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    Modern capabilities, resurrected and refined tactics: How Army Reserve combat support units train to counter UAS at CSTX

    Decoy Tactical Operations Center: How Army Reserve combat support units train to counter UAS at CSTX

    Photo By Spc. Britton Spencer | Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 801st Engineer Company, the 157th Combat...... read more read more

    FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    06.11.2024

    Story by Spc. Britton Spencer 

    Exercise News Day

    FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif.-- With national threats escalating worldwide, Army Reserve Soldiers must be prepared to deploy on today’s modern battlefield, which has proven the utility of unmanned aircraft system capabilities in military surveillance and intelligence collection.

    The Army Reserve integrated training to counter modern adversary drones in Combat Support Training Exercise 24-01, conducted during the first two weeks of June 2024, at Fort Hunter Liggett, California.

    The 91st Training Division’s instructors utilize UASs to provide troops with realistic training that is authentic to modern combat scenarios observed in Ukraine and other conflicts.

    “Many of the things we are looking at are composition and disposition at our training sites, as well as how our units are situated out there, what resources they have, water and fuel,” said Army Reserve Lt. Col. Vince Frausto, Branch Chief of Operational Effects for the 91st Training Division Headquarters Company. “We can also monitor, with the UASs, vehicle movements as well as staging areas you can use.”

    Soldiers on the ground are trained to identify drones and report them to their command chains.

    “The troops are taking steps that are aligned with our doctrine,” Frausto continued, “from dispersion to dislocation as well as using the natural terrain to conceal and camouflage where they are and where their resources are located.”

    Soldiers assigned to the 801st Engineer Company and the 157th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, under direction from Col. David Acosta, Commander of 2nd Brigade, 91st Training Division, constructed decoy tactical operation centers across CSTX training areas to frustrate opposition force drone intelligence collection.

    “The idea behind making this structure is that in the current operational environment we find ourselves in, there are so many sensors out there looking for targets,” said Acosta. “You see this particularly in Ukraine, but also in other conflicts, and so, by being able to conceal one’s true command post, you’re enhancing the survivability of the force.”

    Decoy construction is a recurring tactic in warfare. U.S. and British Soldiers constructed decoy equipment and vehicles to confuse the Axis Powers in Europe during World War II.

    “This kind of operation, using decoys, has been seen throughout history, the most common example people think of is during World War II. There are pictures of inflatable tanks,” said Acosta. “The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops known as the ‘Ghost Army’ operated throughout the European theater of operations before the D-Day landings in 1944 to great success in confusing the Germans about the true intent of allied operations on the Western Front.”

    This resurrected form of intelligence denial makes it extremely difficult for an adversary to assess U.S. troop numbers and assets accurately.

    The decoy structures can be quickly assembled with recycled materials and can be difficult to distinguish from real tactical operation centers.

    “These [structures] can be created at relatively low cost, few resources, but with huge dividends in terms of being able to continue the fight,” said Acosta.

    One decoy structure was constructed out of materials from a used, inoperable tactical operation center, netting, a chair scavenged from trash, and a broken commercial television antenna painted to resemble a military communication system. Soldiers contributed empty food boxes weighed down by rocks to create the illusion of an active presence in the area.

    “Having something that looks and smells like the real thing…if you confuse an adversary’s surveillance,” Acosta continued, “you’ve effectively bought yourself a few extra minutes on the current battlefield.”

    To further increase realism, instructors rigged some of the UASs to drop weight-filled tennis balls, representative of explosives, near Soldiers The Soldiers found within the radius of the simulated explosives became casualties within the scenario.

    “We’ve seen a lot of this in the real world, some of it posted on social media sites, with what’s occurring overseas, for example, in Ukraine, so we wanted to add that level of realism,” said Frausto.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.11.2024
    Date Posted: 06.12.2024 18:41
    Story ID: 473690
    Location: FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 253
    Downloads: 0

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