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by Major Lovering, Captain Capllonch,
and Captain Connelly, CAC Threats Directorate

National Training Center Opposing Forces

The mission of the National Training Center (NTC) is to provide a tough, realistic combined arms and combat service support training for light and heavy battalion task forces under brigade control in a mid-to-high intensity threat environment and to provide units with quality, standardized feedback on their performance.

An integral part of accomplishing this mission is the OPFOR. The OPFOR replicates a motorized rifle regiment (MRR) based on the forces of the former Soviet model, employing their organizations, doctrine and tactics. The philosophy of the OPFOR is to replicate a regiment operating as a supporting effort for a division, which is the supporting effort for the Army. This approach concentrates on the direct-fire fight during force-on-force battles, rather than being decided by an application of overwhelming combat multipliers (artillery and aviation). This philosophy allows the NTC and its OPFOR to apply a measured and purposeful approach to the battlefield. Where necessary, systems and capabilities are added to the OPFOR to allow the training unit to fulfill its mission-essential task list (METL) needs. The end result is a symmetrical OPFOR capable of stressing all of the battlefield operating systems (BOSs).

This diagram depicts the structure of the OPFOR regiment.


Selected combat support and combat service support elements are not portrayed because of limited resources. The regiment also receives support from division assets. This support may include all or a portion of each of the following units:


Support received from Army and higher may include all or a portion of each of the following units:


Future articles will detail the structure of the Motorized Rifle and Tank Battalions, planned equipment improvements for the OPFOR and discussions of OPFOR tactics.

Conclusion. The shape of the future threat remains uncertain. As potential threats become more defined, the structure of the OPFOR at the NTC will be adjusted to meet the needs of the Army. Until then, the NTC will continue to present its current OPFOR, a comprehensive, symmetrical threat capable of stressing each rotational unit.

Joint Readiness Training Center Opposing Forces

The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) OPFOR model replicates a Third World threat in the low and mid intensity levels of conflict. The model achieves this replication by blending selected capabilities found in the armies of 16 Third World countries. The model provides a training environment that caters to the needs of the rotational unit, capable of replicating an OPFOR that can range from an insurgent team to a motorized infantry regiment (MIR). The OPFOR portrayal at the JRTC is a good example of threat modeling for the post-cold war era. Units training at the JRTC can expect to encounter the MIR during the mid intensity level of combat (MIC) portion of their rotation.

The OPFOR MIR exercises a brigade task force by offering it with a determined and aggressive opponent during the MIC phase. To that effect, the OPFOR aims to carry the battle at all levels, from squad to battalion, and throughout the entire depth of the battlefield. The structure of the MIR allows the OPFOR commander to organize and maneuver his forces in a way that will support specific training objectives of the visiting unit.

In general terms, the Atlantican MIR is characterized as a reinforced infantry regiment composed of motorized (two battalions) and mechanized (one battalion) units. To increase its survivability and lethality, the motorized regiment also has organic air defense, mortar, antitank, and reconnaissance assets. The MIR can be augmented with divisional and Army elements, to include armor, engineers and aircraft.

The diagrams below outline the basic organization of the Atlantican MIR and illustrate the assets available for its augmentation.



Conclusion. The Atlantican MIR structure is a flexible and highly responsive medium by which the JRTC exercises brigade task forces, be they of a light or a heavy-light nature. In this respect, the flexibility and specific composition of the individual battalions of the MIR are of critical importance. In subsequent articles we will cover the organization and concepts for the employment of these battalions. Also we will cover issues and trends relating to equipment modernization of these forces.

Combat Maneuver Training Center Opposing Forces

The mission of the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) is to provide all USAREUR close combat (heavy) and (light) battalions with the opportunity to conduct tough, realistic combined arms training at the brigade and battalion or task force levels, and to provide units with quality, standardized feedback on their performance. A capable OPFOR is central to this training effort.

The CMTC OPFOR replicates a motorized rifle regiment (MRR) which has been modeled on the forces of the former Soviet Union, and employs their organization, tactics, and doctrine. Within the context of scenarios developed at the CMTC, the OPFOR MRR portrays the supporting effort of its parent motorized rifle division (MRD), and the MRD, in turn, is the supporting effort of the Combined Arms Army (CAA). Just as with NTC portrayal, this "supporting effort of the supporting effort" approach maximizes the training benefits for the soldier involved in the direct fire fight while still portraying the effects of other combat multipliers, such as field artillery and aviation. Capabilities portrayed by the OPFOR can be tailored by altering the degree of support received by the MRR from higher echelons; variance is based on training unit organization and METL requirements.

Although CMTC and NTC use differing MRD structures for their OPFORs (Division 89 and Division 80 Modified, respectively), there are no significant organizational differences at regiment level. The largest differences are at division; the Division 80 Modified structure contains a 3:1 mix of maneuver regiments and tank regiments, while the Division 89 structure has no organic tank regiment and a 2:2 mix of BMP-equipped and BTR-equipped MRRs. Subtle differences within MRR subelements, such as the AT platoon organic to the motorized rifle battalion (MRB) in the Division 80 Modified structure, will be addressed in future articles.

This diagram depicts the CMTC OPFOR MRR structure:


The MRR also receives support from division- and Army-level assets. As stated earlier, type and degree of support depend on training unit organization and METL requirements. As a rule, support may include all or part of the following units:


Battle Command Training Program Opposing Forces

The mission of the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) is to provide tough, realistic, stressful, high-quality command and battle-staff training for division and corps commanders, battle staffs, and major subordinate commanders worldwide. The overarching goal is to enhance the combat proficiency of divisions and corps to execute AirLand Battle doctrine.

Because of the widely differing training requirements of the Army's divisions and corps, the World Class Opposing Forces (WCOPFOR) is capable of portraying a broad variety of threat forces. To fulfill this requirement, the WCOPFOR replicates the troop control process, doctrine, tactics, and force structures of several OPFOR models. These models include forces based on the former Soviet Union, the North Koreans, Central American or Third World forces, and several Southwest Asian threat variants.

Unlike the maneuver Combat Training Centers (CTCs), which focus on the tactical level of war and replicate regimental and smaller OPFORs, BCTP's focus is at the operational and strategic levels. Therefore, the orders of battle and replication of OPFOR models encompass fronts, Army groups, and up to the entire armed forces of a country. Also, unlike the other CTCs, where units fight actual force-on-force battles, BCTP "Warfighter" exercises are computer simulations. This gives the WCOPFOR the ability to exchange OPFOR models quickly and portray these forces on differing types of terrain, based on the training requirements of the division or corps.

Table of Contents
Battle Command Training Program

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