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Army October 11, 2012
Coalition a training first
Combat training staff break new ground preparing troops to take command in Uruzgan, Sgt Andrew Hetherington reports.
THE Combat Training Centre
(CTC) Battle Command
designed and delivered the
replicated training envi-
ronment for the Combined Team
Uruzgan 4 mission rehearsal activity
CO Lt-Col Stephen Jenkins said
the planning for the two-week training
activity began in April.
"In May we accompanied the 1 Bde
Commander, incoming Commander of
CTU and CO of the 7RAR Task Group
developed the content of the MRA in
conjunction with the HQ of 1 Bde and
1 Div and the commanders of the two
The purpose of the MRA was to pro-
vide the final collective training event
for CTU 4 combined staff and an ena-
bling activity for the 7RAR Task Group
HQ before they conducted their mission
rehearsal exercise at Cultana, South
Australia, in September and October.
The two-week command post-based
activity replicated the operational envi-
ronment the CTU 4
and run methodology. During the crawl
phase we introduced the contemporary
operating environment to personnel and
provided subject matter experts to give
them overviews and provide context to
the scenarios," Lt-Col Jenkins said.
"The walk phase introduced person-
nel to the processes and procedures they
will operate under in Afghanistan and
to allow them to build the relationships
they'll need when they deploy.
"The run phase tested and stressed
the processes and procedures person-
nel were taught, putting them under
Australian and US CTU personnel have
completed an activity together before
deploying to Afghanistan.
"Having the 2nd Brigade, 3rd
Infantry Division here, which is the US
component of CTU 4, was a significant
enhancement for the activity, allowing
us to prepare a full CTU together for the
first time," Lt-Col Jenkins said.
"Previously we would bring in US
personnel from other units to augment
and role-play these positions.
"Having them together has sig-
nificantly enhanced the activity and
as was the use of virtual unmanned aer-
ial vehicles, such as Heron and Shadow,
to support CTU intelligence, surveil-
lance and reconnaissance requirements,"
Lt-Col Jenkins said.
These hi-tech training tools are simi-
lar to what advanced first-person shooter
computer games provide players, but
CTC has more control with what exer-
cise participants can see from a combat
"We also had the ability to replicate
the in-theatre information systems and
we sourced real-time vision, informa-
tion and story boards from live CTU 3
deployment events and could brief the
activity participants as they occurred,"
Lt-Col Jenkins said.
Personnel were put through a routine
of Afghan shuras (meetings), working
groups, staff interactions, hospitality and
"We employ a combination of two
types of role players, some are serv-
ing personnel who have returned from
Afghanistan, with some of them being
linguists who speak Dari or Pashtu,"
Lt-Col Jenkins said.
"At different times during the activ-
ity we brought in Afghans, dressed in
traditional clothing, exposing partici-
pants to Afghan culture and food."
After the successful completion of
the MRA, 1 Bde and l Div HQs certi-
fied the CTU 4 and 7RAR Task Group's
performance based upon the directed
mission-essential tasks given from HQ
"Throughout the activity,
Commander 1 Bde had a number of his
COs participating as the brigade certifi-
cation team," Lt-Col Jenkins said.
tough battle PT
session at Robe
Photo by LS Andrew D
on an in-theatre reconnaissance to Tarin
K t," Lt-Col Jenkins said.
"Based on the information we
gathered from the reconnaissance we
pressure for the last time before their
The CTU 4 MRA
was also the first
enabled the evolution of staff inte
tions within the unit, which on pr
CTU missions had to be develope
The scenarios the CTU 4 and
Task Group personnel faced were
on recent combat event
in contact an
IED strikes, troops in
contact and insider-threat
events were used as were
virtual unmanned aerial
vehicles to support CTU
-- Lt-Col Stephen Jenkins, CO CTU 4
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