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Train the Trainer: CMTC and United Nations Training

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by Major David Sterling Jones

As the primary stability and support operations (SASO) training facility for United States Army, Europe (USAREUR), the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) in Hohenfels, Germany, has led the way in the development and training of SASO doctrine for the U.S. Army. In March 1993, CMTC conducted its first peace enforcement training for units of the 3d Infantry and 1st Armored Divisions. The Royal Netherlands Marines followed in May 1993, training in preparation for deployment to the United Nations Mission in Cambodia. It was envisioned that U.S. ground forces would deploy into the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) as a part of a United Nations (U.N.) Mission. The U.S. Army still had little experience in U.N. operations at the time. With our lessons learned from Somalia and Haiti yet to come, the CMTC had to look elsewhere for the knowledge of and experience in conducting military operations with the United Nations, to insure that the trainers at CMTC were themselves well trained.

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British, Irish, and Maltese students load a simulated casualty on a helicopter during training at the U.N. School at the Military College, Ireland.

In response to the lack of peacekeeping operations (PKO) experience in the U.S. Army, the CMTC started sending officers and noncommissioned officers assigned as observer/controllers (O/Cs) and plans and operations personnel to U.N. training centers and schools to gain valuable training and experience.

CMTC personnel attend schools in Austria, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. These schools, in turn, teach a variety of courses such as the U.N. Military Observer, U.N. Staff Officer, Peacekeeping: Train the Trainer, and U.N. logistics courses. Normally conducted over a three-week period, these courses are traditionally for individuals or units slated for deployment with the United Nations into a mission area. However, Partnership for Peace (PFP) and other programs grant CMTC trainers the opportunity to attend.

In preparing to conduct mission rehearsals for deployments to the Balkans and Africa, or for individual replacement training (IRT) for troops deploying with the Stabilization Force (SFOR)1, planners at the CMTC draw extensively from U.N. and U.S. experiences and lessons learned. The tasks taught at U.N. schools have direct relevance to the tasks and missions that a U.S. soldier may face in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Liberia, Macedonia, or on other deployments.

These tasks include but are not limited to:

Rotational units at the CMTC will find these tasks and more incorporated into a rotation scenario. Successful units have made extensive use of Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) products that draw from U.S. experiences in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. The CMTC has seen a continued improvement in the development of standing operating procedures (SOPs) and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) by rotational units, but much remains to be done. Units continue to approach the SASO environment with a "high-intensity conflict (HIC)" mentality.

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The author dismounts a patrol from a Finnish SISU XA-180 at the Finnish U.N. Training Center in Nunnisaco, Finland, in May 1995.

The CMTC has applied U.N. training and lessons learned to building rotations that present units with challenging and unique training opportunities. We have developed the "Former Republic of Danubia" scenario based on "classic" environments into which the United Nations has deployed. Units will find an ill-defined threat with widespread instability and all the battlefield clutter of refugees, media, non-governmental organizations, private volunteer organizations, and joint and coalition forces. In addition to the use of contract "civilians on the battlefield," CMTC personnel trained at U.N. schools have replicated U.N. military observers and U.N. troops during rotations.

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Finnish SISU armored personnel carriers on patrol at the U.N. Training Center, Finland.

With the growth of the U.S. military's commitment to the Mission in Bosnia, the U.N. Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) in Macedonia, contingency operations in Africa, and other missions around the world, our participation in U.N. operations will become more commonplace. Due to these missions, the importance of capturing these experiences and educating the force with observations from the field will increase. The United Nations has discovered much from the school of hard knocks. It is important that the U.S. military not commit the same mistakes but build on fifty years of U.N. PKO experience. Although traditionally a HIC-oriented training center, the CMTC will continue to develop its expertise in SASO/PKO training using U.N. schools and lessons learned by U.S. soldiers in the field. For further information, see the CMTC Internet homepage at http://hqaecmtc1.hohenfels.army.mil. Train to Win!


1. See Major Kathleen Phillips Gavle, Combat Training Center (CTC) Notes in the October-December 1997 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin.

Major Jones is the S2, 2d Brigade, 3d Infantry Division. While serving as a Task Force S2 O/C at the CMTC, he attended the U.N. Military Observer and Staff Officer courses in Finland and Ireland. MAJ Jones served with the United Nations in Vukovar, Croatia, from January to July 1997. Readers can contact him via E-mail at [email protected] and telephonically at (912) 767-7666 or DSN 870-7666.