The US Army’s Training Support Activity Europe provides training support when and where it is needed, even at short notice. James Coon writes.
Training Support at the Point of Need
Training Support Activity Europe (TSAE), an integral part of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC), has the stated mission to identify, acquire, manage and sustain the resources required to support training as directed by the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR). This mission takes place at home station and when units deploy in support of strategic objectives. In April 2014, the 1-503rd Infantry Battalion, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, mobilized in support of Operation Persistent Presence, and TSAE mobilized personnel and assets to support their training requirements. During the period of April 25 - May 5, TSAE deployed two person Training Support Teams (TSTs), on very short notice, to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in order to work with unit leadership to meet training objectives with Training Aids, Devices and Simulators (TADS), targetry and subject matter expertise. "The thing that is different here is the notification timeline," according to Maj. Glenn Tugman, the Deputy Director of TSAE. "We generally spend 8-12 months preparing ourselves to provide support to an exercise. In this case, we had approximately seven days of planning and preparation and then another seven days to deploy personnel with the support assets the unit required. We were able to meet unit requirements and get our personnel on the ground in a very short period of time, which speaks to our flexibility and expeditionary capability." TSAE continues to be a proven training enabler in their support throughout USAREUR and that support has proven to be exportable to the point of need.
Throughout Operation Persistent Presence and the transition to Operation Atlantic Resolve, the TSAE TSTs have supported the development and set up of numerous small arms ranges in the region. Additionally, the TSTs are providing in excess of 350 target lifters, 826 sets of MILES and vehicle tracking systems, 427 TADS and 4,000 targets that are distributed throughout all four countries in support of bilateral training events with U.S. and host nation units. This support has continued with both the initial and follow-on units of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 1st Cavalry Division, and includes working directly with unit leadership to gain an understanding of training objectives and developing evolving training support packages. Tugman also points out, "The feedback we have received so far is that our support has been very successful, in fact, the 173rd was surprised by how quick we arrived on site to support them. The units here in USAREUR see us routinely when they are conducting home station training, but when they pack up and deploy and a week later TSAE personnel show up and are supporting them on site, it was a bit of a surprise." This is a capability that is imbedded within the organization and the mindset of the employees delivering expeditionary training support.
TSAE is postured to support evolving requirements by having a mobile structure that is an integral part of the organization and is specifically designed to provide support outside of standard home station training events. The Expeditionary Training Support Division (ETSD) routinely supports training events in austere locations in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility and is fully capable of supporting the Operation Atlantic Resolve region with personnel and assets on very short notice. As training requirements continue to evolve in the region, ETSD is able to reach back to TSAE headquarters in Grafenwoehr, Germany to acquire additional assets to meet unit needs at each of the TSTs. This capability has allowed unit leadership to develop training plans and events that are far beyond the opportunities that would normally be afforded if they were relying solely on resources available at the local training areas and ranges in each of the four countries.
In an effort to provide units with detailed data on specific capabilities available at ranges and training areas, ETSD recently conducted in-depth site assessments in each of the Baltic countries and Poland. The Assessments focused on the Tapa and Klooga Training Areas in Estonia, the Adazi Training Area in Latvia, the Gaiziunai and Pabrade Training Areas in Lithuania, and the Drawsko Pormorski Training Area in Poland. The intent of the assessments is to develop a reference for each location which details the size and type of unit that can be supported, weapon systems that can be fired, training that can be supported, targetry available, TADS that optimize training and the availability of ammunition holding areas, airfields, and drop zones. These references will be available to incoming units and will provide them with contact information for the TSTs that are on site and prepared to support training. The intent is to assist units in planning their training and providing detailed situational awareness prior to their arrival in country.
As Operation Atlantic Resolve continues into the foreseeable future, TSAE is poised to continue support in the region and expand as geographic locations and unit training requirements dictate. The organization has proven to be more than adaptable throughout the operation and is highly capable of providing tailored support to austere locations for both national and bilateral training events. "Our mission at TSAE is to primarily provide national support, but we also provide support to our NATO allies and multinational partners at bilateral training events. We cover a wide spectrum of support that includes ranges, local training areas, DA photos, Visual Information, TADS and a variety of simulators. We are currently operating in ten countries and providing tailored training support," said Tugman. As Operation Atlantic Resolve continues to evolve TSAE will adjust to unit requirements and provide integrative and adaptive training support at the point of need.