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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2015

Army Reserve PSYOPS, Civil Affairs Soldiers share a Combined Resolve

By Staff Sgt. Tina Villalobos 301st Public Affairs Detachment

HOHENFELS, Germany - Combined Resolve V is a U.S. Army Europe exercise designed to train participants to function together in a multinational and integrated environment and train U.S. Army rotational forces to Europe to be more flexible, agile and better able to operate alongside allies and partners in the region.

Critical to successful training events in Europe is the inclusion of special enabler units from the Army National Guard and Reserve. Maj. Ivan Hong, Bravo Company, 407th Civil Affairs commander, was quick to point out the value his troops bring to Combined Resolve V, and to any battlefield.

"As Army Reserve Civil Affairs Specialists, we bring a lot of expertise not only within our MOS (military occupational specialty) of Civil Affairs, but we also bring experiences from our civilian jobs to the supported units," said Hong. The Army Reserve unit from Arden Hills, Minnesota, includes a plethora of civilian professionals that enhance the unit's effectiveness.
"For example, I have a veterinarian, several nurses, an attorney, several people in law enforcement as well as people in finance. When we come to do an exercise like this, it enables us to demonstrate our capabilities as a civil affairs unit, not only to our own supported units, but to our multinational partners as well."

While the 'big guns' of Combined Resolve V draw a great deal of attention, small elements of Soldiers work to influence outcomes through other means. Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) and Civil Affairs Soldiers provide commands with non-lethal methodologies. Stabilizing the populous helps to ensure support of the command mission.

The Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) provides subject matter experts to coach and assist, but not direct decisions of training participants.

"Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs are usually the wisest enablers within a staff when it comes to cross-cultural communications," said Sgt. 1st Class Miguel Comas, JMRC Operations Group, Observer Coach Trainer (OCT) for the Mustang team. "We depend greatly on our ability to interact with people from other cultures, because that's our job in Civil Affairs. You're a link between the civilian population and the staff. In Psychological Operations we have to understand the local populous in order to effectively deliver the messaging that we put in place. We are often the advisors to the brigade on how to engage with multinationals, so that we are better able to integrate our forces and have better effects on the battle field."
Army Reserve Soldiers play a critical role in augmenting the efforts of the active duty component to accomplish both PSYOP and Civil Affairs objectives. Combined Resolve V integrates the capabilities of U.S. and allied multinational partners to achieve interoperability among NATO forces.
"Our mission here at JMRC is to provide civil military operations support to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Task Force Raiders," said Hong. "As part of the civil affairs support to the brigade, we have sent our civil affairs Soldiers to imbed, live with, train and fight alongside our multinational partners. One of my teams is now imbedded with the Dutch, and they're going through the military decision making process (MDMP) with the Dutch--living with them and learning how their processes work. Imbedding our Soldiers allows us to learn best practices, share techniques and continue to build those relationships with our multinational partners."
Staff Sgt. Samantha Holmes, 319th Psychological Operations Company team leader, from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, an imbedded Soldier with the 35th Mechanized Battalion of the Dutch Army, valued the opportunity to participate in Combined Resolve V.
"The difference between the training back home and the training here is that this is definitely more realistic," said Holmes. "They have role-played television here, and I am working with a foreign national battalion right now, which is something that I do not have access to back home. I am learning a different process through their MDMP. I am also interjecting the United States' Psychological Operations methodology."
Holmes' assistant team leader agreed.
"We are working just as we would if they were a United States unit; to help as enablers in achieving their kinetic combat mission," said Spc. Joseph Donahue 319th PSYOP Company, Assistant Team Leader 1322. "They're working more on the means of destroying the enemy forces, and we are doing whatever we can to assist them in that mission. For example, we have already created radio products that are going out to the Atropian [exercise role-play] people several times per day, telling them to stay inside and away from windows. If they see any military operations, don't go near them--things of that nature. We are trying to keep people away from the battle, but we are also trying to reduce the effectiveness of the Arianian forces that we are fighting against."
According to Holmes and Donahue, the majority of training they receive in the states is notional and does not provide the depth and breadth of experience they're receiving at JMRC.
"It has been a great learning experience for us," said Donahue. "We could not have gotten this training back in the states. Nothing has compared with it. We are planning and waiting for the next phase of our training here. We are excited!"
Combined Resolve V drew more than 4,600 participants from the NATO Allies and partner nations. Maneuver training took place at the Hohenfels training with live-fire training to be held at the Grafenwoehr training area. U.S. Army troops along with 10 NATO allies including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovenia, and three partner nations of Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia, participated in exercise Combined Resolve V, Sept. 22, through Nov. 21, 2015, at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas.