Academic journal article Military Review

Training for Peace Support Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

Training for Peace Support Operations

Article excerpt

Peacekeeping is not a mission for a soldier but only a soldier can do it.

-Dag Hammarskjold

16 APRIL 1998, the 1st Cavalry Division 1st Cav Div), Fort Hood, Texas, was notified that it would conduct a relief in place of the Ist Armored Division (lst AD) as Task Force (TF) Eagle in Bosnia and supply the major troop units which would form Stabilization Force 4 and 5 (SFOR4/5). The 1st Cav Div, one of two heavy divisions focused on the nations' two major theaters of war, was now faced with the requirement to plan and execute a major peace support operations (PSO) training effort, conduct theater reconnaissance, plan for a relief in place and plan and execute a major deployment to a new theater of operations. The division placed the burden of planning, coordinating and conducting the training effort on the 3d "Grey Wolf' Brigade Combat Team (BCT). This article explains the steps taken to prepare for and conduct major PSO training and draw some conclusions about the cost of this effort to the 3d BCT and 1st Cav Div.1

The 3d BCT had to develop PSO training for an estimated 50 platoons and 21 companies from the 1st BCT, which made up the major component of SFOR4. Further, this training would serve as the basis for training SFOR5, the 1st Cav Div's 2d BCT, which would relieve the 1st BCT after six months in-theater. The Grey Wolf Brigade used the following eight-step PSO training model:

* Plan the training.

* Train and certify the leaders.

* Recon the site.

* Issue the plan.

* Rehearse.

* Execute.

* Conduct after-action reviews (AARs).

* Retrain.

The brigade executive officer had served in Haiti and Somalia, one battalion commander in Haiti, and the forward support battalion commander and two company commanders as members of the initial Implementation Force in Bosnia. While actual intheater experience was rather thin, the brigade's leadership-from sergeant first class to colonel-- had participated in the 2d BCT train-up for a National Training Center (NTC) exercise. Thus, all were familiar with the training methodology.

The brigade received the following guidance from 1st Cav Div Commanding General Major General Kevin P. Byrnes:

Replicate current and potential conditions in Bosnia.

* Training focus is force protection, individual, platoon and company competencies for PSO.

Individual readiness training (IRT) and collective training build capability for mission rehearsal exercise (MRE).

* Build leader confidence. Train safely.

Based on this guidance and an analysis of intelligence reports from the Bosnian theater, the 3d Brigade staff derived the following mission statement: "3d BCT, 1CD conducts Individual Readiness Training (IRT) and collective training at Fort Hood, Texas, to prepare [SFOR4] units for the Mission Rehearsal Exercise." The brigade staff began the estimate process in mid-April 1998. The brigade commander, four BCT battalion commanders and the brigade operations officers of the 1 st Cav Div's four maneuver brigades flew to the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), Hohenfels, Germany, to observe training conducted there for US Army Europe units deploying into the Bosnia theater of operations.2

CMTC Training

Training at CMTC was extensive and extremely sophisticated. Building on the training center model for high-intensity combat, the CMTC observer/controllers (O/Cs) became experts in PSO. CMTC made it a practice to send its O/Cs into theater, thereby maintaining an operational and tactical focus on the changing conditions in-theater, thus ensuring that predeployment training was up to date. CMTC also made extensive use of soldier "role players" to portray local nationals. CMTC, through the Seventh Army Training Center (7th ATC), hired Hungarian students and army officers to act as interpreters and key role players. This inspired decision ensured that the training units had to employ translators effectively and learn to speak through another person. …

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