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American Forces Press Service

BRAC 2005: Cross-Service Groups Enhance Joint Efforts

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2005 "We train joint, we fight joint, we might as well live joint," is how Charles S. Abell summarizes the Defense Department's recommendations to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.

Abell, principal deputy to the undersecretary for personnel and readiness, chaired the joint cross-service group working on training and education issues in developing DoD's recommendations.

"Our mission was to look through the department and across the services and search for better ways to do business," Abell said in an interview today. "We specifically were looking at fresh ways and different approaches to training and education."

The joint groups worked closely together and with the services. The recommendations of the groups received as much weight as those of the services, said Pentagon officials.

Abell's group included leaders of all the services and the Joint Staff.

One example of the type of recommendation Abell said his group worked toward involves the Joint Strike Fighter. When the aircraft reaches the inventory, the services will do training jointly at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. "We wanted to make sure the Navy wouldn't do training at a naval air station, the Air Force at an air base and the Marines at a Marine Corps air station," Abell said. All training will be at Eglin, and that will pay off later as the pilots fly together in operations, he said.

Another example involves combining air defense artillery and field artillery. The ADA school at Fort Bliss, Texas, will move to Fort Sill, Okla., and combine with the Artillery School. The new Net Fires School will train Army and Marine Corps personnel.

The same will happen at Fort Benning, Ga., when the Armor School - which trains soldiers and Marines - moves in.

Other Joint Centers of Excellence will be established at Fort Lee, Va., for joint service culinary training and at Fort Jackson, S.C., for chaplains and chaplains' assistants.

More details about the joint cross-service groups will be available in the coming days.

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