 361st Engineer Battalion, Task Force Redhawk, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, are learning to combat a battlefield threat as old as war itself, but one that is rapidly growing in current operations.
An "insider threat" is when an individual or group of individuals working jointly with coalition forces causes intentional harm to resources or capabilities of a unit, or harm that causes a unit to not be able to complete its mission. Insider threats have been a part of every conflict, but this type of threat is on the rise in Afghanistan.
Threats on the battlefield are always changing, and the 5th Armored Brigade constantly refines its deployment training to account for these changes.
"I use the latest tactical training procedures and news stories from Afghanistan to create current story boards to provide the most up-to-date training to best prepare the deploying Soldiers," said Shawn Hinton, a member of the brigade's Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Integration Cell, which creates an unclassified threat brief for the first day of C-IED training for each deploying unit. Hinton and his team also create a classified threat brief that is presented to the leadership of each unit so they are better prepared to handle the most current threats in Afghanistan.
Each week, Task Force Redhawk Soldiers rehearse the current threat brief before delivering it to hundreds of joint warfighters. The storyboards include a realistic scenario of an actual, recent insider threat, so the deploying troops should be able to recognize signs of trouble.
After the troops receive the threat brief and view the IED threat display, Sgt. Victor Garcia, Task Force Redhawk Bravo Detachment, puts them through dismounted lane training. In this training scenario, the teams take with them on the patrol a role-played interpreter.
"I brief the current rules of engagement and escalation of force. Then I have the role player wait until the unit has their guard down to turn on them, attack them, so that they can see what a threat will look like," Garcia said.
Recently, while Air Force engineers went through C-IED training, two teams experienced an insider threat from their interpreter while conducting dismounted lane training.
"It was an excellent opportunity in training to walk through the process, under fire, after all of the training about insider threats that we have had here," said Lt. Col Michael Miller, commander of Air Force 0009. "They worked the threat very well into the training scenario, enabling us to get a feel for the current major threat in Afghanistan."