Mission Rehearsal Exercises ( MRE / MRX )
Deployments to Army combat training centers (CTC) provide soldiers with the best training in the world. Periodic rotations at these first-class facilities hone essential warfighting skills. At the National Training Center in California, the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, and the Combined Maneuver Training Center in Germany, units conduct prolonged operations against a highly skilled opposing force and are observed by a professional cadre fully versed in the latest doctrine. Units complete these rotations at their highest levels of readiness, and are provided a comprehensive assessment to guide their future training.
The superior training environment of the CTC helps the Army manage the challenge of training units for nontraditional missions such as the stability operations in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Training for these missions generally occurs on an arduous timeline compressed by the requirements of other readiness training, shipping essential equipment, and in-country familiarization. The combat training centers provide an ideal setting for replicating the conditions of any mission. Units deploy to a CTC to conduct a mission rehearsal exercise at the end of their home station preparation. The mission rehearsal exercise provides all the benefits of a traditional CTC rotation tailored to the specific mission requirements, and is an efficient mechanism for ensuring that units learn the lessons of units previously deployed.
The Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE), sometimes called Mission Readiness Exercise, is an equivalent to the FTX but is normally accomplished as part of a battalion's train-up to the performance of a SASO mission. MRE training is conducted by the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Ft Polk, Louisiana and is augmented by a Battlefield Command Training Program (BCTP) team from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The JRTC operations group focuses on training the battalion, while the BCTP team is focused on training the battalion's leaders and staff. Training is focused on peace keeping operations and activities and includes training in such areas as deployment and re-deployment actions, rehearsal and execution of contingency plans and staff battle drills, establishment and refinement of staff activities (e.g.. battle rhythm), and reporting procedures and processes.
Due to the brevity of the MRE, personnel shortages, and other conflicting requirements the battalion's staff may be unable to train as a complete element. Due to these circumstances, the division commander will augment his staff training with advanced Decision-Making Exercises (DME). The DME, under the direction of a BCTP team, is focused on the battalion commander and staff and the problem-solving/resolution process encountered in a SASO environment. The battalion uses Political Military Civil Seminars to augment/build on MRE staff training. This form of training includes the infusion of SME personnel from various disciplines and/or agencies such as ambassadors, ex-political officials, former military commanders, security and international law enforcement personnel, and United Nations and State Department personnel.
A part of the Warrior Preparation Center's support to EUCOM's warfighting forces is preparing battle staffs for real operations through Mission Rehearsal Exercises. MRE's as they are referred to, have been conducted at the WPC since 1995, when it first trained the Commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe and his staff on their possible deployment to Bosnia. Other examples of Center-supported MRE's include Nimble Lion in 1998, the Air Force rehearsal and plan validation for possible operations in Kosovo; Mountain Hawk in 1999 which was V Corps' training exercise for Task Force Hawk's possible deployment to support operations in Kosovo; WPC planned the exercise in 5 days and executed in 2 days. Kosovo Forces (KFOR-4 in 2000 and KFOR-5 in 2001) demonstrated the ability of the Center to facilitate the training of Commands that were gearing up for leadership roles in the fourth and fifth rotations of the Kosovo peacekeeping forces.
Soldiers of the Southern European Task Force and other members of the future Combined Joint Task Force-76, trained for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan during a January 2005 mission rehearsal exercise at the 7th Army Training Command's Expeditionary Training Center. The mission rehearsal exercise, Unified Endeavor, involved soldiers from numerous organizations from around the U.S. military, including reserve units, and NATO partners. These soldiers had been in training for the past year now and they are being well led by our NCOs, veterans themselves.
The training simulation is provided to the Southern European Task Force in a partnership between the 7th Army Training Command, U.S. Army Europe units, and the Joint Forces Command; and that partnership together is providing the simulation architecture for the exercise. Unified Endeavor is just one of the many recent mission rehearsal exercises Joint Forces Command has been involved in," said Tony Billings, spokesperson, US Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, VA. U.S. Joint Forces Command is really a support organization. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from those joint organizations they go out to train are really the deciding factor as to whether or not these things are successful.
The mission rehearsal exercise prepares the task force headquarters staff for the responsibility of the mission in Afghanistan. The objective is to make the mission rehearsal exercise as realistic as the actual situation, and thereby, we create a seamless transition from one command to the next. Southern European Task Force relies on many resources to train for a seamless transition. Southern European Task Force is not a divisional unit. It's a two-star headquarters comprised from units around the Army. Collectively these parts along with servicemembers from other branches of the U.S. Military and other NATO personnel form Combined Joint Task Force-76, said Savusa.
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