Specialized teams of U.S. Army Soldiers from 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 448th Civil Affairs Company, and 1270th Tactical Psychological Operations Detachment trained on stability operations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, Jan. 23 to 27, 2022.
Soldiers from civil affairs, PSYOP, public affairs, electronic warfare, legal, and unit ministry teams focused on essential tasks following large-scale combat operations and managing the conflict’s impact on civilians.
“Every team had a role to play in the city, in addition to providing security for ourselves and the civilian population,” said Army Capt. Bergen Nelson, civil affairs officer for 1-2 SBCT. “We worked together to establish relationships with local leaders and find innovative, indigenous solutions to critical vulnerabilities. Non-lethal operations covered a wide range of vital functions to connect the city of Reyalem with simulated humanitarian aid and to reintegrate local governance with Atropian leaders, our allies in the scenario.”
During the exercise, the multifaceted teams would visit the fictional town of “Reyalem, Atropia” and assess simulated damages, civil strife, religious affairs, and monetary compensation, all while being “attacked” by enemy forces, played by NTC roleplayers, still lurking in the area. The purpose of this operation was to stabilize the “consolidation area,” territory behind the frontlines, and to disrupt opposing forces from reestablishing a foothold, so U.S. and allied forces can consolidate their gains on the battlefield and maintain operational momentum against the enemy.
“Stability Task Force made excellent progress toward securing the Ghost Brigade’s rear area, ensuring freedom of maneuver and enabling lethality at the tip of the spear,” said Army Maj. John Burns, the senior civil affairs trainer at NTC.
Soldiers were able to aid the local populace through their areas of expertise. Civil Affairs and PSYOP Soldiers pieced together the puzzle of complex connections between local groups and either friendly or enemy forces, while assessing the effects of war in civilian areas. 1-2 SBCT’s Unit Ministry Teams created relationships with the local residents and spoke frequently to simulated religious leaders in the area. Electronic warfare teams scanned for enemy radio traffic. The 1-2 SBCT’s legal team listened to the civilians’ claims and provided simulated monetary compensation for damages. The brigade public affairs team spoke with the media and assisted Soldiers during interviews.
While each team had a separate role to play, sharing information between teams became vital in understanding the web of stories created by the roleplayers. Overall, the graders during the exercise were happy with the performance of all teams, with one officer mentioning, “I would be happy to deploy with any one of you.”
This stability exercise was part of a larger month-long decisive action training rotation for 1-2 SBCT, the “Ghost Brigade,” held in the vast training areas of NTC in the Mojave Desert. The intensive training focused heavily on large-scale combat operations and aimed to ensure the brigade, which is part of 7th Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, remains ready to deploy, fight and win whenever called upon.