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Though the scenario says ?Iraq,? the architecture, terrain and bone-chilling temperatures say ?Bavaria.? But for the Soldiers polishing their skills at the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany, before deploying to Southwest Asia, the European surroundings aren?t a distraction.

?We?re using exactly the same tactics, techniques and procedures here that we?ll use in Iraq,? said a young squad leader as he and his Soldiers prepared to search a house.

?Hot or cold, sand or snow, it makes no difference. We?re here to sharpen up before we go downrange, and CMTC has everything we need to do that.?

A Tradition of Training

Located about 45 miles southeast of Nürnberg, Hohenfels is home to about 5,000 permanently assigned Soldiers, Department of the Army and local national civilians, and family members.

Established by the German army in 1938, it has been a primary training area for Europe-based Soldiers since the early 1950s.

Though in earlier days the installation focused on training Soldiers to face the Soviet threat, things have changed, said LTC Steve Hebert, CMTC?s deputy commander.

?We?re training Soldiers to deal with today?s operational environment,? Hebert said. ?Let?s face it, the Soviet army is gone, and today?s bad guys have different objectives, weapons and tactics. Because of the off-the-shelf technologies that are available today, our current and potential enemies can get their hands on a range of weapons and equipment that just weren?t available a decade ago.

?So when we design our training rotations here at CMTC, we build them around the strategies, operational capabilities and tactics that our enemies are using today,? he said.

In recent years CMTC has trained units bound for such hotspots as Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. That means that the installation?s training audience has also changed.

?It used to be that we just catered to the 1st Armored Division, 1st Infantry Div. and the Southern European Task Force,? Hebert said. ?But now we support all U.S. forces in Europe ? such as aviation, engineer and military police units at the corps and theater level ? as well as all continental U.S.-based units and our multinational and coalition partners.

That might seem like a lot of activity to pack into a training area that?s just 10 kilometers wide by 20 kilometers long, but Hebert said the secret is making the best use of the available space, as well as using outlying training areas and maneuver-coordination areas.

?We pack a lot into 40,000 acres ? a main cantonment area, five MOUT sites, two geographically separated forward operating bases, four extensive cave complexes and a C-130-capable airstrip,? he said. ?We also expand CMTC?s capabilities by locating forces in outlying areas, and then using our electronic ?reach-back? capability to integrate them into the training going on here.?

Moreover, CMTC is leading the Army in planning and executing ?expeditionary? training, which involves deploying personnel and equipment to places such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania to train both U.S. and foreign personnel.

Mission Focused

Like the Grafenwöhr training area some 50 miles to the north, CMTC is a 7th Army Training Command asset. And its mission, Hebert said, is a simple one.

?We exist to provide tough, realistic, battle-focused training across the spectrum of conflict for Army, joint and multinational units,? he said. ?So our focus is on developing adaptive leaders ? that means commanders and their battle staffs ? and on the integration of joint forces with interagency and multinational players.?

One of the ways CMTC enhances the level and quality of the training it offers is by exploiting distributive live, virtual and constructive training capabilities, Hebert said.

?We have long concentrated on live training, but have also added the capability to bring in the entire world of simulation,? he said. ?We?re getting to the point where we can put crews into simulators and have them be part of the same scenario as Soldiers who are training out in the field.?

CMTC builds its success on five ?pillars,? Hebert said.
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