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Brigades to Begin Joint Air-to-Ground Training

Oct 15, 2007
BY Sean Deam

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Army News Service, Oct. 15, 2007) -- The new air-ground integration concept for brigade combat teams is designed to improve combat effectiveness while reducing fratricide and collateral damage on the battlefield, according to U.S. Joint Forces Command.

The core of this initiative, the BCT A-GI training concept, will bring services, schools, combat training centers and units together in order to train jointly - just as they fight in combat, officials said. The fiirst BCT A-GI training event at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., will take place Nov. 5 - 23 with maneuver units from the 4th Infantry Division.

"The need to better synchronize our air-ground integration training at the brigade combat team level is a fundamental requirement to succeed on the complex battlefield that our men and women operate in today," said Maj. Thomas Hansbarger, BCT A-GI project lead for U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team.

"We must develop a realistic, joint integrated air-to-ground training capability at home station and at the combat training centers for both planning and execution in order to improve application of joint fires and effects at the Brigade Combat Team level and below," said Gen. William S. Wallace, commander of Training and Doctrine Command.

The BCT A-GI team consists primarily of the TRADOC Joint Air Ground Office, Air Combat Command Joint Air Ground Division, the Army Joint Support Team and the Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team.

The BCT A-GI training plan emphasizes individual skills, develops training objectives, integrates robust air-ground training at the BCT's home station and implements collaborative training scenarios at combat training centers and Green Flag exercises.

BCT A-GI integrates joint concepts into existing training events after a BCT returns from a deployment and as it prepares to deploy again, officials said. They said the BCT commander determines when, where and the extent to which joint concepts are incorporated into the unit's training plan.

Another key dynamic of BCT A-GI is the development of joint, interdependent training objectives between the participating BCT, Air Support Operations Squadron and Air Force and Army flying units. Since the objectives will be interdependent, officials said every unit's inputs and actions will be required to make the event successful.

JFIIT will assess each training event during home-station training and CTC rotations. The assessments will focus on the training venues, JFCOM officials said, and the ability to create a realistic, joint training environment, and measure each unit's improvement in air-ground integration.

The Center for Army Lessons Learned will conduct the final BCT A-GI assessment while the BCT conducts combat operations. The BCT A-GI team will write a report determining if the concept was successful at creating a joint training environment and if it increased the unit's ability to conduct joint air-to-ground operations.

(Sean Deam works for the Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team, United States Joint Forces Command Public Affairs Office).

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