Soldiers experience realistic command post training

Friday, June 01, 2012

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 35th Armor, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, are heavily involved in the Network Integration Evaluation 12.2, or NIE 12.2.

They have trained on the Company Command Post, which is the cell from which they control combat scenarios for the exercise. During this NIE, the brigade will change its location twice, so it is extremely important that soldiers working in the Company CP know their jobs and can perform them without hesitation.

During training at Brigade Modernization Command’s Mission Command Center, soldiers received instruction on several software systems that will be used during the NIE, including "Command Post of the Future," which, according to Spc. Jeremy Gomez of A Company, 1/35 Armor, is similar to Tactical Ground Reporting tool software, known as TIGR, and will be used at the company-level for the first time.

Gomez, from Fort Worth, Texas, explained that this software allows users to plot points on a map, which will be helpful in the CP.

Sgt. Dustin Beerbower from B Company, 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, at Fort Bliss, Texas, said his unit will be sending two soldiers to each of the 1/35 armor companies to run a SIPRNet/NIPRNet Access Point, or SNAP, terminal, that provides satellite communications on the battlefield.

These soldiers will be able to operate and troubleshoot the communication equipment in the CP during the NIE.

The company CP will also include a soldier and/or an intelligence analyst officer from the Company Intelligence Support Team, or COIST.

According to 2nd Lt. Matthew Sumrow from Katy, Texas, these personnel will be able to "bridge the intelligence gap to ensure that information flows between the battalion and company level."

He said they will be using DCGS-A and TIGR computer systems to evaluate the connections and use with other systems.

During the training, Fire Support Officer 1st Lt. David Galusha, A Company, 1/35 Armor, used the Light-weight Forward Entry Device, which he said is a Forward Observer System.

All these systems were used in a combat scenario given to the company CP during the training, and their mission was to secure a foothold in an urban area.

At the end of the training, the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Matthew Fath, conducted an after-action review to "focus on the execution of the day’s command post" training.

Soldiers generally agreed that they needed more proficiency in using the systems, which they could get through more hands-on experience.

They also discussed the value of having a paper map, because it is reliable and easy to use and helps provide an accurate common operating picture.

Conversations included who is responsible for updating the map, which could include several players providing specific information on fires and intelligence, for example, as long as one soldier is in charge.

Fath led a discussion on CP procedures, which all agreed had started off well, but after a time had become somewhat lax, especially when it came to CP alerts.

He emphasized that when someone calls an alert, everyone in the CP must stop what they are doing, and "with pen and paper, turn to look at the person who has called the alert and execute what you are being told to do."

His final words to his soldiers were: "Don’t fight fair. Set the conditions."

The company commander, Capt. Benjamin Horner, added, "Don’t hold onto information. Share it. Anticipate [and] expect what will come up next."

If information is important, he advised, it should be stated loudly enough for others in the CP to hear it.

Col. Robert Menti, chief of the Brigade Modernization Command’s Training and Evaluation Division, explained how important this unit training is.

"Our CP training in support of NIE 12.2 is a critical training gate in order to provide the best possible evaluation feedback on the CP equipment that will be under test. The soldiers are truly making important contributions to the Army’s modernization efforts as we move to the Army 2020 concept."

(Editor’s note: The article is based on a story by Annie Gammell, Public Affairs, Brigade Modernization Command.)