Monday, April 10, 2017
With the Warfighter exercise now over, I reported to my new job today. Interestingly, the new unit isn't divisionally aligned -- instead, it has a "training assistance" mission. That's not entirely clear, so here's a more in-depth explanation. Before brigades are deployed overseas, they normally go through a "crawl, walk, run" kind of training glide path. They start by training up on tasks (i.e. first aid, marksmanship, and driver licensing) at their home station, and finish with three weeks or so at a national training center (in either Fort Polk, Louisiana, or Fort Irwin, California). It's at the national training center that the brigade is "certified" as mission ready. But packing everything up and shipping out to an NTC is expensive -- how do you know that a brigade is even close to ready, and that they won't be wasting government time and money by going? It sure would be handy if there were some kind of unit that tested brigades before they made the trip. Enter my new unit. Before a brigade leaves there home station, we test brigades in the "walk" phase of their train-up. We bring some "Lazer Tag"-like equipment, work with the mock opposition force, and manage the game that tests the brigade. As a logistics planner, my role in all of this will be to make sure the equipment gets packed up and shipped on time, and -- once I'm on site -- that the allocated money is spent properly. It means that I'll have to do some travelling -- a few weeks at a time -- but compared with the two months I spent in the Philippines last year it won't be nearly as austere.