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15 Oct 20. Extended training here to stay for infantry and armor soldiers. Despite COVID-19 challenges, the Army continued to put out extended training for its infantry and armor soldiers this past year. Those pilot programs have now been made permanent.

In fiscal 2020, the Army Infantry School either ran or is running a total of 84 classes, producing 7,320 Infantry One Station Unit Training graduates, said Ben Garrett, Maneuver Center of Excellence chief of public affairs.

The pilot training program began in July 2018, extending infantry OSUT from 14 weeks to 22 weeks. Primarily, the program focused on more weapons training, but it also added more physical training, drill and combatives training.

Some of the motivation to amend the program came from a 2017 study of unit leaders that found soldiers arriving at their first assignments physically unfit for duty and undisciplined.

The Armor School was next to adopt the changes, beginning its own pilot OSUT extension in October 2019. Those training changes included extending scout training from 17 to 22 weeks and tanker training from 15 to 22 weeks, said Armor School Brig. Gen. Kevin Admiral, who took command of the post at that time.

They added more training to the gunner skills test, five more days of tactical field training, more live fire time and more time spent on the fundamentals of reconnaissance and security, Admiral told Army Times.

Tankers more than doubled their drive time, from 10 to 15 miles under the old training, to 35 miles of live vehicle driving and 50 miles of driving in a simulator.

“They’re leaving with a learner’s permit,” Admiral said. “Are they experts yet? Absolutely not. But they’re more confident in a tank platoon.”

The Armor School also took some training burden off the units these soldiers are joining. They’re all getting more small arms training, more mounted and dismounted land navigation training as well as combat lifesaver and combative certifications.

Tankers are now training on the M1A2 SEPv2 model of the Army’s main battle tank.

But within the next year, the school’s tankers and mechanics will get their hands on the SEPv3 version, which has modular replacement units, better communications synching between vehicle and handheld radios and can fire advanced multipurpose rounds as well as the M829A4 advanced kinetic energy round.

Under a new force restructuring, the Marine Corps is ditching all of its tanks. Marines formerly trained at the Army’s Armor School. The Army, however, has no plans to get rid of its tanks.

Some new soldiers, who may get a chance to train on that SEPv3, are the more than three dozen Marine Corps reservists who enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard in September. They were originally Marines assigned to Company C, 4th Tank Battalion, which was deactivated in August.

The Army is in contact with the Marine Corps Combat Development Command as how to support Marines, should they need tanks in future combat, according to Admiral.

Both Marine tankers and tank mechanics have transferred to the Army since the deactivation began.

“That offer will stay open as long as possible,” Admiral said. (Source: Defense News)

14 Oct 20. Afghanistan deployment proves One World Terrain is more than a training tool. The U.S. Army began building an entire virtual world a few years ago for its Synthetic Training Environment (STE) to bring accuracy and a real-life feel to training, but a deployment of One World Terrain in Afghanistan has proved it’s not just a training tool, according to Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais, who is in charge of the service’s STE development.

One World Terrain, or OWT, compiles realistic and, in some cases, extremely accurate virtual maps of territory all over the globe. The idea is to be able to click on any place on a virtual globe and go there. Soldiers can then train virtually in an exact environment in which they can expect to operate in reality.

“We’re seeing now there are better uses for operational capability,” Gervais told Defense News in an Oct. 8 interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference. “And it’s helping us inform how do we now expand this to meet training, operational and also targeting requirements.”

It all began with a unit that used OWT for training at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California, and saw value in it, Gervais said. When the unit deployed to Afghanistan, the soldiers asked to take the system — which included a drone and software — she said.

The unit was able to capture terrain for the purpose of mission-planning rehearsal and route planning. But the soldiers also used it to take an in-depth look at the forward-operating base to see how it was set up and analyze it for vulnerabilities.

“I will tell you from that usage, they figured out they had to make some changes,” Gervais said. “And then they went out and they started looking at other operating bases within their area. They expanded it.”

The system “immediately started proving its utility to them,” she said, “but from that unit from what they were able to do, we then were able to take the next unit that was coming in behind them and provide all that information to them and allow them to understand how One World Terrain could be used.”

The Army’s 82nd Airborne Division also used the system prior to deploying to another theater. The division captured the terrain, using it for predeployment planning and mission rehearsals, including how and where to set up a base and where to position electronic warfare systems.

OWT also helped the 25th Infantry Division out of Hawaii prepare for a Joint Training Readiness Center rotation, and its members also plan to use it during the exercise.

These uses have led the Army to provide more drones and software for more units, Gervais said. Starting in December and January, the Army will begin fielding “a little bit more capability,” she added.

In March, the STE team went to Germany to observe an assured position, navigation and timing exercise that included a sensor-to-shooter, live-fire drill. The team worked with the 1st Cavalry Division’s intelligence analysts and put OWT on the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) system, which is an intelligence analysis platform.

“We showed them the capability, and what came out of there was pretty astounding,” Gervais said. With 3D terrain from OWT in the system, decisions could be made more quickly because there was no need to compare two different databases and reason against it, she said. That cut workload by about 60 percent, she added.

OWT was on a DCGS-A system at Project Convergence at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, this year, Gervais said, and it showed the realm of the possible from a targeting perspective.

While the STE had a limited scope during Project Convergence, “we’re going to be more integrated in Project Convergence 21 next year,” she added, so that “everybody’s kind of operating off the 3D terrain.” (Source: Defense News)

15 Oct 20. ADF wraps up Afghan Army training mission. The ADF has decided to conclude its Afghan National Army training support mission in accordance with broader changes to NATO’s strategic priorities, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has revealed.

Australia has officially concluded its contribution to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Qargha, near Kabul.

According to Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, the decision to conclude the ADF’s work at Qargha was made following consultation with the NATO Resolute Support mission and is in accordance with broader adjustments to the Coalition’s strategic priorities.

Australia contributes approximately 150 personnel to the NATO Resolute Support mission, and has ben supporting the Afghan security forces’ efforts to work towards sustained peace throughout the war-torn state.

Minister Reynolds lauded the efforts of ADF personnel, noting they have made a valuable contribution to the future security of Afghanistan.

“Our personnel have been vital to the establishment of national institutions such as the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in October 2013,” Minister Reynolds said.

“The work that the Australian Defence Force has done in training the thousands of officers for the Afghan National Army will have a lasting impact on the security of Afghanistan.”

Earlier this year, Australia delivered a new amenities centre to the academy. The Australian-designed facility provides recreational relief to Afghan security forces training at Qargha during low-tempo intervals in training. The centre’s construction began in February 2019, and was underwritten by Norway through the NATO ANA Trust Fund Organisation. (Source: Defence Connect)

15 Oct 20. Russia, Egypt to Hold ‘Friendship-2020’ Naval Drills in Black Sea. The Russian and Egyptian navies will hold joint drills in the Black Sea until the end of this year, the Black Sea Fleet’s press office reported.

“In Novorossiysk, the delegations of the Russian Navy and the Navy of the Arab Republic of Egypt held a three-day conference on preparing and holding the joint exercise Bridge of Friendship-2020. The main goal of the meeting of the naval sailors from both countries was to work out and approve a plan of the drills that will be held in the Black Sea for the first time,” the press office said in a statement.

During the drills, the warships of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet and the Egyptian Navy will practice measures with the support of aircraft to defend sea lanes against various threats. Under the single scenario, forces will be deployed to organize communications and resupply at sea and the participants in the maneuvers will hold an inspection of suspicious vessels.

Also, the Russian and Egyptian naval sailors will practice measures under the command of the drills’ joint headquarters to organize all types of protection and defense at sea and will carry out missile and artillery firings, employing shipborne weapons, the press office specified.

‘The drills aim to strengthen and develop military cooperation between the Egyptian and Russian Navies in the interests of security and stability at sea, and to exchange experience between the personnel in thwarting various threats in the areas of intensive shipping,” the press office added. (Source: Al Defaiya)

14 Oct 20. 5GAT Drone Ready for First Flight. The Fifth Generation Aerial Target will take its first flight later this month at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, following nearly flawless completion of ground-based testing in September.

After a multi-month delay due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, 5GAT finished a battery of ground test events at Michael Army Airfield on September 18. Executed by an integrated team of Defense Department personnel and contractors, the testing verified complete aircraft control, safety procedures and key performance milestones for takeoff and landing. The single prototype executed 24 taxi test events (15 low-speed and nine high-speed) in just six days, with no interruptions or major problems.

The office of the director, operational test and evaluation sponsors the 5GAT, which is a full-scale, low-observable air vehicle that represents, more accurately than anything else available, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft threats U.S. forces could face. The low-cost drone is designed to enable air-to-air and surface-to-air platform and weapons test and evaluation, pilot and ground-force training, and the development of tactics, techniques and procedures against a fifth-generation threat.

“To determine whether a system really is combat-credible, we must test it under realistic conditions. That includes putting it up against a realistic threat,” Robert Behler, the director, operational test and evaluation said. “Right now, we lack a test platform that truly represents fifth-generation air capabilities. Filling that gap as soon as possible is absolutely essential to both testing and training.”

Sierra Technical Services, the prime contractor, has taken an innovative approach to building 5GAT, constructing the airframe from composites using soft tooling to reduce cost. The subcontractor, Fast Optimal Engineering, designed major subsystem solutions, including flight control actuation, electrical power, hydraulics, landing gear and steering. The subcontractor, 5D Systems, was responsible for developing the unmanned 5GAT’s complex suite of software. 5GAT utilizes engines and other elements harvested from decommissioned DOD military aircraft, as well as an existing U.S. Army ground-based aircraft control system.

“With 5GAT, we’ve reinvented the typical acquisition process, and have aggressively used innovative program management and contracting processes to accelerate new capability development and ensure cost savings,” Michael Crisp, a retired naval aviator and DOT&E’s deputy director for air warfare said. “We pulled in expertise from ‘greybeards,’ both industry and military, and the vision of our next generation of pilots, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets. We gave STS the freedom to explore cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques, and got an even bigger bang for the taxpayer buck by recycling government-owned assets.”

Flight testing will begin in late October. Initial flight test objectives include demonstrating 5GAT flight characteristics, various subsystems’ performance and the aircraft’s auto-takeoff and auto-landing functionality. Subsequent flight tests will progressively expand the aircraft’s flight envelope in altitude, speed and greater G-force loading.

“When this unique prototype takes to the air in a few days, we will have gone from a basic concept to first flight in less than three-and-a-half years. That includes periods when the program slowed dramatically due to funding issues and the recent COVID-related delays,” Crisp said. “I think 5GAT shows the power, creativity and flexibility that a small but diverse team with few constraints can produce — all to the benefit of the warfighter.”  (Source: US DoD)

13 Oct 20. US Army conducts first-of-its-kind exercise for tactical information warfare unit. The U.S. Army’s new tactical information warfare unit conducted its first training exercise specifically dedicated to maturing the formation’s concepts and tactics.

The 915th Cyber Warfare Battalion was officially created by Army Cyber Command in 2019. It consists of 12 expeditionary cyber and electromagnetic (CEMA) teams (ECT) that are solely meant to support brigade combat teams or other tactical formations with cyber, electronic warfare and information operations capabilities.

These “fly away” teams, as some officials call them, would help plan tactical cyber operations for commanders in theater and unilaterally conduct missions in coordination with deployed forces.

Expeditionary CEMA Team 1, or ECT-01 participated in the training event that took place in early October at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana. The sprawling facility provides a robust digital training environment equipped with infrastructure that can be manipulated in the cyber realm without damaging actual operational systems used by the military or civilians.

While this unit and its predecessor through the CEMA Support to Corps and Below pilot at Fort Irwin, California, previously augmented brigades during training events at the National Training Center, the ECTs were not the primary training unit. They were there solely to augment the brigade that was training.

“Priority one is the ECT’s training proficiency and having a scenario constructed around them as a training audience.” Lt. Col. Matthew Davis, commander of the 915th, said in a news release. “The second purpose is to develop a training plan for how we are going to train ECTs as we build them. This is our first ECT and there are 11 more to come. So how are we going to train them? We have a draft, a beta, and this is a pilot run of the beta to figure out: Have we established the right task, condition, and standards, training objectives, and is this the right training plan?”

The event at Muscatatuck was the first opportunity for the ECT to serve as the primary training audience working to refine tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as concepts and gunnery tables for future certification exercises.

“We have not ever before performed a collective training validation/assessment or figured out what that needs to look like that we need to put an ECT through before we send them off to support another unit,” Capt. Richard Grue, assistant S3 for the 915th Cyber Warfare Battalion, told C4ISRNET in an Oct. 12 interview.

“This type of event would precede deploying teams to a [combat training center rotation] because the problems that we run into when we go train a CTC is that we are not the training audience — it’s the maneuver unit. This provided the opportunity to focus training specifically on the ECT,” Grue added.

The event was primarily focused on the technical aspects of training for the ECTs such as on-net operations. Grue said there was no physical or technical opposing force.

Despite the cyber moniker, these units must not only be proficient in the technical realm but also be able to maneuver with the units they support. This means being able to keep up in formation and avoid being compromised when marching on a particular objective.

Though ECTs previously did this at Fort Irwin in support of brigades conducting a training rotation, this type of physical-specific training for the ECTs is something that is slated down the road, Grue said.

The ECTs will also have to be fully cognizant of the totality of the information environment, as senior leaders call it. This includes the internet as well as other mediums such as social media and traditional media.

Grue said these teams must not only be capable of conducting tactical cyber operations as a standalone capability, but must conduct operations in and through the entire information environment.

Part of the exercise tested concepts and operations within this environment using a simulated internet.

The teams tied together publicly available information via social media to inform operations in both the physical and virtual environments at Muscatatuck, which included targets’ workstations, servers used to push propaganda, and physical recruiting meetings, Amanda Lockwood, solutions architect at IDS International, told C4ISRNET in an Oct. 12 interview.

IDS International provided its Social Media Environment and Internet Replication product for the exercise. It provides a simulated social media and internet environment that includes virtual machines. The virtual machines allow participants and simulated users to send and receive emails as well as surf fake websites that include malicious links that infect the entire network.

Units supporting the ECT could use this open social media environment to conduct surveillance of a potential target. Lockwood explained that in one scenario, forces examined the public social media account and website of a human rights group that was acting as a front for a terrorist group to find addresses and locations of key members.

Machines that could be attacked were also part of the virtual environment, allowing the ECT to perform cyber operations and use the larger environment for information purposes, Grue said.

In another drill, the ECT identified a house with a virtual machine inside as significant to the team’s objective. As part of the robust environment at Muscatatuck, this house was equipped with devices on the Internet of Things, with physical and virtual machines run wirelessly or connected directly to a network. Using publicly available open-source tools, the team was able to target the identified system in the house and gain information to enable more physical operations, Lockwood said.

Teams have previously demonstrated the ability to conduct over-the-air operations, targeting Wi-Fi nodes and gain access to closed-circuit television feeds to allow greater intelligence value for commanders planning urban operations. Due to the sensitivities involved, Grue declined to offer specifics regarding the capabilities and equipment the teams were using.

The teams will eventually be outfitted with tactical cyber equipment including the C4ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards man-packable chassis, as well as Modular Open Radio Frequency Architecture-compatible radio heads. These will allow team members to plug into brigade organic assets to leverage their capabilities.

There are no prototypes for this system planned, according to Mark Adams, the vice president and general manager of wireless solutions for L3Harris Technologies. The system’s contractor told C4ISRNET via email that the company expects to deliver initial units in mid-2021. He also said the firm is regularly engaged with units for feedback.

As the Army will build 11 more ECTs, feedback and lessons learned from this first-of-its-kind event were “priceless,” Maj. Marlene Harshman, 915th senior enlisted leader, said in an Army release.

“The lessons learned from the [field exercise] will build on our current and future capacity. We have to constantly focus on the future and adapt to make expeditionary cyber better, with every operation and every lesson learned,” she said. “[Muscatatuck] provided that dynamic environment for us to learn and grow as a team. That was critical in this first-ever event where the entire ECT was exercised.”

Grue noted that Muscatatuck is probably the best area for this type of training. As such, he noted one of his biggest takeaways from the event was that the service needs a very robust team and environment for training to be effective, given all an ECT does.

“There really needs to be a robust exercise support cell in order to create an environment or create a scenario that trains everybody from the fires operators to the electronic warfare practitioners. It’s a very robust team that has to come together to make an event successful and valuable for the ECT,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)

13 Oct 20. Deployment demands, training requirements to be reduced, Army leaders announce. The Army secretary started this year’s Association of the United States Army with a bang, announcing the service will be reducing the demands of rotational deployments and decreasing requirements for brigade- and battalion-level training.

Events over the past year have taxed the force, including a rapid deployment of paratroopers and air defense artillery to the Middle East during tensions with Iran, an unprecedented global pandemic and nationwide racial justice protests that led to the mobilization of thousands of Army National Guardsmen.

That’s on top of the regular rotations of brigade combat teams to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as training exercises within the United States.

“The first step we are taking is giving time back to unit commanders to invest in their people,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said during the AUSA conference’s opening ceremony Tuesday. “We are removing gated training requirements and reducing the demands of rotational deployments.”

“We will focus our training on the basics of individual, squad, platoon and company-level training and key leader training while reducing the requirement to conduct brigade and battalion live-fire exercises,” McCarthy added. “We will pursue options for brigade combat training centers that are a mix of in-the-box organic battalions, command post exercises and heavy-light rotations.”

The efforts are intended to give more time back to units so leaders can invest in their soldiers and families, according to McCarthy. The changes were also alluded to by Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville during an interview with Army Times last week.

Air defense artillery units and armored brigades, in particular, are frequently tapped for deployments, he said. But the concern extends to the rest of the Army as well.

“I am concerned about the Army’s ops tempo as a whole,” McConville said. “For the last 19 years, the Army has been heavily, heavily deployed. And even more recently, with our air defense units, our requirements around the world and particularly in the Middle East have really upped their ops tempo.”

That being said, there’s no intent to reduce combat training center rotations for units, McConville explained during a telephone call following McCarthy’s comments at the AUSA conference.

“That’s not what we’re discussing,” McConville added. “What we’re discussing is what the prerequisites are to actually go to a combat training center and how they fit into the rotational model.”

Army leaders decided on the changes after they “took a closer look” at Army formations over the past few months, McCarthy said in his AUSA comments. “Global deterrence,” he noted, “has come at a cost.”

“Just as we did with readiness, we must invest in people,” he added, while framing the focus on readiness over the past few years as having been necessary to set the stage for this next phase.

“Now we can shift to maintaining the right levels of readiness and focus on emergent threats,” McCarthy said. “Building from the momentum of the last three years, we must seek balance of readiness with our other ambitions.”

Those other ambitions include modernizing the Army into a force that can prevail against peer-adversaries on battlefields of the future, which “will be chaotic, violent, saturated with social media, yet degraded in communications,” McCarthy said.

The goal is to build an Army capable of fighting in dispersed formations. That requires new equipment, some of which will begin arriving to tactical formations in 2022, as well as new doctrine, leadership styles and even, possibly, unit reorganizations.

Easing off some training requirements and rotational deployments will give the service the breathing room it needs to reshape itself in the coming years, according to service leadership. (Source: Army Times)

13 Oct 20. US Army’s SFAB Trainers Go Head To Head With Chinese in Asia, Africa. Col. Curtis Taylor acknowledged that in the Indo-Pacific, “it’s clear that we are in competition with China in every country that we’re going to.”

Leaders of the Army’s effort to spread small training teams across the globe expect their troops to compete directly with Chinese military trainers.

Speaking with reporters by phone this morning, commander of the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, Col. Curtis Taylor, acknowledged that  in the Indo- Pacific, “it’s clear that we are in competition with China in every country that we’re going to.”

It’s a fundamental competition for influence and presence, and one that’s expected to dominate US strategic thinking for years, if not decades.

“There is a concerted effort to build mil-to-mil relationships between many of the partners we work with and the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Taylor said. “We acknowledge that it’s a natural part of operating in that region.”

Taylor sent the first 60 soldiers to Thailand in August to begin working with the military there, as the Pentagon looks to build partnerships from the tactical level on up with militaries in the region. Thailand, of course, is one of the major non-NATO allies in the Pacific.

The Army doesn’t want to stomp a big boot down in the countries it visits, a problem the US has had in the past where it tries to do too much, too fast. Taylor said having US advisors in any given country “does not mean we’re demanding that everyone we work with make a choice of us over other neighbors. We recognize that our partners out there, they’re not going to change their neighborhood, and so they have to work with a number of different partners.”

Members of the other SFABs deployed to Columbia,  Somalia and Djibouti in recent months. Columbia saw one of the larger deployments, with a company-sized adviser team setting up ship this summer to assist with intelligence and information sharing in the continuing fight against drug cartels and rebel groups. Another team is scheduled to deploy to Honduras over the winter.

Elsewhere, 12-man teams have set up shop in Somalia and Djibouti, “and then we’ve also had one of our battalion-level teams with about 40 soldiers that’s been working in Tunisia,” added 1st SFAB commander, Col. Thomas Hough.

Overall, the 1st SFAB from Fort Benning is deploying troops to Central and South America; the 2nd SFAB from Fort Bragg deploys to Africa; the 3rd SFAB from Fort Hood sends troops to the Middle East; while the the 4th SFAB from Fort Carson focuses its efforts on Europe. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)

12 Oct 20. How two-man US Army crews in Oceania will shape Defender Pacific 2021. As the coronavirus pandemic began to ravage the globe, U.S. Army Pacific created Task Force Oceania, an effort to deploy two-person teams to island nations in the region to build relationships there.

“We wanted to figure out a way to bring forces, small forces, into the Pacific Island chains in Oceania that would meet the needs of those nations and be able to engage where, in some cases, there’s a military, in some cases there is not,” Col. Jay Bartholomees, who is in charge of training and resources at USARPAC, told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

The 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade commander has taken the lead on the effort and has started to send teams — consisting of a civil affairs officer and a noncommissioned officer from that region — to several island nations, with Palau being one of the first.

Most islands have strict precautions in place to be admitted into the population during the pandemic, Bartholomees said. To get teams out to their assigned locations, they were subjected to numerous COVID-19 tests and spent weeks in quarantine on their tiny assigned islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean before being induced into the population.

“They serve to be invaluable in connecting all the way up with the ambassador level, working with the whole of government, working through any of the key concerns that they have in potential civil affairs projects that can be supported in the region,” Bartholomees said.

In Palau, for example, the U.S. military helped build an airstrip and landed a C-130 as part of Defender Pacific 2020, an exercise designed to put the Army’s new operating concept to the test at a large scale. Yet, that exercise was scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The effort had immediate impact on the island, Bartholomees said, and “they served as a conduit with other joint forces as well as within the government to work in there.”

The teams, once all are in place, are expected to stay on the ground through Defender Pacific 2021 next summer.

“We’re trying to have that long lead very similar to Pacific Pathways that we had previously where we would engage in a region and push units through a series of bilateral exercises and remain in place and engaged in mil-to-mil,” Bartholomees said.

“This is a better fit design, similar to the [Security Force Assistance Brigade] SFAB, but even probably more precise in terms of small teams operating and working with host nation governance as well as with mil-to-mil where appropriate in order to support our national security policy in the region,” he added.

Defender Pacific 2020 included the Army’s first SFAB in the region — while it is the fifth SFAB to stand up out of the five planned for the active force. The unit deployed in small teams to Thailand and Indonesia all while working through coronavirus concerns and related restrictions.

Other bilateral exercises had to be scaled back as well as Pacific Pathways exercises.

Defender Pacific this year also highlighted the Army’s relationship with Guam and Palau. “We did multidomain operations and projected power into Palau onto the island of Angaur,” Bartholomees said. “We worked with the Marines and the Air Force to build, to refurbish an old World War II landing strip, landed a C-130 with a security force and then worked through multidomain operations using Army watercraft, so air and sea infiltration,” he added.

The Army also conducted a joint forcible entry operation in the north Pacific by departing out of Alaska and pushing one of the Army’s expeditionary strike packages out of Joint Base Lewis McChord, in Washington State, onto the island of Shemya in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands.

“It required some stretching in terms of joint force interoperability to air-land the force in there and establish positions,” Bartholomees said.

While the exercise had to be adjusted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bartholomees said, it did sustain its complexity.

Defender Pacific 2021 will test the Army’s strategic deployment across all three components, particularly its joint logistics ability to project forces into the region, which was also tested in 2020. The scope and scale will increase next year, Bartholomees said, adding roughly 10 to 18 countries would likely participate, but he noted it is too early to say which countries would be involved in the exercise. (Source: Defense News)


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