Ready Tonight, Sustain the Fight, Shape the Future!

Article excerpt

U.S. Army Central (USARCENT), also known by its historical name, Third Army, supports all ground forces in U.S. Central Command's (USCENTCOM) 20-nation area of responsibility (AOR), an area 1.5 times the size of the continental United States. Since 1990, Third Army has maintained a continuous forward presence in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility. As USCENTCOM's Army service component command, Third Army/USARCENT supports deployed Army forces and serves as a combined /joint force land component command when directed.

A robust forward presence allows the command to improve responsiveness and readiness, sustain forces, and build partner-nation capacity to deter and counter threats in the region more effectively. Operating from headquarters in Atlanta, Ga., and Kuwait, USARCENT trains for combat; sustains combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; supports peace and stability in the region by building relationships and partner capacity; and maintains the capability to operate as a combined forces land component command (CFLCC).

As a CFLCC-capable headquarters, USARCENT is ready to deploy anywhere in the AOR on short notice and engage in limited-duration combat operations across the full spectrum. The assault command post is frequently deployed to regional training events, exercising the command's ability to deploy to an austere environment, establish a forward command post and conduct combat operations.

Third Army/USARCENT supports coordinated sustainment efforts in combat through the ARCENT support element in Iraq and the ARCENT coordination and support element in Afghanistan. Approximately 40 percent of the headquarters staff is forward in the combat theater at any given time, with the capability to "surge" forward or redeploy as different missions require. The command also maintains shipping, storage, maintenance, refurbishment, repair, training and deployment facilities throughout the AOR in support of U.S. ground forces' operations. The USARCENT team's presence in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility numbers approximately 52,000 soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors conducting combat, logistics, training and assessment activities in 18 of USCENTCOM's 20 nations.

Ready Tonight

USARCENT maintains readiness through training, exercises and operations. Building upon successful exercises in fiscal years (FY) 2009 and 2010, USARCENT continues to develop capabilities and interoperability with partner nations through the planning and execution of major binational and multinational exercises: USARCENT conducted 12 exercises and approximately 150 theater security cooperation events in FY 2010. Building stronger partnerships with more robust capacities will continue with exercises such as Friendship Two and Bright Star 2011, planned for February and September/October 2011, respectively.

Friendship Two is a bilateral field training exercise conducted by the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Originally conceived by the commander, U.S. Central Command, and Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation Khalid bin Sultan, the Friendship series of exercises was intended to integrate U.S. and Saudi armor and mechanized forces in field operations. Having successfully executed Friendship One in spring 2009, USARCENT and the Royal Saudi Land Forces plan to continue building integrative capabilities in February 2011 with Friendship Two. Such exercises focus on generating forces, sustaining logistics in combat and conducting combat operations with international partners. The exercise will also move beyond the traditional focus on conventional conflict, considering irregular warfare and emerging regional threats.

Bright Star began in 1981 as a biennial U.S.-Egyptian military exercise. Through the years, Bright Star has evolved into a multinational exercise, integrating new partner nations and expanding their integrated capabilities. Bright Star 2009 featured more than 180 air, ground, maritime and special operations military activities among joint services from 11 nations. …