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    ‘Dagger’ brigade focuses on big three of interoperability

    1-7 FA Conducts Live Fire Training During Dynamic Front 18

    Photo By Sgt. Dustin Biven | A M109A Paladin self-propelled Howitzer assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery...... read more read more

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany-- Field Artillery Soldiers from 1st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, joined participants from 25 other countries to build interoperability by practicing coordinating fires during the Dynamic Front 18 exercise at Granfenwoehr Training Area, Germany, from Feb. 23 to March 10.

    “These exercises are important because they allow us to train the key components of interoperability,” said Col. David Gardner, commander, 2nd ABCT, in a previous interview.

    He highlighted three key components of interoperability he and his units focus on when conducting multinational exercises, “the technical components with our equipment and systems, the procedural component with multi-national layers of command, and the personal component, with the liaison teams that we exchange."

    Participants exercised solutions for the technological component of interoperability in the software systems that command elements use for fire support command and control.

    The software-based program, Artillery Systems Cooperation’s Activities when connected to the fire support command and control systems of countries that subscribe to ASCA, provided a common interface between the different systems and enabled them to communicate and process fire support requests digitally.

    "ASCA works as a filter or intermediary to allow our advanced field artillery tactical display system to talk to our allies," said Maj. Greg Highstrom, brigade fire support officer, 2nd ABCT. "It's very impressive watching numerous countries on one common ground."

    The exercise gave junior Soldiers an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the process.

    "It's been a lot different working with ASCA incorporated into our standard Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, but the ASCA representatives here have helped a lot to iron out the issues, said Spc. Ryan Carrigan, AFATDS operator, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd ABCT.

    “The 10th Panzer are real technical experts, said Highstrom. They had multiple people out here making sure all systems’ parameters were set and all participants' technologies were talking to each other.

    Participants exercised solutions for managing the procedural component of interoperability in the fire mission request and processing, which each country typically handles in its own way.

    In this exercise, for example, French forward observers send a fire support request to the German 10th Panzer Artillery Brigade, which relays it to the 2nd ABCT Tactical Action Center, which relays it to the 1st Bn., 7th Art. Regt. fire direction center, which sends the mission to the firing batteries, said Highstrom.

    Soldiers from 2nd ABCT said their calls-for-fire typically go from the forward observer to the maneuver battalions’ fire support element to the brigade fire support element, which sends it to the artillery battalion’s FDC, which sends the mission to an artillery battery to execute.

    In this exercise, from the vantage of 2nd ABCT, the 10th Panzer Artillery Brigade replaced the maneuver battalion-level fire support element that would normally receive fire support requests from observers. Although this was a change to their standard process on one side of the procedural arc, once the requests reach the brigade fire support element, the process remained the same for the 2nd ABCT's side of the procedural arc, which allowed them to continue to coordinate and provide responsive fires.

    "Once we understand their techniques and procedures, and they understand our techniques and procedures, I think that isolates a lot of the issues and mitigates those friction points," said Highstrom.

    Participating countries addressed the personal component of interoperability, where communication barriers can degrade or delay the process, with a solution that has a personal touch, a warm-blooded liaison to provide context, clarity and assistance wherever needed.

    "We never do this without personally interacting at key levels; we wouldn't be as successful as we have been without the liaison officer in the 10th Panzer TOC, running back and forth to our brigade TAC."

    Talking through differences was essential to the integration of all the different countries into a cohesive fighting force.

    An added benefit was the multinational connections Soldiers made during the training.

    "The friendships we make out here are pretty neat. No one knew each other day one coming into it, now, it’s first name basis,” said Highstrom.

    He found the exercise to be extremely valuable.

    "This is an awesome start and it needs to continue. We need more multinational training events like this,” said Highstrom.

    Dynamic Front is an annual U.S. Army Europe exercise focused on the interoperability of U.S. Army, joint service and allied nation artillery and fire support in a multinational environment, from theater-level headquarters identifying targets, to gun crews pulling lanyards in the field.



    Date Taken: 03.09.2018
    Date Posted: 03.12.2018 12:31
    Story ID: 269034
    Location: GRAFENWOEHR, DE 

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