16 October 2012

Big, Fat, Hairy Live Training in Europe (Again)

After 20 years, force-on-force training is going to extend beyond the training areas in Germany.

Conducting operations outside of the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels also puts troops in direct contact with everyday civilians as they travel the roads. According to the Army, Saber Junction is the largest U.S. Army European training event outside of the training areas in 20 years and involves more than 1,700 foreign personnel.

Although the exercise is primarily live, there is also an element of virtual training. Simulations from a brigade in Vicenza, Italy, are being incorporated so that higher commands have more than one unit to control, according to Col. Jeff Meeker, director of the Joint Multinational Simulation Center at Grafenwoehr.

JMSC is also sending the common operating picture from the exercise to both the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and the Joint Readiness and Training Center at Fort Polk, La.

“This is more of a proof of principle to ensure we can exchange digits between the combat training centers for the possibility of linking exercises between the U.S. Army Europe and the CTCs back in the states,” Meeker said.

Saber Junction is also intended to improve interoperability between the different nations. The 19 countries participating in the exercise with the United States include Italy, Germany, France and the U.K. U.S. military officials have stated that there will be a renewed focus on joint and international training.

By: Brant

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