Warfighter / Battle Command Training Program Exercises
The Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), the Army's capstone combat training center, is located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. BCTP supports realistic, stressful training for ASCC/ARFOR, Corps, Division, and Brigade commanders and supports Army components participating in joint exercises to assist the CSA in fulfilling his duties to provide trained and ready units to win decisively on the modern battlefield and to conduct contingency operations worldwide. BCTP uses simulation centers worldwide to train commands and staffs.
Division Commanders normally execute a Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) Warfighter Exercise (WFX) during the first year of command. These Command Post Exercises (CPXs) are the primary collective training events for essential battlefield management and decision making skills for battalion staffs and above. Conduct embedded WFXs whenever possible to maximize time management and achieve better training results.
BCTP is composed of four Operations Groups (OPGPs A, B, C, and D) as well as a Headquarters, and the World Class Opposition Forces (WCOPFOR). Each OPGP is commanded by a colonel (Commander, Operations Group or COG) and has a unique mission. OPGPs A and B focus primarily on division and corps warfigther exercises (WFX). These two OPGPs have a combined capability to conduct 14 division WFXs per year. A corps WFX equals two division WFXs, as both OPGPs are required. They also conduct seminars, mission rehearsal exercises (MREs), and advanced-decision making exercises (ADMEs) for units deploying in support of peacekeeping operations. OPGP C focuses on training National Guard brigades and the Army's new Initial Brigade; and conducts 14 brigade rotations per year. Prior to each WFX conducted by OPGPs A, B, or C, each OPGP conducts a WFX seminar at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas or at the training unit's home station. OPGP D focuses on ASCC/ARFOR training and Army components participating in joint exercises. OPGP D does not normally conduct its own exercises. Instead, it observes its training audience while participating in a joint-conducted exercise.
BCTP differs from NTC, JRTC, and CMTC in that there is no tangible maneuver "box" at BCTP. Instead, all training is performed via computer simulation and centers around a notional computer-generated "box." Many spontaneous legal issues arise naturally during the course of a WFX (such as targeting issues, fratricides, and civilians on the battlefield). Additionally, OPGPs A, B, and C insert legal and information operations issues (such as law of armed conflict, ROE, international agreements, justification of the use of force, contract and fiscal law, military justice, foreign claims, and legal aspects of joint, inter-agency, non-governmental and international organization coordination) into the training scenario. For corps and division WFXs, many of these issues are inserted via the "Green Cell," which is a neutral information operations exercise control cell tasked to bring greater training realism to the exercise.
Approximately 100 days before an OPGP A, B, or C exercise actually begins, the OPGP plans and executes a five to seven day Battle Command Seminar at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The Seminar is designed to afford the CG an opportunity to focus on the military decision-making process (MDMP) and build his battle command staff. A reduced staff from the training unit deploys to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to either the Battle Seminar Facility (for OPGPs A and B seminars) or the Leadership Development Center (for OPGP C Seminars), where they focus on doctrine and tactics. TRADOC Regulation 350-50-3 requires the Staff Judge Advocate and the Chief, Operational Law, attend the Battle Command Seminar.
The nature of operations at BCTP varies, as each WFX is geared to the training commander's mission-essential task list (METL).
The Warfighter exercise and the Battle Command Training Program were created in the early '80s to mentor key Army leaders. It was designed as a way to put expert retired Army officers in mentoring positions to work with corps and division commanders. The BCTP observer-controllers watch the exercise, take notes and tell the exercise players what they saw.
Warfighter's computer simulation is technology at its best. The exercise players get realistic intelligence reports on enemy troop and vehicle movement from software programs that create the reports by combining satellite data with actual aerial photos of specific terrain where the exercise scenario takes place.
The XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., demonstrated the capabilities of the newly fielded mobile-subscriber equipment tactical high-speed data network during its first Battle Command Training Program warfighter exercise March 2-9, 2001. THSDN was critical to XVIII Airborne Corps' success during the warfighter exercise and is essential for supporting future deployments. Success stories included increasing battlefield situation awareness and dynamic collaborative planning. Command-and-control personal computers and InfoWork Space made this possible. THSDN greatly enhanced the corps' ability to C2, but data paths are filling quickly and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
The XVIII Airborne Corps warfighter exercise was embedded with 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and included 82d Airborne Division's participation. An equally important exercise leading to the corps' warfighter exercise was the corps' warfighter ramp-up exercise in January that also served as 10th Mountain Division (Light)'s warfighter exercise. Fort Bragg Signal-unit participation included 35th Signal Brigade (Airborne), 327th Signal Battalion (Airborne), 51st Signal Battalion (Airborne), 82d Signal Battalion (Airborne) and elements from 50th Signal Battalion (Airborne). Other Signal units participating included 501st Signal Battalion (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; 10th Signal Battalion (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y.; and elements from 93d Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga., and 11th Signal Brigade, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Since 82d Airborne Division's THSDN fielding in November 1999, XVIII Airborne Corps has been designing and installing tactical networks that were a hybrid THSDN and tactical-packet network. The XVIII Airborne Corps' warfighter exercise was the first pure-THSDN corps network installed to date. The XVIII Airborne Corps' tactical network included six single-shelter switches, 13 node-center switches, eight forced-entry switches, 29 small extension nodes, one AN/TYC-39A message switch, 13 network-encryption systems, more than 70 routers, 29 servers, 13 multichannel tactical-satellite terminals and seven digital group multiplexing terminals (following figures).
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