116th IBCT Staff prepares for Fort Leavenworth Warfighter Exercise

Nearly 200 Soldiers from the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat team board C-130s May 12, 2014, headed to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. where the Soldiers will participate in a warfighter exercise. The Soldiers departed for the two-week exercise from the Shenandoah Regional Airport in Weyers Cave, Va. and were assisted by members of the Virginia National Guard’s Movement Control Team, a logistics team that assists in the movement of deploying troops and equipment. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Nearly 200 Soldiers from the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat team board C-130s May 12, 2014, headed to Fort Leavenworth, Kan. where the Soldiers will participate in a warfighter exercise. The Soldiers departed for the two-week exercise from the Shenandoah Regional Airport in Weyers Cave, Va. and were assisted by members of the Virginia National Guard’s Movement Control Team, a logistics team that assists in the movement of deploying troops and equipment. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

STAUNTON, Va. – The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s staff conducted final preparations during April and May to support the New York National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division warfighter exercise at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.,May 14-28, 2014.

“The purpose of the exercise is to provide a maneuver element to support the 42nd Infantry Division as part of their division Warfighter,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Samulski, executive officer of the 116th IBCT. “Our goal is to allow the staff to function cohesively for any possible future missions or deployments.”

The Warfighter Exercise simulates a combat environment through a computer simulation. It is designed to test the brigade staff on the military decision making process. The result will bring the staff together into a cohesive group for its mission command capabilities. The exercise is just one part of an incremental readiness process in the brigade’s readiness cycle in the Army Force Generation model. The next step for the staff is to participate in a potential future full scale realistic exercise with actual maneuver units.

For the brigade staff, preparation for the mission began in October with the start of the military decision making process. MDMP is a planning methodology that integrates the activities of the commander, staff, subordinate headquarters, and other partners to understand the situation and mission; develop and compare courses of action. This process helps commanders, staffs, and others think critically and creatively while planning.

During April’s drill the staff participated in a mini warfighter exercise using Azerbaijan’s terrain set against a fictitious enemy. The purpose of the mini exercise was to test communications systems with the 42nd ID and become familiar with exercise products that were developed through the MDMP.

Outside of the combat simulation, the Warfighter is a logistics exercise that has its own set of challenges for logistics planners. Brigade planners have coordinated for transportation with the Air National Guard to transport troops and equipment through a military airlift. Soldiers have been busy packing up their equipment needed for the exercise at Fort Leavenworth.

This Warfighter is one of the first rotations to incorporate the active duty, Army Reserves and National Guard units from multiple states.

The Mission Training Complex in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. is an all-inclusive training facility that is able support division level warfighters. It is able to support unit’s needs for networking and power. It has 60,000 square feet of indoor training spaces designed specifically for warfighting exercises.

Story by Maj. Matt Nowak, 116th IBCT Public Affairs