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Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC)
Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC)

The mission of the of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC), in a forward deployed environment at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany, is to provide tough, realistic, and challenging joint and combined arms training; focuse on improving readiness by developing soldiers, their leaders and units in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and for success on current and future battlefields; provide simulated combat training exercises for task organized Brigade Combat Teams (BCT)/Heavy BCT (HBCT), Stryker BCT (SBCT), Airborne BCT (ABCT), and functional brigades across the full spectrum of operations; plan, coordinate, and execute Combat Training Center (CTC) and Exportable Training Capability (ETC) rotations/Mission Rehearsal Exercises to prepare units for full spectrum operations: Major Combat Operations (MCO), Counter-Insurgency (COIN) Operations, and Security Operations Stability Operations (SOSO).

The Joint Multinational Readiness Center was located at the Hohenfels Training Area in the Free State of Bavaria in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate). It was the largest USAREUR maneuver training area and came under the command of the Commanding General, Joint Multinational Training Center, Grafenwoehr. As of 2010, more than 60,000 soldiers (US and allied) train there annually.

Specific tasks included for the JMRC included: Training forces for the Global War on Terrorism and Warfighting; providing the Joint Multinational Training Center (JMTC) with a world-wide, deployable Operations Group that could provide Combat Training Center capabilities at the Joint Mobilization Operating Base (JMOB) or out-of-sector locations; providing realistic and challenging Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational training to prepare forces for GWOT and the Contemporary Operational Environment (COE); providing trained observers/controllers (O/C); providing a Capabilities-Based Opposing Force (OPFOR); providing state-of-the-art deployable/expeditionary instrumentation systems; providing quality training feedback (coach, teach, mentor, formal/informal AAR); providing training scenarios and operational training environments to meet training objectives; conducting leader training and development programs; and conducting live fire exercises.

Prior to 2005, the JMRC was designated as the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), which was first created in 1988. The CMTC had the mission to facilitate realistic force on force maneuver training for all US Army Europe (USAREUR) Combat Battalions, and to support NATO training densities such as Germany, France, Canada, and the Netherlands. CMTC training, conducted at the Hohenfels Training Area (HTA), was the capstone event of the USAREUR training strategy for maneuver battalions, field artillery battalions, brigades, brigade slices, and division cavalry squadrons. The combat training center methodology and facilities provided USAREUR units with tough, realistic combined arms and services training on a complex battlefield.

The CMTC at Hohenfels, Germany was the capstone of the USAREUR training strategy for maneuver units in Europe under USAREUR Regulation 350-1, Training in USAREUR, and Regulation 350-50, Combat Maneuver Training Center. The CMTC could be used for various instrumental purposes including training for high intensity combat, Stability and Support Operations (SASO), and specific mission rehearsals.

The CMTC's purpose was to train a unit, its soldiers and leaders, in the successful execution of their collective tasks and not to grade (pass/fail) them. It was a tool available to commanders to keep their units in that "band of excellence" towards which all individual and small unit home station training opportunities built. The CMTC was a tough and demanding armor/mechanized woodland environment that allowed the strengths and weaknesses of the whole unit to be identified. This identification was assisted through various means. From low-tech observations on the ground, to high-tech whiz-bang applications of laser engagement systems and computer imagery, the whole purpose was to assist the unit to train to standard, meet the commander's training objectives and accomplish its mission essential tasks. There were a variety of visiting troops from the US, as well as from foreign Armies. The optempo was high in Hohenfels. The CMTC training calendar often reflected back to back missions, with block leave scheduled twice per year. While the majority of personnel assigned to Hohenfels did not foreword deploy, some units did. Family Support Systems functioned at an increased level to provide soldiers and families with support as needed.

Ideally, heavy brigade combat teams operating with their assigned, attached, and slice units would receive an opportunity to train at the CMTC every 12 months. Combat support (CS) and combat service support (CSS) units participated in CMTC training as part of the combined arms and services team in support of maneuver task force and brigade operations. The CMTC conducted brigade-level exercises that emphasized tactical maneuver training for the battalion task force or divisional cavalry squadron. A typical CMTC rotation used a 3-5-14-3 cycle that includesd 3 days for deploying, issuing MILES equipment, and conducting the USAREUR Leader Training Program (ULTP), Phase III, in the Leader Training Center simulation facility; and 5 days of company/team-enhanced situational training exercises (STX). After the STX were 14 days of battalion task force force-on-force training and EXEVALs and 3 days for MILES turn-in, maneuver-box cleanup, and redeployment.

Battalion and brigade maneuver training and peacekeeping training were conducted at Hohenfels. Seven battalion task forces trained in October and November 1996 before deploying to Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and between October 1995 and October 1997 nearly 29,000 soldiers received Individual Readiness Training (IRT) for the operation. In FY97 more than 43,000 soldiers completed regular training rotations and IRT.

The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division soldiers who took over the mission of Task Force Falcon in late 2000 did not have to go to Kosovo for a realistic preview of what they expected to encounter there. Kosovo came to them. Hohenfels' Combat Maneuver Training Center was made to replicate Kosovo for an extensive 17-day mission rehearsal exercise that immersed some 5,000 soldiers in virtually every scenario they might encounter in Kosovo. The exercise was similar to the training begun in 1999 for all units bound for Kosovo. The CMTC observer-controllers monitored the soldiers on each of the peacekeeping tasks they might perform and point out which ones they did correctly and incorrectly. Then, the soldiers performed the task again.

Civilians on the Battlefield (COBs) had been used at CMTC since the early 1990s to portray civilian ethnic groups and organizations that Army units might encounter when deployed. The mission of the COBs was to add realism to situations where units might have to deal with civilian populations while conducting military operations. The majority of COB employees were retired Army personnel, many with combat experience. One member was an ex-Navy SEAL. All spoke a second language, and could draw on other skills to confuse or mislead even the most highly trained units.

As a result, units rotating through training at CMTC encountered some tough scenarios, including dealing with "thieves" entering their base camp, "snipers" hiding among the population, angry mobs, and bomb-toting "terrorists." Soldiers and observer/controllers at CMTC referred to the Department of the Army civilians as "professional" COBs, or "pro-COBs." To assist in populating the CMTC "battlefield," pro-COBs were often augmented with soldiers from other units or from visiting reserve component units. The augmentees received role-playing instruction, rules of engagement, and civilian or military clothing, and then occupied the 6 urban-warfare training "villages" spread throughout the 40,000-acre maneuver-training area and extended training area at CMTC.

The COBs who occupied the training villages, or Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) sites, lived in the buildings for the duration of an exercise. Major improvements have been made to the 5 MOUT sites located in the main maneuver area, to protect the occupants from the harsh German winters. Although the MOUT sites were where the COBs were most often seen performing their duties, inhabiting training villages was not their sole function. Pro-COBs provided training support for units throughout USAREUR and in the United States.

Renewed worldwide terrorist threats made it too dangerous to conduct force-protection exercises around actual guard posts or security elements, so planners worked out other training solutions, including utilizing COBs. CMTC Pro-COBs had been observed being chased by military police during force-protection exercises at posts all over Germany. The COB team had an archive of video tapes and photographs that showed COBs being body-slammed, handcuffed, and carted off to military police jail cells. They were adept at aggravating situations that involved security personnel: There's nothing like a "civilian" in a vehicle search pit screaming in a foreign language to make an military policeman's day.

The CMTC was transformed and officially named the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in December 2005. This transformation leveraged the unique capability of the JMRC to train US forces for joint and multinational coalition warfare. With over 95 percent of foreign allies in the Global War on Terrorism coming from the US European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility, the JMRC's location in the heart of the EUCOM area of responsibility provided the best opportunity for US Forces to train with their coalition partners prior to joining them in combat.




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