News: MSCoE hosts third annual MEB conference
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Leaders from Army Maneuver Enhancement Brigades across the U.S. gathered at Lincoln Hall April 10-12 to participate in the 2012 MEB Commanders’ Conference, hosted by Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.
Since its activation in 2006, there have been two MEB conferences.
Conference attendees included a wide variety of leaders from within the MEB Community of Practice.
“There were representatives from just about every MEB in the Army,” said Col. Francis “Mick” McCabe, Training and Doctrine Command capabilities manager for maneuver support at MSCoE. “We were even able to secure a video conference with the 648th National Guard MEB currently serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”
There are 21 MEBs in the force; two active component, 16 National Guard and three U.S. Army Reserve.
During opening remarks at the conference, Yenter highlighted the vital role a MEB can play due to its versatile nature.
“The MEB is efficient and effective at what it was created to do,” said Yenter. “It can work for any command, multinational force, Marines, etcetera because of its unique capabilities structured around the Army’s modular concept.”
According to Army doctrine (Field Manual 3-90.31), the MEB is designed to contain a robust headquarters element, a support battalion and a signal company.
“It was designed foremost to control terrain, for protection and assured mobility in all areas not typically assigned to a Brigade Combat Team,” said Joe Crider, TRADOC technical director and capabilities manager.
The first day of the conference, leaders discussed what the MEB has proven to do.
“While the MEB was designed to conduct the support area mission as a “land owning” headquarters with maneuver support capabilities, it is also optimally suited for Defense Support of Civil Authorities missions, like the Chemical, Biological, Nuclear and high yield Explosives Consequence Management Response Force mission that we conducted as Task Force Operations from 2009 to 2011,” said Col. Frank Rangel, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade commander.
“Our training since transferring responsibility for Task Force Operations to the 1st MEB has focused on combat operations,” he said. “Our participation in the III Corps Warfighter in June will evaluate the versatility of a MEB.”
The III Corps Warfighter will be the first exercise to incorporate a MEB into its battlefield simulation, but it is not the first time a MEB will be used in a combat role.
“The 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade assumed battle space owner responsibilities for the four provinces north of Kabul from 2008 to 2009,” said Col. Scott Spellmon, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood chief of staff. “The brigade succeeded in advancing security, governance and development in its area of responsibility largely due to the unique capabilities the MEB headquarters brought to counterinsurgency operations.”
Spellmon commanded the 1st MEB before being assigned to MSCoE.
MSCoE is the proponent for maneuver support and advocate for the Army’s mission-tailored MEB.
“Every MEB that has gone downrange has looked different,” said McCabe. “They were tasked with providing the final base closure during Operation New Dawn, established movement corridors in Afghanistan, and currently have the second largest mission in Kosovo Forces operating at the heart of Kabul.”
“We have 13 MEBs on the patch chart with four more slated to go,” McCabe said.
Part of the conference was dedicated to providing leaders with an on-site review of some of the Army’s deployment-readiness training provided by the three regiments assigned to MSCoE; military police, chemical and engineer.
“Our goal at the Counter Explosive Hazard Center is to ensure that every soldier who could face an IED threat is prepared to mitigate and respond in a fashion that will save lives,” said Lt. Col. Chris Barron, CEHC director. “It is your job to identify the best way to prepare a MEB soldier for future operations and the training we provide is certainly one of the ways you can do that.”
After learning what Fort Leonard Wood can offer MEB Soldiers, the conference concluded with a roundtable discussion by MEB leaders, Forces Command and TRADOC staff, operations/plans officers and academia.
“There’s a lot of discussion about what the Army 2020 is going to look like,” said McCabe. “To speculate what the MEB will look like is premature … bottom line, our vision is one MEB assigned to each active-duty division.”
“Like many leaders out there, we will be watching in great interest later this fall when the Army’s structure becomes fixed,” he said.
“We anticipate great things from our MEB teams,” said McCabe. “The possibilities are endless.”
Date Posted:04.20.2012 12:44
Location:FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO, US
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