FORT RILEY — As current and future enemies attempt to adapt to the Army’s tactics, techniques and procedures down range, counteraction seems to be a critical aspect of the training mission stateside.
Soldiers training at Fort Riley have the advantage of using one of the Army’s first computer-based Mission Training Complexes. The MTC is integrated with other training capabilities that form the digital training campus that opened in June 2009.
The 160,000-square-foot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold-certified building is just one of many resources at Fort Riley’s Regional Training Campus - a major facet in the new Forces Command Regional Collective Training Capability concept. Fort Riley was identified as an RCTC-host installation in July 2011 - one of 27 in the Army - because of its centralized location and efficient training capabilities.
The MTC plays a vital role in the RCTC initiative because it provides an integrated training environment where skills are built with cutting-edge technology in support of the Army Digital Training Strategy - all before a soldier ever sets foot in the field.
“In this era of budget constraints, one of the key efficiencies in training is virtual, constructive and gaming training before doing it live,” said Tim Livsey, director, Fort Riley’s Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
It’s efficient, Livsey said. Soldiers can use the MTC’s many computers, individually or collectively, to set up simulations based on their unit’s training needs. Simulations also can be linked to unit components in widespread locations for large scale training or can be limited to a squad or platoon.
On an individual level, the campus’s Engagement Skills Trainer allows soldiers to qualify with a weapon in an arcade-type system before actually going out on the range. This pre-training, or gated training strategy, allows soldiers to build their skill sets on virtual trainers at a pittance of taxpayer dollars rather than the expense of training on the range with real bullets, Livsey said.
“It’s efficient, saves money, saves time, and the soldier enters the live-training phase at a higher level of training than if he entered at square zero,” Livsey said.
On a collective level, Unified Endeavor 12-01, a three-week joint and combined command post exercise last January, allowed soldiers with the 3rd Infantry, 1st Cavalry and 101st Airborne divisions; contractors, observers, trainers and senior mentors with the Mission Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth; select leadership with the Afghan national security forces; Soldiers with the Polish and French Armies and soldiers with V Corps in Germany to participate in the training event from remote locations in preparation for the “Big Red One’s” Headquarters deployments to Afghanistan in 2012.
Active and Reserve components have used the MTC, as well as ROTC cadets, SWAT teams and other groups in the region, Livsey added.
“By leveraging this technology, you’re not shooting as many bullets and burning as much fuel in the training area,” said Bill Raymann, chief, Training Division, DPTMS.
And not only is the MTC efficient with time and taxpayer dollars, the training is the best in the Army, Livsey said.