News: Under Secretary Stanley visits MUTC
Story by Staff Sgt. Brad Staggs
BUTLERVILLE, Ind. – Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex is the home of training for the Department of Defense Ministry of Defense Advisor’s Course and the Foreign Service Institute’s Interagency Afghanistan Integrated Civilian-Military Pre-Deployment Training Course.
The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, paid a visit to MUTC, Oct. 21, to evaluate the training first-hand.
“I’m here to get to understand the training better than academically,” Stanley said as he watched a training vignette in which civilians from the State Department were hustled into waiting military vehicles while under fire. “I’m an old infantry guy (Stanley served 33 years as a Marine Corps officer, retiring as a major general) and I have to see the training, feel it to understand completely what it’s about.”
Stanley was given a briefing by Frank C. DiGiovanni, director of training readiness and strategy for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), explaining what the training entailed and how important it is.
To punctuate just how valuable the training is to those civilians going overseas, Julius Johnson, Afghanistan Field Training Coordinator with the Foreign Service Institute, told Stanley about his experiences going through the second ever class in July 2009 and how it helped him.
“This training took the edge off of deploying,” Johnson explained. “As the only civilian embedded with a District Support Team (in Afghanistan), I received the tools necessary to do my job effectively. I’m very thankful for that.”
Johnson went on to the job he holds today, working closely with the trainers at MUTC to ensure that all training is up-to-date. When Stanley asked about the capabilities of the students to reach back to the trainers, he was told that there is instantaneous communication from the field to the schoolhouse in order to update and keep training current.
Claudia Munoz, a program transition specialist with the Ministry of Defense Advisor’s program, described the feedback she has been getting.
“We are being told that the (training) vignettes are identical to what they went through once they got into country,” Munoz said. “It really is very realistic and helps the trainees to hit the ground running.”
Stanley was given a tour of the Muscatatuck facility and shown several vignettes that the trainees were going through from a meeting with the regional Afghan governor to a demonstration outside of a mock jail. Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Adjutant General of the state of Indiana, explained that what is good for training at Muscatatuck is also good for Indiana.
“Dr. Stanley is getting to see the importance and value in training here in Indiana,” Umbarger said. “As budget cuts go through and we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be a larger need for civilian assistance overseas and this training will be more important than ever. We want to keep it right here in Indiana and I think we have shown Dr. Stanley the value he gets here for every dollar he spends.”
After meeting the Mayor of North Vernon, Ind., Harold Campbell, as well as other members of city and county government, Stanley said he was impressed with the support of the local community and thanked all for their hard work.
“It’s my job to see that we have the expertise dedicated to this training that needs to be,” Stanley said. “I’m coming away from this with a very positive feeling and a better feel for the capacity of the facility and the impact on the local community. This helps me fight for every dollar for this program. I will be talking about this at the Pentagon for a long time to come.”