DVIDS – News – Keen Edge Improves Reserve Readiness
CAMP SMITH, HAWAII – U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from the 351st Civil Affairs Command, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), arrived here ready to integrate into Keen Edge 22, a bilateral command post exercise held from January 26 to February 26. 3, 2022. Arriving Jan. 20, the team participated in Reception, Staging, Forward Movement, and Onboarding (RSOI) meetings, levels, academics, and events hot start before the start of the exercise.
Keen Edge 22 enables the Japanese Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Indo-Pacific Command to plan and conduct operations against competitors in all domains. For the 351st CACOM Government Function Specialty Team, it provided an opportunity to interweave their expertise in the exercise and meet the requirements of a joint force under a single unified command authority.
U.S. Army Reserve Col. Bradford Hughes, the government functional specialty team leader for the 351st CACOM, saw the exercise as an opportunity for his team to test their readiness through several mission-critical tasks. the mission. These duties included preparing with interagency, conducting rehearsals with Geographic Combatant Command for crisis action planning, and entering theater in response to a variety of scenarios, while remaining part of a credible deterrent force in an increasingly complex threat environment.
“This is an opportunity for us to partner with our Geographic Combatant Command at the inter-agency level,” Hughes explained.
While at KE22, the 351st team, a mix of 38G military government specialists and other Army capabilities, including a team of International Law Officers (ILO), were able to nest capabilities with their partners interagency. The ILO team in particular got to work,
by integrating with the Command Judge Advocate (CJA) and providing expertise in “Lawfare”, while creating several integrated products and briefs for the CJA and creating legal dilemmas for the adversary of the exercise.
“These soldiers are really specialists,” Hughes said. “They bring that required expertise in their specialty, which USINDOPACOM wants to leverage as the interagency engages in the theatrical campaign plan. Through the instruments of national power (domestic, informational, economic), while specifically partnering with Commerce, Treasury, USAID, and law enforcement, we bring this expertise. As such, the Government Service Specialty Program is there to assist in and advance this partnership.
Exercises such as KE22 provide the U.S. Army Reserve an opportunity to build relationships through rehearsal and improve interoperability between the joint forces and reserve component. This increase in readiness through realistic training is essential to ensure continued support of the Geographic Combat Commander during real-time events.
NCO in charge of the team, Sgt. Samantha Gomes, senior health care noncommissioned officer, 351st CACOM, sees the exercise as an opportunity to build on the skills her team already has and assess their ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. As the role of the functional team continues to adapt and change with real world demands, it becomes increasingly important for them to use exercises like KE22 to align with their interagency partners. .
“I think for us, to solidify our doctrine,” she explained. “It was updated and rewritten last summer, so here’s [at Keen Edge] we make sure that we operate within the framework of this doctrine and really have a clear idea of what we are doing and why we are here. Not just in an exercise format, but as we step up and fill roles that aren’t as familiar, but give us a reason to really put our feet down and push on to find the job.
Gomes went on to explain that KE22 was also a time to lay the groundwork for future exercises as the team began to show their worth in battling in the multi-domain setting. The work done here would allow for the inclusion of the team in the planning phases of future exercises, maximizing the effectiveness of the team and their levels of expertise in a much broader scope.
“It’s about working here at a strategic level.” Goms said. “A lot of combatant commanders look at the big picture. We provide that insight as specialists who step in and navigate between the lines, really get to grips with the details and specifics of strategic planning.
U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Kelly Wilson, law enforcement and border specialist for the team, said working for USINDOPACOM at the 4-star strategic level was critical to the future of the program.
Wilson explained how during the week he had the opportunity to meet with his counterparts from the Department of State, Bureau of Stabilization and Conflict, to share the specialty areas and focus areas of the 38G program. with its task force, highlighting specialties and how they complement stability operations and fit into existing crisis action plans.
“We focus on pretty much everything to run a government,” laughed Wilson. “If there is a demand for a government function capability, our team (or USACAPOC) can provide technically qualified and experienced individuals, to advise, enable and assist commanders and their direct civilian counterparts with stability function tasks and expertise in governance until appropriate civilian oversight is possible.”
With the priorities of the USARC and USACAPOC(A) Commanding Generals focused on rehearsals, relationships, and preparation, KE22 truly gave the team the opportunity to nestle into those goals.
“Through our presence here and our partnership with interagency, it’s the relationship element,” Hughes said. “We want to build the partnership to the level where we are asked to come back for the next exercise…these exercises repeat what we can do very well in the real world. By getting those reps (e.g. reps), it builds readiness. If we can demonstrate that we can deploy and be self-sufficient, it highlights our value to COMPO-1 (Active-Duty Forces) that there is a group we can call, and they can immediately integrate with us and get to work.