Over a two-week period, U.S. Central Command service members and civilians, along with military forces from over 20 other nations, challenged multiple U.S. and Jordanian military organizations’ ability to respond to simulated tactical situations during exercise Eager Lion 2017.
The higher command, which is the simulated headquarters element responsible for monitoring responses of participating units, helped prepare USCENTCOM component commands and their partners for real-world operations.
U.S. Army Central filled key positions identified during the initial planning conferences. The service members working at the higher command have nearly 100 combined years of experience in fields like logistics, psychological operations, medical operations, information technology, and public affairs.
“My role here is to create an exercise that stimulates both the Coalition Forces Land Component Command and the Combined Joint Task Force,” said U.S. Army Maj. Lance Hublick, USARCENT psychological operations officer. “The goal is to have the injects go through CJTF and to the CFLCC for answers and or products.”
Scenarios, or injects, are based on a master scenario events lists which help stimulate the training audience to conduct an action based on storylines. Each staff section at the higher command, such as information operations, legal, and sustainment, creates situations to train the subordinate staffs in their area of expertise. Injects are received multiple ways to include by phone, email and face-to-face. Every inject is linked to a training objective, all of which are loaded into the Joint Training Information Management System, which helps exercise designers plan for and execute the exercise.
“Our unit tasked us to be the subject matter experts in troubleshooting and maintaining military computer systems and operations for this exercise,” said Pfc. Jordan Sharpe, information technology specialist, 228th Signal Company, 54th Signal Battalion,160th Signal Brigade. “We deal with hardware or software issues that can come up at the most inconvenient time.”
Exercise participants at the component command level heavily depend on technology to execute Eager Lion. This requires service members who are able to maintain the systems that allow coalition forces to exercise their wartime mission.
“My mission is to send injects to the CJTF and CFLCC which will help them work through medical real-world and training issues,” said U.S. Army Capt. Esther “Nicole” Cleggs-Burns, 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support), medical plans and operations officer. “By doing things like developing a continuity book, one can ensure that future planners understand the construct of the exercise.”
It took nine months of preparation and planning to develop the format for the exercise. As the final scenario plays out, many expressed gratitude for being exposed to different cultures and other nations.
“I learned a lot over these past two weeks of training and life here afterwards will be a breeze,” said Pfc. James Hargraves, information technology specialist, 228th Signal Company, 54th Signal Battalion,160th Signal Brigade. “Since I just graduated from advance individual training and got assigned to the unit in Kuwait, this exercise has helped me gain a better understanding of the hard work it takes to build and keep a coalition.”
Eager Lion 2017 is an annual U.S. Central Command exercise in Jordan designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships between the U.S., Jordan and other international partners. This year’s iteration is comprised of about 7,200 military personnel from more than 20 nations that will respond to scenarios involving border security, command and control, cyber defense and battlespace management.