A squad from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2/2) enters a building in a replicated village on Grafenwoehr Training Area's Range 118 during the live-fire portion of the November exercise. (U.S. Army)
LONDON — Lessons from a November exercise that used live, virtual, constructive and gaming (LVC-G) elements to train an entire combat brigade are being used to plan future training, U.S. Army officials said.
“This is something that can be used as a template by units to build their own training exercises in the future,” said Christian Marquardt, spokesman for the 7th U.S. Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) at Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Run by the JMTC, the unnamed four-day exercise combined simulations and virtual systems with live-fire exercises to train an entire combat brigade -- the 2nd Cavalry Regiment -- in one location.
The exercise showed that the Army could use current LVC-G capabilities in a synchronized exercise environment to train several levels of command, up to battalion command posts. Such exercises will become more important as the Army, pressed for funding, trains more and more units at their home stations.
Nearly 5,000 U.S. soldiers participated, including four Stryker squadrons of about 700 soldiers each. The 2nd Cav, including the Strykers, supply, fire support and other elements, participated at the Grafenwoehr site, while an Italian Battalion Task Force participated via simulation from Vicenza in northeast Italy.
Vicenza is one of several “spoke sites” in Europe run by the Joint Multinational Simulation Center (JMSC), a subordinate directorate of the JMTC in Grafenwoehr.
Maj. Jamel R. Carr, a JMSC planner, highlighted the ability to include a multinational partner, the Italian unit, via distributed simulations.
“When the participants looked at their common operating tool (i.e. the command post of the future), they could not tell if the icons on the screen were real units, live in the field, or units being played in simulation,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions from TSJ. “The common operating picture of the rotation was sent to the NTC [National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.] and JRTC [Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.] and we received theirs. So there was a shared common operating picture amongst the Combat Training Centers.”
The exercise integrated the JMSC’s virtual, constructive and gaming capabilities with the JMTC’s live operations.
The exercise aimed to provide more engaging and challenging training than traditional gunnery exercises. Adding simulations allowed multi-echelon training and the ability to exercise squadron-level collective training objectives.
It began with troop-leading procedures and progressed through personnel down to Stryker vehicle commanders, drivers and gunners, who rehearse the live-fire exercise on a Virtual Battlespace 2 map that replicated the Grafenwoehr training area. Day three was a full squadron rehearsal without live ammunition; day four brought actual gunnery.