Unified Endeavor prepares U.S., multinational soldiers for ISAF missions and beyond

December 11, 2012

By Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos

German Lt. Col. Lutz Altekrueger, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command joint fires officer-in-charge, and Sgt. 1st Class Sanae Hutchinson, the Alpha Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps IJC joint fires NCO-in-charge, discuss missions in the combined joint operations cell at Exercise Unified Endeavor in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Dec. 4. Unified Endeavor is a multi-tiered command post mission rehearsal exercise, primarily hosted by U.S. Army Europe's Joint Multinational Training Command to train the next headquarters for the International Security Assistance Force. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Wallace)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Just as ground troops must become proficient at weaponry and a myriad of warrior skills and tasks, there is also an expectation that commanders and their staffs master their mission of orchestrating movements on the ground.

More than 1,800 U.S. and multinational Soldiers from more than a dozen European countries are participating in exercise Unified Endeavor from Dec. 5-14 at U.S. Army Europe's Joint Multinational Training Command here. The event trained members of the III Corps headquarters from Fort Hood, Texas for an upcoming deployment with NATO forces.

“Unified Endeavor is a multi-tiered command post mission rehearsal exercise,” said Lt. Col. Joel Brown, chief of operations at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center here. “The exercise trains the headquarters staff, as they prepare to assume roles with the International Security Assistance Forces Joint Command, also known as IJC, in Afghanistan.”

Brown said the realism of Unified Endeavor is enhanced by engaging NATO partners from the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps in Italy; the Joint Warfighting Center in Stavanger, Norway; and the Joint Forces Training Command of Bydgoszcz, Poland. The Joint Coalition Warfighting Command from Suffolk, Va., the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) from Fort Campbell, Ky., the 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command from Fort Hood, Texas; and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, N.C. are also participating in the exercise.

These military elements come from several different countries, speak different languages, and hold different cultural beliefs, but during Unified Endeavor they come together as a team with the common goals of establishing and keeping the standard.

This exercise demonstrates JMTC’s ability to provide key mission command training for coalition personnel and units, Brown said.

“This is an opportunity for the mission participants to partner before deploying,” Brown said. “Whether it is Afghanistan or a Decisive Action Training Environment scenario, we will modify the scenario to meet the commander’s training requirements. We use simulations to stimulate their mission command systems, and replicate intelligence systems. The system reacts to decisions made by the commander and the staff, which become part of the scenario.”

Soldiers working in the Joint Operations Center have an overview of the battlefield. With today’s technology, commands can see in real time much of the micro and macro action as it unfolds in the theater of operation. This capability allows a commander to direct and improve outcomes, making their unit battle ready when the time comes.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.