Austere Challenge '09

Friday May 22, 2009

What is it?

Austere Challenge is an annual joint exercise that enables U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) service components to plan and execute full spectrum operations (FSO) as a Joint Task Force Headquarters (JTF HQ). During Austere Challenge '09 (AC09), USAREUR/7A was assigned the role as the JTF HQ, demonstrating its capabilities to rapidly organize and execute missions in the context of a realistic crisis scenario.

What has the Army done?

U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) developed and administered the AC09 exercise scenario, evaluating the JTF staff's ability to counter the threat. The scenario required the staff to plan for FSO with a focus on major combat operations, as well as security, stability, transition and reconstruction operations.

One of USAREUR's training objectives was to achieve seamless integration of joint planning processes with the numerous military and civilian agencies participating in the exercise. The Department of State Reconstruction and Stabilization Team and Advance Civilian Team allowed for excellent integration of civilian and military cultures as well as synchronization of operations between the JTF, embassy and interagency (IA) personnel. In total, more than 5,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and IA personnel - geographically dispersed in Europe, at sea, and in the United States - benefitted from the training. Also joining the U.S. participants were four of our NATO allies: the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and France.

By earning JTF certification, USAREUR/7A proved that it is trained and ready to perform as the core of a JTF, leading FSO including high-intensity conflict anywhere in the USEUCOM AOR and out-of-area. The lessons that our Soldiers learned from each other and the relationships they forged with members of our sister services, IA partners, and other government/non-government agencies have laid the foundation for effective response to future regional crises.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?

AC09 was more than just a distributed command post exercise; it was a tool to bring complex command and control theory and structure into practice. In the future, USAREUR/7A will sharpen its joint warfighting skills as the core of a Joint Forces Land Component Command HQ during AC10 and AC11.

Why is this important to the Army?

Austere Challenge '09 was a major step in the transformation of USAREUR/7A to its new modular headquarters design. The training that AC09 provided improved joint interoperability, confidence, and interservice relations essential to success in future coalition operations.


United States Army Europe and Seventh Army Web site





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2009: Year of the NCO

2009: Year of the Military Family

2009: 100th Anniversary of the Chaplain Assistant

May 2009:

- National Mental Health Month

- National Military Appreciation Month

- Asia Pacific American Heritage Month

May 23: West Point Graduation Day

May 24 - 31: National Hurricane Awareness Week

May 25: Memorial Day


"It is important to think of the fallen on this day, but we should also keep in mind all of our servicemen and women throughout the year. They and their families continue to sacrifice for our country and deserve our recognition and support. We should heed the advice of General Logan, who wrote: ‘Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.'"

- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Memorial Day message

Gates urges participation in Memorial Day Moment of Silence


"This year, as we celebrate Memorial Day, we should pause as a nation ... and instead think about the men and women who continue to fight and die in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. It is true: war is hell, freedom is expensive, death is painful and faith still matters; especially to those in the foxhole."

- Chap. (Capt.) James Key

Commentary: Memorial Day from chaplain's foxhole

Year of the Noncommissioned Officer


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