SOCCENT hosts Egyptian Armed Forces for scenario-based information exchange

U.S. Special Operations Command Central
Story by Maj. Tiffany Collins

Date: 10.02.2015
Posted: 10.02.2015 10:44
News ID: 177869
SOCCENT hosts Egyptian Armed Forces for scenario-based information exchange

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Soldiers from Special Operations Command Central in partnership with the Office of Military Cooperation – Cairo and the Egyptian Armed Forces concluded a two-week scenario-based information exchange (IFX) focusing on Military Information Support Operations (MISO) and Civil Affairs (CA), Sept. 14 to Sept. 25.

The exchange took place at the Special Operations Mission Training Center (SOMTC) and brought together U.S. advisers and a 24-person Egyptian delegation led by Brig. Gen. Essam Khalil, deputy commander of the Psychological Operations Department, Egyptian Armed Forces.

Participants developed a comprehensive plan to deal with a humanitarian assistance crises and disaster relief scenario focusing on the employment of military information support and civil affairs operations.

“The true sufferers in any conflict are the civilians on the battlefield,” said Chief Warrant Officer Five Todd Leggroan, command chief warrant officer at Special Operations Command-Central. This is exactly why the employment of non-lethal counter-terrorism options during periods of civil unrest and in response to humanitarian crises is becoming increasingly more important. “The astute and well-trained core of officers underneath Brig. Gen. Khalil’s leadership learned the importance of MISO partnered with CA have become an important weapon system for their country.”

Military to Military relations between the United States and Egypt have significantly deteriorated since the cancellation of “Bright Star”, on Aug. 15, 2013 by President Obama. Bright Star is the joint, combined multinational exercise co-hosted by the United States and Egypt. First conducted in 1980, the exercise is long considered an important part of U.S. Central Command's theater engagement strategy. Special Operations Command Central is supporting its higher headquarters by bridging that gap.

Friday's closing ceremony was the result of a year-long series of Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCETs) events with the Human Development and Behavioral Sciences Center, Egyptian Armed Forces, the first executed JCETs in Egypt in over 15 years. The training was executed by personnel assigned to the 9th Military Information Support Battalion (Airborne) and the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). It concentrated on the sharing of information, while providing lessons learned on the employment of MISO and CA forces to include staff responsibilities, team and individual tasks, and the integration of these non-lethal assets into the combined arms approach to warfare.

“The partnerships between U.S. special operations forces have opened doors and created opportunities for both the United States and Egypt. Our shared learning has created an environment of understanding as well as appreciation for non-lethal capabilities,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Douglas, the noncommissioned officer in charge for the Information Operations Division at Special Operations Command-Central.

Once observing the effectiveness of a civil affairs team to provide relief to populations during a crisis, the Chief of the Egyptian Training Authority recommended the establishment of a Civil Affairs Regiment within the Egyptian Armed Forces. This training enabled the Human Development and Behavioral Sciences Center staff officers to integrate into other regiments of the Egyptian Armed Forces for the first combined arms maneuver demonstrations within Egypt, applying MISO and CA.

Special Operations Command-Central and our Egyptian counterparts have no plans of concluding this joint venture any time soon. They are currently working together with the intent of developing Egypt’s first MISO and CA training pipeline. These types of deliberate, long-term engagements by SOF components enhance mutual capabilities, and interoperability between the United States and its international partners and demonstrates U.S. Central Command’s commitment to the region.

Capturing the intent of this information exchange in his closing remarks, Brig. Gen. Khalil stated, “Egypt faces asymmetrical and unconventional threats, therefore we require non-lethal training. The Egyptian Army will benefit from the training we received here, and we will be able to face these threats.”