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Division Capstone Exercise (DCX)

The Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff have articulated a clear vision for the future transformed Army. On 1 January 2001, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (4th ID), Fort Hood, Texas, was designated the Army's First Digitized Division (FDD). In 1996, the Army made the decision to take the force into the 21st century, and the mechanism that was chosen for that journey was the Force XXI to be followed by the Army After Next (AAN). The 4th ID was selected as the Force XXI unit and given a series of monikers, one of which was the Experimental Force (EXFOR). Along the way, the unit participated in advanced warfighting experiments (AWEs) at the task force and division levels.

When the 4th ID participated in the EXFOR Army Warfighting Experiment in March 1997, the digital communications packages were installed as appliques on the 1st Brigade's M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Now the division has M1A2 SEP (system enhancement program) tanks and M2A3 SEP Bradleys. The vehicles have the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, or FBCB2, digital command and control systems built in.

The Ironhorse Division's journey as the Army's EXFOR culminated in 2001 when the division completed the second of two successful training events: DCX I and II.

DCX I was the largest rotation ever conducted at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. Almost half of the division, just under 8,000 soldiers -- a ground maneuver brigade, the aviation brigade and the division tactical (DTAC) and division main (DMAIN) command posts -- deployed to the NTC to demonstrate the 4th ID's capabilities. The Army's first digitized division demonstrated what combat forces linked by the internet can bring to the battlefield at the Division Capstone Exercise April 1-14 at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. The "box" in which the 4th ID, the Blue Force, engaged the NTC's opposing force was greatly expanded. That allowed the Blue Force commander to disperse his force over a greater area. Since the commander should know where the enemy is, he can operate with smaller groups over a much greater area, officials said. Being internetted, the groups should be able to mass their fires to greater destructive effect against the OPFOR.

In October of 2001, the division participated in a Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) Warfighter exercise that was dubbed DCX II. DCX II was a normal BCTP Warfighter exercise with a few noteworthy exceptions. Most importantly, the division fought with its assortment of ABCS "tools"-the advanced FA tactical data system (AFATDS), maneuver control system (MCS), all-source analysis system (ASAS), air and missile defense warning system (AMDWS), combat service support computer system (CSSCS) and the tactical airspace integration system (TAIS). Second, the Division fought over the extended battlespace the division is designed for, which is 120 kilometers wide by 200 kilometers deep. Third, the DMAIN and the division support element (DSE), formerly called the division rear (DREAR), were physically located in Brownwood, Texas, more than 100 miles from Fort Hood and the rest of the exercise participants. Finally, DCX II was the first time any unit fought a Warfighter against the newly designed contemporary operational environment (COE) opposing force (OPFOR).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:22:44 Zulu