Training for the Balkins at CMTC

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by Major Kathleen A. Phillips

Since 1993, the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) at Hohenfels, Germany, has trained U.S. and Allied units for stability and support operations (SASO). With the declaration of U.S. participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)--Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD--the CMTC has focused SASO training specifically on requirements for the Balkan region. The intelligence community in Europe has helped CMTC to develop the proper operational environment and training scenarios. CMTC conducts two types of training on a regular basis: individual replacement training (IRT) and unit mission rehearsals, known as Mountain Eagle exercises.

Individual Replacement Training

IRT began as a commander in chief-directed, theater-specific training program for every individual--every soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and civilian deploying to the FRY. CMTC looked at the implicit hazards in the mission and developed a three-day training program to prepare individuals for the environment into which they will deploy. The terrain and weather at CMTC, located in southern Bavaria, are very much like what they will experience in Bosnia, Hungary, or Croatia. Additionally, all students wear body armor, Kevlar, and load-bearing equipment and carry weapons during training to prepare them for the highest force protection posture they will experience. Finally, the training exposes students to the hazards--environmental and hostile forces--associated with the mission and gives them the fieldcraft and force protection skills necessary to counter those hazards.

Each training cycle begins with a mine detonation to get the students' attention. As they watch the mine catapult a vehicle into the air, they quickly gain an appreciation for the violently destructive capability of mines they may face. The training continues with two days of classroom instruction to introduce the students to the theater, explain the potential hazards, and demonstrate the skills with as much hands-on training as possible. The classes include the blocks of instruction shown in Figure 1.

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The last day of IRT consists of two situational training exercises that allow students to apply their classroom training as they--

The situations students encounter are similar to those that some individuals serving in Bosnia have experienced. Or they are the situations representing worse-case scenarios that the students must be prepared to face.

CMTC has trained more than 26,000 students since the fall of 1995. Individuals do not become experts in SASO or the Balkan region as a result of their training at CMTC. However, IRT students depart CMTC situationally aware of the risks associated with Operation JOINT GUARD and trained to minimize those risks.

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U.S soldiers hold a practice press interview during a Mountain Eagle exercise.

U. S. soldier with COB (civilian on the battlefield) at a checkpoint during a Mountain Eagle exercise.

Mission Rehearsals

While the focus of IRT is on the individual, Mountain Eagle exercises focus on training units for the operations they will conduct as part of the NATO mission in the FRY. CMTC conducted the first Mountain Eagle mission rehearsal in the summer of 1995 and has conducted four more since, each building on the experiences and lessons learned from units that have served in Bosnia, Croatia, and Hungary.

CMTC replicates the operational environment into which a unit will deploy by defining its area of operations and by providing a similar laydown in the CMTC maneuver box. CMTC has two base camps and five towns in the box to help create a realistic model environment. Additionally, units have transformed sections of Camp Albertshof--where training units typically set up administrative operations during their rotations--into models of the base camps in and around the Tuzla Valley. CMTC creates the interentity boundary line, zone of separation, and mine threat that the unit is likely to experience. Additionally, CMTC's opposing force (OPFOR, 1-4 Infantry) and professional "civilians on the battlefield" (COBs) play the roles of--

All of this sets the conditions for a successful rehearsal of a unit's operational tempo and contingency missions.

The heart of a Mountain Eagle is the rehearsing of the various missions that a unit will conduct, including those that represent worst-case events. Units conduct a transition of authority (TOA) with role players representing the departing unit to gain a full understanding of their sector and the issues involved. The OPFOR and COB help surface local issues as soon as a unit occupies its base camp. The unit then conducts routine peace support operations, such as patrols and inspections of weapons storage sites, to reinforce application of the Rules of Engagement, standard operating procedures, and Task Force Eagle (TFE) policies and procedures. Soldiers practice patience and refine their negotiation and problem-solving skills. Finally, CMTC presents the unit with certain problem sets that force soldiers to rehearse contingency plans and combat skills. These problem sets are drawn from events that have actually happened in Bosnia or from those that TFE leaders believe could happen as a result of resettlement problems, increased ethnic tensions, challenges at a weapons storage site, or detention of an indicted war criminal.


CMTC continues to maintain contact with G2s and S2s who have experience in Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD to stay abreast of the operational environment and threat assessments. CMTC also sends its observer/controllers to visit units in Bosnia and bring back lessons learned, updated assessments, specific TFE products, and recommendations to improve both the individual and the unit training.

Major Phillips is currently a TF S2 O/C at CMTC. In Germany, she has served as an intelligence writer at the Combat Maneuver Training Center and as the S2 for Operations Group, CMTC. She has held a variety of tactical and strategic MI jobs, including the All-Source Production Section officer in charge for the G2, 2d Infantry Division, in Korea; Electronic Warfare Platoon Leader, A Company, 102d MI Battalion, 2d ID; Intelligence Analyst at the Joint Tactical Intelligence Center, Washington, DC; Assistant S3 and, later, S4, 102d MI Battalion; and Commander, B Company, 102d MI Battalion. MAJ Phillips was a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Loyola University-Chicago ROTC program. She holds a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a master of arts degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University. Readers can contact the author via E-mail at [email protected] and telephonically at 011 09472 83 2301 and DSN 466-2301.