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Exercise Control


All training exercises require control. Some such as TEWTs need only commanders. Others such as division-or corps-level CPXs or FTXs may require formal controller organizations responsible for conducting entire exercises. The control system for any exercise should ensure that it follows its scenario and attains its objectives. The control system makes sure that each exercise develops smoothly and provides meaningful, realistic training.


To control exercises, chief controllers must organize the staffs to use the available personnel most effectively and beneficially. To do so, they prepare controller manning tables.

The composition of the control team depends upon--

  • The type of exercise and the echelon at which it is conducted.
  • The method, sometimes called the exercise driver, that sustains the exercise and causes it to flow to a logical conclusion. A sequence of events, a battle simulation, an OPFOR element, or a combination of these may drive an exercise.
  • Troop lists from the notional higher and adjacent headquarters.

Controllers should represent all higher, subordinate, adjacent, and supporting units and staffs except those physically represented. If First Battle drives a CPX, the chief controller can use the organizer's guide from First Battle and the OPLAN troop list to assign controllers properly. For an FTX with an OPFOR element and no higher headquarters, OPLAN, or troop list available, the chief controller must decide not only where to place controllers, but whom they must represent.

Each battle simulation includes a recommended controller manning table along with the instructions. In many instances, manpower restrictions will dictate modifications to it. However, control organizations that are not familiar with the particular simulation being used should follow the recommended control organization as closely as possible. A control staff, a headquarters together with umpires, and evaluators may all be necessary.

Controllers ensure that events take place at the right time and place per scenario and schedule. They perform as all HQs and units not present as players. Umpires determine outcomes of--

  • Engagements.
  • Fires.
  • Obstacles.
  • Support activities.

They report outcomes to players and controllers. Evaluators observe activities to determine whether tasks are performed to standard. Ideally, one person should not serve as controller, evaluator, and umpire during the same exercise. However, exercise directors may have to make dual assignments if there is a shortage of qualified personnel.


As the focal point for controlling each exercise, the ECC will portray the higher headquarters of the player unit. It will also be responsible for the administration and logistics necessary to support the exercise. Subordinate control centers, if used, and umpire teams report to, and coordinate their activities through, the ECC. ECC personnel must also know control and umpire procedures thoroughly and interact as required with subordinate control centers. The chief controllers or their designated representatives will coordinate all activities of the control organization according to the guidance from the exercise director. All training exercises have ECCs. Higher echelons require formal organizations.

A sample controller manning table for the ECC of a division-level FTX appears in Table 14. The suggested task organizations are austere. Actual controller requirements must be based on a mission analysis of the exercise being conducted and permit sustained operations. Manning and equipment tables vary depending on the type of exercise. They are based on the mission, the terrain, and the troops available to support the operation. The ECC must be organized to permit sustained operations.

Chief Controller

The chief controller commands all exercise controller personnel. He is responsible for informing the exercise director of player unit locations, plans, and intentions. He advises the exercise director about taking possible actions through controller channels to influence the tactical situations. ECC staff members aid the chief controller in these duties. In the absence of a chief controller, a senior member of each shift of the operations section acts as ECC officer in charge.

Operations Officer

The operations officers are the primary advisors to the chief controller for exercise planning and operations. The operations section controls all notional units. It is aggressive in seeking updated information from the area coordination centers (ACCs) and the player unit's highest headquarters. It is responsible for--

  • Fighting its portions of air-land battles.
  • Disseminating changes to the highest player unit's OPORD.
  • Issuing orders and directives.
  • Planning on behalf of the player unit's higher headquarters.

Intelligence Officer

The intelligence officers are the primary advisors to the chief controller on all OPFOR matters. The ECC intelligence section controls all OPFOR units. It makes sure they adhere to the OPFOR commander's orders. It ensures that all necessary intelligence reports are issued and received per SOP requirements.

FSE Officer

The FSE officers represent the chief artillery umpires at the ECC. They--

  • Brief the exercise director, chief controller, and staff.
  • Recommend actions to control the exercise.
  • Direct actions based on guidance from the exercise director and chief controller.

The FSE officers receive reports from the fire support sections of the ACCs and maintain current status reports on all field artillery player elements. The FSE officers ensure that map and status charts for ECC operations are properly posted. They pass guidance and information to the subordinate fire support controllers as required, and they maintain artillery unit status logs and staff journals.

NBC Officer

The ECC NBC officers are responsible for general supervision of the NBC control and umpire system. The NBC element coordinates chemical release procedures and chemical fire support plans. It maintains liaison with area control center NBC personnel and brigade NBC umpire personnel. Through reports submitted by ACC personnel, the NBC element monitors the effects of chemical or nuclear weapon systems in tactical play. It recommends chemical or nuclear courses of action to the chief controller.

Engineer Officer

The ECC engineer officer is responsible for briefing the exercise director and chief controller concerning engineer activities. The engineer officer also posts information about current engineer operations on the map and maintains all necessary logs. He directs engineers to comply with guidance received from the exercise director and chief controller, and he coordinates with other ECC staff sections, as required.

ADA Officer

Using information from ACCs, the ECC ADA officer maintains status maps showing all units and their engagement zones. He reports all ADA position changes to the ECC operations section, and he reports all changes in ADA position and operational status to the ALO. In addition, the ADA officer maintains the current and planned air defense situation based on situation reports received from the air defense umpires.

Air Liaison Officer

The ECC air liaison officer assesses the bomb damage from sorties not controlled by the forward air controller (FAC) and passes the BDA to the ACC, which in turn passes it on to the maneuver unit umpires for assessment. The chief ECC ALO exercises operational control over airborne umpires, ECC ALO umpires, and other controllers of Air Force activities, as required.

Aviation Officer

The ECC aviation officer compiles and maintains all Army aviation-related data during the exercise. He briefs aviation-related activities to the exercise director and chief controller.

Logistics and Civil Affairs Officers

The ECC G4 aids in the coordination of US and local national agencies or citizens, as required, concerning conflicts or maneuver damage, linguistic support, and other civil affairs activities related to the control mission. The G5 assists in handling foreign nationals who visit control facilities or activities. The G5 may collocate with the provost marshal section to assist in resolving incidents involving foreign nationals.

Provost Marshal

The provost marshal advises the chief controller on the status of all control personnel during the exercise. He advises the ECC personnel officers on matters involving policy violations. He maintains liaison with safety officers and provides the required reports on accidents involving umpire personnel and equipment. The provost marshal maintains the umpire's serious incident reporting system and is the ECC point of contact with appropriate public agencies.


The surgeon advises the chief controllers on the health status of all personnel during the exercise. He is responsible for operations of the casualty evacuation system.

Visitor's Bureau Officer

The ECC visitor's bureau (VB) is responsible for hosting visitors to the ECC, in accordance with established itineraries. The OIC of the VB establishes and maintains liaison/coordination with the secretary of the general staff. He keeps the chief controller and staff advised of visitors and their status, reporting their times of arrival and departure to the VB. He meets and escorts visitors in the ECC area, as the headquarters commandant directs, and he provides ground transportation for visitors in the ECC area, as necessary. The OIC also coordinates visits with umpires or ACCs.


ACCs, when established, are subordinate to the ECC. ACCs remain in fixed locations. They coordinate the administrative and logistical support that is not part of exercise play. In addition, ACCs monitor and record maneuver damage. ACCs are normally established for division and higher echelon exercises or when the geographic area is too large for an ECC's control radius. ACCs are normally composed of three elements:

  • A maneuver section.
  • A fire support section.
  • An obstacle section.

For exercises above division or for special contingencies, they might add other sections such as air liaison or maneuver damage control.

ACCs must know--

  • The locations of all player and OPFOR units.
  • The locations of all emplaced obstacles.
  • The general tactical situation.

ACCs use this information--

  • To coordinate the support, such as maintenance, refueling, feeding, and administrative information, for umpire teams and controller/evaluator personnel.
  • To coordinate emergency support that is not part of exercise play for all participants.
  • To brief visitors to the exercise area.

Wire and/or radio communication connects each ACC with the ECC and with each other. ACCs are administrative elements and do not control, umpire, or evaluate. ACCs depend upon effective communication and timely reports from the umpire teams operating within their areas of responsibility. When the need for ACCs has been established, it is normal to field two or more of them.

The number of communications nets established by each ACC will depend on the type and echelon of the exercise. Sufficient nets must be established to enable the ACC to function effectively. Some nets that can be used are the--

  • Umpire command net.
  • Administrative/logistical net.
  • Maneuver net.
  • Fire support net.
  • Obstacle net.
  • Fire marker net.

Whenever possible, each ACC spans a geographical area that corresponds to the player unit boundaries. Thus, each ACC should work with only one player, OPFOR, and umpire/controller organization. However, if terrain and communication limitations make this ideal impossible, each ACC must be prepared to act as a relay point for other umpire/control elements. For division-level exercises, ACC limits usually correspond to brigade boundaries. ACCs then perform both their own functions and those of brigade umpire teams. All ACC sections assist area umpires and controllers in resolving administrative and logistical problems.

Maneuver Section

The maneuver section maintains the locations and status of all player and OPFOR units on the operations map. It places opposing maneuver umpires and controllers in direct communication with each other to institute and/or evaluate planned activities. This section consolidates umpire team reports and keeps the ECC informed of the intentions of subordinate units. It coordinates with adjacent ACCs and reports to the ECC on the status of flank units and on any boundary problems.

Fire Support Section

The fire support section monitors all fire support activities and communications, serving as the control element for all support fires within the ACC radius. All fire support umpires are required to process their reports through this section to the ECC. During LFXs, this section may have to halt play for safety reasons.

Obstacle Section

The obstacle section provides current information on obstacles to area umpires and controllers. It monitors conventional obstacles and damage to the MSR and to LOC for its assigned area. It should be staffed by experienced engineer personnel. Collateral damage from conventional, chemical, or nuclear strikes that create obstacles must be reported to this section. It assigns sequential target numbers to obstacles, and it reports their status, target numbers, and locations to the ECC. It reports current obstacle information to maneuver unit umpires by means of updated obstacle overlays. This section assists in controlling tactical obstacles and coordinates the placement of obstacle guards within the ACC area. It may divide its area into subareas to simplify the dissemination of information to tenant units. Breached obstacles are logged on the obstacle status log and removed from the obstacle map. Repairing unit umpires report MSR and LOC repairs, and ACC personnel post them in proper logs, remove them from the correct obstacle overlay, and report them to the ECC G4. The obstacle section also ensures that all obstacles in the ACC area are properly marked throughout the exercise. The obstacle should be marked by either the emplacing unit umpire, the requesting unit umpire, or a nearby resident umpire.

A sample ACC organization for a brigade area of operations during a division FTX is shown in Table 15. The table is provided for guidance. Exact manning will depend on the type of exercise, the echelon at which it is conducted, and the geographic area.


The umpire teams evaluate engagements, fires, obstacles, encounters, and support activities, based on weapons effect tables, professional judgment, and a thorough knowledge of the player unit's disposition and scheme of maneuver. The teams interface with ACCs. They are especially active at the battalion and lower levels of command where they may perform simultaneously as controllers and evaluators.

The organizational tables that follow depict umpire teams supporting a division (brigade-slice) FTX. These tables depict the most commonly required teams. Any unit in an exercise may require a corresponding umpire team.

Brigade Team

Brigade Chief Umpire. The brigade chief umpires are in charge of all brigade umpire teams in their sphere of control. They are the primary link between the ECC, ACC, and the player units. They provide liaison with player units and ensure that ACCs and the ECC receive frequent updates on unit locations, plans, and intentions. They coordinate with OPFOR brigade umpires and assist in positioning opposing battalion umpires. They ensure that timely situation reports (SITREPs) are received and forwarded.

The brigade chief umpires maintain current locations of player units and monitor player unit plans and intentions. They resolve conflicts among player umpires and report them to the division chief umpires, when appropriate. The brigade chief umpires also conduct AARs at the ends of exercises.

Assistant Brigade Chief Umpire. The assistant brigade chief umpires represent the chief umpires in their absence and perform other duties that the chief umpires specify.

Administrative Umpire. The administrative umpires monitor the personnel replacement and casualty reporting system.

Intelligence Umpire. The intelligence umpires monitor the performance of the brigade S2 section, to include the brigade intelligence net traffic and actions generated by that traffic.

PW Umpire. The PW umpires control trained PWs, coordinate their insertion in player channels, and monitor the handling, processing, and evacuation of PWs in player channels. They accompany PWs from insertion to evacuation to the division PW collection point. They ensure that captured OPFORs are repatriated and not processed as PWs.

Operations umpire. The operations umpires monitor the brigade S3 section, maintain communications with the ECC or ACC, and gather and transmit SITREPs from battalion umpires.

Logistical Umpire and Assistant. The logistical umpires and assistants monitor all supply expenditures and resupply activities. They also monitor equipment loss reports and weapon systems replacement operations in the brigade.

Medical Umpire. The medical umpires coordinate the insertion of medical casualties and monitor the casualty evacuation system of player units.

NBC Umpire. The NBC umpires at brigade level ensure that NBC umpires in maneuver units are informed of brigade NBC player operations. They assist the maneuver unit NBC umpires in effecting umpire linkup between firing units and targeted units. They also inform the ECC and ACC of brigade NBC player operations.

Maintenance Umpire and Assistant. The maintenance umpires and assistants monitor all maintenance activities in the brigade. They ensure that recovery, repair, and replacement follow established procedures. They may accompany equipment through the maintenance system to observe player actions.

Maneuver Battalion Team

Battalion Chief Umpire. The battalion chief umpires are in charge of all battalion umpires. They are the primary communications link between the brigade team and the player units, and they ensure that the brigade team and the ACC maneuver section are notified prior to entering or departing ACC areas. The chief umpires make sure that the brigade team and the appropriate ACC maneuver section get updates whenever the battalion or a subordinate company moves 2 to 3 kilometers or more, changes the direction of attack, or withdraws. They make sure that timely SITREPs are transmitted to the ACC. They update the ACC frequently on player plans and intentions. They place subordinate company umpires in direct contact with their counterparts in the OPFOR. They resolve player-umpire conflicts and report them to the brigade chief umpire, as necessary. They conduct informal briefings at the ends of the exercises and provide input for the AARs.

Battalion Assistant Chief Umpire. The battalion assistant umpires take the place of the chief umpires, in their absence. They perform any other functions that the chief umpires direct.

Operations/Intelligence Umpire. The operations/intelligence umpires are the primary contact between player unit umpires and the umpire chain of command. As assistants to the battalion assistant umpires/evaluators, they establish the umpire maneuver operations center. They maintain the operations map with the current locations of battalion and subordinate units. They maintain communication and coordination with ACCs and subordinate company/scout platoon/attached unit umpires such as the engineer platoon umpire. They consolidate and transmit SITREPs from subordinate unit umpires to the ACC, and they transmit required reports to the appropriate ACCs. They provide target information, when requested, through the ACC maneuver section to the fire support section, and they receive and relay information on opposing forces and obstacles from ACCs to concerned company/scout platoon umpires.

NBC Umpire. The NBC umpires are the primary contact for NBC actions and information. They coordinate to ensure that ACC and higher and subordinate unit umpires are informed of any NBC hazards. The NBC umpires monitor and evaluate NBC protective measures and defensive actions. They ensure that the battalion and subordinate and attached units respond to NBC attacks. They assist and advise the operations/intelligence umpire on NBC matters, and they assess NBC casualties.

Logistics Umpire. The logistics umpires monitor the battalion logistics activities. They also monitor the equipment loss reports and weapon system replacement operations.

Company Umpire. Normally, company umpires go with the company commanders. They ensure that team members are properly positioned to observe player activities. They communicate or meet directly with the opposing force unit umpires to exchange information, adjust engagements, assess all battle losses, and determine the outcome of engagements. They report the plans and intentions of player unit commanders, as well as changes in unit location of more than 2 to 3 kilometers, to the battalion umpire teams. They also report all obstacles that player units emplace, execute, or breach to the battalion umpire team. The company umpires emphasize safety and report any violations directly to the unit or through umpire channels. They conduct informal briefings at the end of the exercise and report maneuver damage that exceeds the allowable maximum.

Scout Platoon Umpire. The scout platoon umpires monitor the activities of the scout platoon. They ensure that information regarding opposing force sightings and imminent contact is relayed to the company umpire. They must clear with the battalion chief umpire/operations officer before directing the platoon's withdrawal when it is reduced to one-third TOE strength.

Battalion Fire Support Umpire. The battalion fire support umpires assess the effects of hostile weapons. They monitor the FSO's fire planning and coordination.

Company Fire Support Umpire. The company fire support umpires assess the effects of incoming hostile fire. They monitor FIST/FO fire planning and coordination, positioning, and calls for fire. They forward fire planning and other appropriate information through umpire channels to the battalion umpires. They mark indirect fires within their sectors.

Mortar Platoon Umpire. The mortar platoon umpires monitor platoon planning, coordination, calls for fire, positioning, and interface with the scheme of maneuver.

Administrative Umpire. The administrative umpires have the same duties as the administrative umpires for the brigade team.

Redeye/Stinger Umpire. The Redeye/Stinger umpires monitor the tactical employment of Redeyes and Stingers.

Antitank Platoon Umpire. For infantry battalions only, these umpires function like the company maneuver umpires but have specific responsibility for the antitank platoon.

Division Artillery Team

Chief Artillery Umpire. The chief artillery umpire is in charge of all field artillery umpires in the exercise sector. He is are responsible for the training, supervision, placement, and welfare of umpires. The chief umpire arbitrates conflicts; serves as contact between players and umpires, as required; and ensures that all umpires adhere to established procedures in performing their duties.

Division Artillery Umpire. The division artillery umpire team locates near the division artillery TOC. The division artillery umpires monitor all counterfire missions, serve as umpires for the division artillery, and evaluate the operations of the division artillery units.

FA Battalion Team. The FA battalion team collocates with the player FDC operations center. The team monitors all counterfire and indirect fire missions, as required.

Lance Battalion Team. The Lance battalion team collocates with the player unit and monitors all missions.

Calvary Squadron Team

The squadron umpire team has the same responsibilities as the maneuver battalion team. The howitzer battery team has the same responsibilities as the field artillery team. Intelligence and administrative/logistics umpires may be added as appropriate.

Air Defense Battalion Team

Battalion Umpire. The battalion umpires activities, keep abreast of unit intentions, maintain the status and location of all units assess battle losses and casualties, and report and report to the ACC, as appropriate. The battalion umpires are the relay points for information provided the player unit by the ACC, especially obstacle information. They monitor both tactical play and movement of the battalion headquarters and headquarters battery. They assess battle loss and engagements, as required.

Battery Umpire. The battery umpires receive and act upon messages from the battalion and platoon umpires. They monitor unit current status to the battalion, umpires, as required. The battery umpires also submit obstacle reports to battalion umpires.

Platoon Umpire. The platoon umpires monitor player movement, tactics and engagements; and they report to the battery umpires, as required. They assess battle losses and casualties and report obstacles to battery umpires. The platoon umpires provide aviation umpires with air defense locations and operational status, as required.

Division Engineer Battalion Umpire Team

Division Engineer Umpire. The division engineer umpires monitor operations of the division engineer battalion headquarters and the division engineer section. They monitor all engineer obstacle information and ensure that reports on engineer obstacles are transmitted to the ACC.

Engineer Company Umpire. The engineer company umpires validate operations of the engineer company to include obstacle emplacement, execution, breaching, and bridging operations. They monitor Class V obstacle materiel management. They ensure that obstacles are marked and reported and that obstacle guards are properly placed.

Engineer Bridge Company Umpire. The engineer bridge company umpires validate the operations of an engineer company equipped with mobile assault bridge (MAB), ribbon, and panel bridging. They ensure that river-crossing operations are conducted in a realistic manner and verify bridge construction estimates during bridging operations with the ACC.

Aviation Control Team

Attack Helicopter Company Controller. The attack helicopter company controllers are in charge of the company umpire teams. They keep the ACC informed of company and forward arming and refueling point (FARP) locations, receive engagement reports from platoon umpires, and monitor current company strength. They ensure that assessed aircraft are removed from operation for the prescribed time period, and they monitor selected ammunition expenditures and resupply, to include FARP interdiction. The company controllers mark and assess incoming fire missions upon receipt of reports or retransmit reports to subordinate umpires in the vicinity of the impact grid for their assessment.

Platoon Umpire. The platoon umpires fly with and observe the deployment of the player-accompanied platoon. They assess losses from ground fire and ADA weapons, contact ground unit umpires through the ACC, provide a subjective loss evaluation of both air and ground elements, and submit engagement reports to the company umpire.

Medical Control and Casualty Teams

Medical control and casualty teams record and tag simulated casualties that medical umpires have designated for evacuation through medical channels. They will collocate with the specific evacuation companies that provide a simulated combat support hospital in the division support area.

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