Mission Rehearsal at CMTC: Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD

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by Major Kathleen A. Gavle

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The Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) has been conducting stability operations and support operations rotations for U.S. and Allied units since 1993. Starting in the summer of 1995, however, the CMTC has played an increasingly significant role in preparing soldiers to deal with the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR (OJE) and JOINT GUARD (OJG). The CMTC spearheaded the Individual Replacement Training (IRT) that everyone--soldier and civilian alike--attends before deploying. CMTC observer/controllers (O/Cs) have taken their training materials and expertise to various posts in Germany and in the United States to facilitate the creation of other training sites. Additionally, there have been a series of exercises at the CMTC that have become increasingly complex but also more specifically tailored to the units preparing to deploy. These mission rehearsals, the "Mountain Eagle Exercises," have proven valuable to the soldiers of the United Nations' Implementation Force (IFOR) and the Stabilization Force (SFOR). My purpose here is to describe CMTC's contribution to the OJE and OJG mission rehearsals.


An essential piece of any mission rehearsal is accurate replication of the conditions under which a unit will conduct its mission. Initially, we relied heavily on the experiences of the United Nations Protective Force (UNPROFOR) for first-hand appreciation of the environment and of the issues for the region. We also had intelligence that provided a more detailed picture of the issues. Finally, the 7th Army Training Center (7ATC) White Paper, a Mission Training Plan (MTP) for Military Operations Other than War, provided the tasks, conditions, and standards for the fundamental tasks we needed to train for the Bosnia mission. Some of the tasks that received early emphases were establishing a base camp, check point operations, patrolling, and mine awareness.

For OJE and OJG, the critical reference for soldiers to know is the General Framework Agreement for Peace or GFAP. The parties in the Bosnian conflict agreed to comply by the GFAP when they signed the Dayton Peace Accord in November 1995; the mission of the IFOR, and now the SFOR, is to enforce the provision of GFAP and thus provide a secure and stable environment in which the civilian aspects can take hold. Since the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission in Bosnia first began, Task Force Eagle (TF Eagle)--the U.S. contingent--has also developed several important references that the CMTC has used to train deploying soldiers. Every soldier must know the rules of engagement (ROEs) associated with the operation. The 1st Armored Division (1AD) published the TF Eagle lessons learned on a regular basis; they highlighted some of the unique situations for the mission in Bosnia. The Joint Military Commission (JMC) Policy, Procedures, and Command Guidance Handbook provides information on the important organizations operating in Bosnia and policy guidelines for enforcing the GFAP. There are several standing operating procedures (SOPs) and operations plans (OPLANs) that the CMTC also uses to help develop the Mountain Eagle training.

Individual expertise comes to a Mountain Eagle exercise in several forms. Several O/Cs draw from their own experiences in Bosnia or from U.N. courses they have attended (see the "CTC Notes"). Many of the O/Cs have visited TF Eagle units during the Operations to stay current on the situation and the issues confronting the deployed units. The units participating in TF Eagle have generously shared their time and resources to ensure that the CMTC has the expertise and resources needed to conduct a productive mission rehearsal. Both 1AD and 1st Infantry Division (1ID), and their subordinate units, shared their lessons learned, SOPs, briefings, weapons storage site packets, personalities matrices, area assessments, and numerous other specialty products with CMTC. Additionally, the divisions and the 165th MI Battalion provided invaluable assistance in preparing the products and orders to support the training. Civil affairs experts who have dealt with the various leaders and representatives in Bosnia have coached the CMTC civilians on the battlefield (COB) role players to make their efforts more realistic and productive. Developing a realistic Mountain Eagle environment and scenarios to train units for OJE and OJG has been a team effort among V Corps, 1AD, 1ID, and 7ATC.

Operational Environment

Because Mountain Eagle rotations are mission rehearsals, the CMTC must understand and replicate as closely as possible the operational environment for each mission. Many of the conditions--base camps, mines, and refugees, to name a few--remain constant, but it is important not to simply rerun each exercise. The conditions CMTC provides in the maneuver area are designed to replicate what the units will experience in Bosnia (see Figure 1). Each Mountain Eagle Exercise is tailored for a specific units' anticipated mission. We want to keep the environment and the issues current so the training is relevant to every soldier.

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Figure 1. A sample Mountain Eagle Area of Operation.

Dayton Geography. The provisions of the Dayton Peace Accord defined specific conditions for the conduct of Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD. The fundamental conditions for the Bosnian area of operations (AO) include an interentity boundary line (IEBL) and a zone of separation (ZOS). The IEBL is the dividing line between the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Muslim-Croat federation) and the Republika Srpska. It is not an international boundary; it represents a kind of state boundary between two entities of one country. The ZOS is the two-kilometer weapons-restricted zone located on either side of the IEBL.

Understanding the implications of the issues surrounding the ZOS are important to every soldier's mission in Bosnia, so it is essential to replicate that piece of Dayton geography for most of the units training in the CMTC's maneuver box. The heaviest density of mines and unexploded ordnance are concentrated along the ZOS, a threat especially to the units that deployed to establish the IFOR's first base camps and checkpoints. Although the entities' armed forces (EAFs) have marked or cleared many of the minefields, many unmarked minefields likely remain. Soldiers training in Hohenfels will see the same IEBL and ZOS markers and will encounter marked and unmarked minefields. The ZOS is also a weapons-restricted area, and soldiers need to be familiar with all of the restrictions they are required to enforce.

IFOR soldiers spent months at checkpoints along the ZOS to enforce the GFAP provisions concerning weapons restrictions and freedom of movement; many of those soldiers first did this at Hohenfels. Many towns that were ethnically cleansed during the war lie within the current ZOS and remain hot spots or target areas for resettlement. The CMTC has built Camps McGovern, Colt, and Bedrock, and Tuzla Main. Its mini-MOUT (military operations on urbanized terrain) sites and towns surrounding the maneuver box are designated Tuzla, Celic, Gajevi, Koraj, Dugi-Dio, or Brcko to facilitate training IFOR and SFOR missions. CMTC has also built a "Brcko bridge," constructed checkpoints along the ZOS, built weapons storage sites and created supporting target folders, and established unit boundaries. All of this effort to research and recreate the geographic environment in Bosnia is designed to provide soldiers with as realistic an environment as possible in which to conduct their mission rehearsals.

Players. Soldiers deploying to Bosnia are not likely to work in an exclusively U.S. Army environment. There are many other players in this mission. First of all are the parties to the peace accord and their armed forces, the entitities armed forces (EAF). There are three different EAF that soldiers will encounter, the ABiH (Armijia Bosnia in Hercegovina or Bosnian Muslim Army), the VRS (Vojska Republika Srpska or Bosnian Serb Army), and the HVO (Hrvatsko Vijece Obrane or Bosnian Croat Army). Each has its own perception of the war and the current situation, and each has its own agenda in dealing with IFOR/SFOR soldiers.

Other players include the multitude of international organizations operating in Bosnia. Among the agencies with which SFOR has regular contact are the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Police Task Force (IPTF). As the organization that approves return applications, the UNHCR is the key player for the relocation of displaced persons and refugees (DPRE). SFOR soldiers have been on the scene of many potential and actual incidents as a result of DPRE returns. OSCE had the mandate to supervise Bosnian national elections in September 1996, and it has the mandate to oversee the upcoming municipal elections in September 1997. During the national elections, IFOR had several security related missions. ICTY has been working to obtain evidence to support the war crimes trials at the Hague, with soldiers providing limited support. The IPTF, under a U.N. mandate, monitors and advises local police. IFOR and SFOR have been responsible for providing an environment in which these different civilian agencies operating under the GFAP can accomplish their mission. There are obligations and restraints that soldiers must clearly understand, in accordance with orders and policies such as the JMC Handbook, as they interact with these agencies. As they request convoy security, transportation, guard forces, medical assistance, food and supplies, the CMTC role players ensure they test the soldiers' understanding of their humanitarian obligations and legal restrictions.

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Soldiers practice a media interview (photos by CPT Ted Stuart).

The media is an ever-present player in the Bosnian AO. There are American, international, and local reporters, all trying to get their story. In his yellow paper "Media Coverage of Operations and Deployments" dated 8 December 1995, former Chief of Staff of the Army General Dennis J. Reimer told soldiers to sell the Army story--and that is what the training at CMTC reinforces. Soldiers are encouraged to talk to reporters with the proper credentials about what they are doing, consistent with force protection and operational security guidelines, and not to speculate on policy and other events outside of their area of expertise. A friendly and cooperative attitude is encouraged. Some soldiers, especially more senior leaders, participate in radio talk shows and encounter local reporters who are clearly one-sided on any issue. The pressure of the spotlight soldiers receive in training should make their first actual media contact much more professional.

Of course, the residents of Bosnia are also players in the NATO mission. Many local residents work in the base camp dining facilities and concessions or support Brown and Root, whose construction efforts have significantly improved the quality of life for soldiers. Interpreters are attached to every unit, and some help the division translate and understand local news or radio reports. Among the least popular residents are the persons indicted for war crimes or PIFWC, and soldiers in Bosnia have specific guidance concerning the apprehension of recognized PIFWC. With support from many divisional augmentees, CMTC has all of these players available to better replicate the operational environment in Bosnia.

Finally, soldiers work with other SFOR units, many of whom are not U.S. Army soldiers. Within the American-controlled sector alone, there is a Russian Brigade, a Turkish Brigade, and a NordPol (Nordic-Polish) Brigade. During some of the CMTC rehearsals, units have conducted joint patrols and coordination for missions with different armies and even in different sectors. Doing so helps leaders and soldiers appreciate the detail required to successfully execute joint and combined operations.

The Mountain Eagle Exercise

After setting the proper stage, the heart of a Mountain Eagle exercise is providing each unit with the typical missions and operational tempo for OJE/OJG, culminating in a validation of its combat readiness. The phases of the exercise include a transfer of authority (TOA), daily life and routine operations, and contingency plans.

When a unit ultimately deploys to Bosnia, it conducts a TOA with the departing unit. Initially, IFOR conducted TOA with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR); SFOR units now conduct TOA with other SFOR units. A good TOA facilitates transition and smooth integration of a new unit into the region, which affects relations with local civil and military leaders, local residents, and international agencies. CMTC obtained some of the TOA products deployed units produced and replicated the most important ones for each Mountain Eagle. Each arriving unit should benefit from the lessons learned of the departing unit and assume its SOPs and data bases. A list of transition products is probably the most important item a unit receives during its mission rehearsal. This tells the staff sections, in particular, what to expect upon arriving in Bosnia and ensures there are no major gaps. The S2, for example, should receive a detailed area orientation, situation briefing, and TF Eagle assessment; should fall in on security SOPs and data bases of weapons storage sites, personalities, and orders of battle; and should receive training on the intelligence architecture unique to the mission in Bosnia. The S3 should be briefed on force protection measures, weapons storage site inspections, convoy operations, the graduated response matrix, and all contingency plans. The engineer should receive the minefield data base and route status information. The outgoing commander should introduce the incoming commander to all of the key leaders in the sector. Although a unit at CMTC can't possibly receive every product a unit produces over a six month deployment in Bosnia, each leader can leave the training area confident he knows what he should see when he arrives in Bosnia.

Upon completion of TOA, units conduct routine peace support operations to become familiar with SOPs and reinforce application of the ROE and policies and procedures. Daily life for OJG soldiers includes base camp operations, weapons storage site inspections, two to four vehicle convoys, and patrols. They may also encounter illegal police checkpoints, witness a demonstration by a group of angry citizens, or notice someone who seems to be surveilling the base camp. Commanders conduct Joint Military Commissions or bilateral meetings with EAF commanders. They also conduct radio talk shows and media interviews. Everyone interacts with some of the many non government organizations (NGOs) operating in the region.

While the routine peace support operations develop or refine soldiers' understanding of the ROE and mission guidelines, negotiation skills, and patience, certain problem sets rehearse contingency plans and a unit's combat skills. All missions in Bosnia are conducted as combat operations, and the training at Hohenfels reinforces that. In conjunction with the G2 and senior trainer, the writers create scenarios similar to actual incidents in Bosnia or worst case ones that could happen if patience, negotiation, and cooperation break down. Such scenarios set the conditions for the implementation of a particular conplan and force the unit to go through the tactical decision making process and execute a battle. Themes or storylines drive this train, and while several themes remain constant throughout each Mountain Eagle exercise, the situation in Bosnia is not what it was in December 1995. SFOR troops have more of an enforcement and sustainment than the implementation mission IFOR had. Some of the themes exercised at CMTC include force protection, NGO/PVO interaction, weapons storage sites, faction confrontation, PIFWC, and resettlement.

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Soldiers conduct personal search of prisoners.

Force protection is a consistent theme throughout every mission rehearsal. At the lowest level, it requires soldiers to wear Kevlar, LBE, body armor, and carry weapons in accordance with a force protection posture posted at every base camp TOC and gate. This posture also dictates the minimum number of vehicles required in a convoy departing a base camp. Force protection demands a security plan for a base camp and requires soldiers to know and understand how to implement the ROE and General Order 1. It also demands an appreciation for the threat from mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and general situational awareness. From the minute they occupy their base camp at CMTC, soldiers confront all sorts of force protection challenges. COBs will try to conduct surveillance on their camp and maybe try to infiltrate to steal food, fuel, or Class IV items that could be used to rebuild homes. Others will offer soldiers alcohol or try to give UXO they found in a field to soldiers on patrol in a local town. Soldiers may experience sniping, sabotage, or ambushes.

Soldiers have also consistently dealt with NGO/PVO interaction, relocation issues, and weapons storage site inspections during their mission rehearsals. In general terms, these are part of the routine OPTEMPO for units, but they must correctly apply to ROE and possibly conduct some crisis management. An example is a weapons storage site inspection that reveals a discrepancy. For each weapons storage site CMTC creates at Hohenfels, the writers prepare a site folder very similar to what an S2 in Bosnia will have. As a unit plans to conduct a site inspection, the S2 briefs the commander of the inspecting unit, telling him what he should expect based on the last inventory and any recent intelligence. Although it is a routine operation for units in Bosnia by virtue of being conducted regularly as part of GFAP enforcement, each inspection is a very deliberate process with the potential for confrontation. If the equipment or ammunition on hand does not match the inventory, the inspecting commander must determine what action to take. Did his unit miscount? Can the EAF commander show proof of SFOR-approved training ongoing that accounts for the discrepancy? Or has the unit likely moved the equipment without authorization? SFOR has the authority to confiscate anything in excess of what the previous inventory holds and also to confiscate other items in response to missing equipment or ammunition. Soldiers who have participated in earlier Mountain Eagle exercises have told CMTC visitors to Bosnia that actually conducting such a confiscation during a mission rehearsal would make them much more confident as they conduct the first such operation down range.

The scenarios that take a unit to full combat, such as factional confrontation, are not necessarily events that SFOR leaders expect to see happen. By training for the worst possible scenario, however, and practicing warfighting skills, soldiers should leave CMTC prepared for anything from mass demonstrations to a hostage situation to a stand-off between two EAF. A sample scenario spins off from a DPRE relocation. Settlers of one ethnic group bring building materials to a town in preparation for reconstruction. Another group begins propaganda and demonstrations against the first and ultimately destroys the materials. Military forces deploy to protect the efforts of the first group, posing a threat to the second, and ultimately military forces deploy to support them, as well. The two armies face off, and sooner or later, someone fires the first shot that provokes a battle.

Mission Ready

Soldiers depart CMTC with a better understanding of the environment into which they are deploying, from the mine threat to the ethnic tension to the peacekeeping tasks to the potential for conflict. They get the opportunity to practice the skills that are essential to stability and support operations, such as negotiation and demonstrating patience and working with NGOs. The staffs get the opportunity to iron out their procedures for tracking Task Force operations on a daily basis and to prepare similar contingency plans. Soldiers have told us that their training at CMTC was extremely beneficial. OPTEMPO in "the box" is typically much higher and life generally harder than they have experienced down range, so they have felt pretty confident as they conduct operations. Mission accomplished.

Major Gavle is currently a Task Force S2 O/C at CMTC. She has served 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; Intelligence Analyst at the Joint Tactical Intelligence Center; and Company Commander. MAJ Gavle was a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Loyola University-Chicago, Reserve Officers Training Corps. She holds a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence degree from the Defense Intelligence College and a master of arts degree in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University. The author will begin CGSC this summer.