In a dimly lit room with loose cables dangling from the ceiling
fingers could be heard pounding away on keyboards as a group of eyes
are glued to their computer monitors. On one side of the room,
Soldiers run internet searches on land areas while on the other side
digital maps and charts are being built using a secret computer
With the compiled results, the civil affairs
Reservists will use the data to recommend action to active duty
commanders during the exercise. Soldiers with the 418th Civil
Affairs Battalion integrated Civil Affairs
support during War
fighter Exercise 2016 at Fort Carlson, Colorado.
Spc. Aaron Shannon, a civil affairs specialist, and Sgt. Bruce Middleton, a geospatial engineer, both with the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion update information on a sand table during War
Fighter Exercise 16 at Fort Carlson, Colo., Feb. 9, 2016. During exercises sand tables can be used for planning military operations and educational purposes with the intent of replicating geographical locations. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Williams)
The purpose of the training was to not only integrate
with the 4th Infantry Division, but to also provide a
training environment similar to what the unit will encounter
when they deploy to the Horn Of Africa.
exercise will prepare us to support a task force and the
scenarios have been tailored made for our future mission,”
Hallie Carter, a current operations officer with the 418th
Civil Affairs Battalion, said. “What we bring to maneuver
commanders are recommendations on how to deal with the human
dimension of the local environment.”
exercise inside the Fort Carson Mission Training Complex
(MTC), Soldiers built civil information management plans
sending advisory reports to battlefield commanders.
Carter said she was getting invaluable experience during the
training because she was learning how to support a division
level staff that will help commanders reach their long term
goals and mission objectives.
“If we didn't have
this training we could be in danger of running into future
problems. If you send an ill prepared headquarters element
then the unit runs a risk of having to replace Soldiers.”
Besides using wall maps, stacks of report binders,
and a sand table, the Army Reserve Soldiers were given the
opportunity to train on and use a Command Post of The Future
CPOF is a software system, which
allows mission oversight for commanders by using drag and
drop data elements, and hard data.
“There's so much
more stuff to move around on this system because it compiles
detailed information, times, and dates so this definitely
beats using a sand table,” Spc. Jacob Cannon, a CIM cell
analyst with the 418th Civil Affairs Battalion, said.
“Everything is right at our fingertips and it will help
commanders see more things clearly, which will help run
Cannon said commanders are
bombarded most of the time with power point slide shows, but
having a CPOF system helps civil affairs Soldiers to
condense information onto a digital map.
system can also allow users to highlight economic issues and
can be used for city planning for displaced refugees. It's
great to have a lot of the different sections come to me
because this system makes us more valuable,” Cannon said.
Every day of the exercise, the unit chose a
different civil affairs Soldier to assist the 4th ID
response cell using information from their CPOF system.
As recommendations were presented to the combatant
commander, this exercise tested the Army Reserve Soldiers.
“This has been a challenging experience because we
have to understand the needs of a division commander and
enable site key players to do their job,” Carter said.
“Civil Affairs is not us giving away a bunch of stuff, but
helping commanders realize a long term goal. It all has to
be about a coordinated effort to achieve the desired end
Connor said this exercise has definitely
helped the unit prepare for the challenges they may face in
the Horn Of Africa, but he wants the exercise to evolve for
civil affairs soldiers in the future.
“I want to see
more hands on training like combining a Civil Military
Operation Center (CMOC) with CPOF systems and doing key
leader engagement's with role players,” Connor said. “It's
more than just computers, you have to have that face to face
element so you can implement a lot more skill and that helps
us bring more to the table.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Williams
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