Fort McCoy News September 25, 2015

CIED/AW Team provides customized instruction

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

The Fort McCoy Counter Improvised Explosive Device/Asymmetric Warfare Team (CIED/AW) is an installation go-to organization for asymmetric-warfare training.

Asymmetric warfare is defined as warfare between opposing forces that differ greatly in military power and typically involves use of unconventional weapons and tactics such as the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The CIED/AW Team was established at Fort McCoy in spring 2014 through a contract by the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security to prepare service members for the asymmetric threats.

Photo
Nic Casey (right), senior consultant and facilitator with Counter Improvised Explosive Device/Asymmetric Warfare Team at Fort McCoy, provides IED instruction to ROTC cadets during the Task Force McCoy exercise at Combat Outpost Lashgar on South Post.

"Our ultimate goal is to help with (service member) survivability when they are deployed," said Nic Casey, senior CIED/AW consultant and training facilitator with contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. "We provide that unique training that can be customized to any region of the world to meet any unit's training requirements and more."

When unit leaders want to incorporate the CIED/AW staff into their training plan, Casey said they generally are looking to have specific training on counter IED practices and related asymmetric tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).

In completing their instruction, Casey and fellow consultant Mark Confer draw from more than a decade of TTP history built by the Department of Defense and the Army. They combine that history with their own Army experience — Casey as an explosive ordnance disposal technician and Confer as a combat engineer — to assist units with planning and executing individual and collective (unit-/exercise-level) counter IED training both in the classroom and in the field.

"We will train anyone who comes to Fort McCoy," said Casey, a former Army sergeant with combat experience in Iraq. "For example, a lot of the (National) Guard people we train are not attached to the exercises that happen here, so instead we help create an exercise just for them. We'll work with their commanders at (the) brigade or company level and develop the training plan from the commander's intent."

CIED/AW instruction often is based on helping Soldiers complete Army Warrior Tasks and training needed prior to a unit deploying, such as tasks defined in Army Regulation 350-1, said Casey. "We also work with the Wisconsin (National Guard) Pre-mobilization Training Assistance Element, for example, to complete not just counter-IED training with Wisconsin Guard units, but also other related training," he said.

The CIED/AW staff recently helped train the Wisconsin National Guard's 950th Engineer Company, which recently was deployed to Afghanistan. Company Commander Capt. Andrew Redd said their support was valuable.

"The training we participated in with the support of the CIED/AW was extremely helpful and well worth the time we invested out of our drill schedule to take advantage of their resources," Redd said. "The training team was very accommodating and worked around our schedule to help us maximize training time. They often came in early and stayed out late in the training areas and helped lead after-action reports after each training mission.

"They are a great resource, and our rear detachment continued to take advantage of their knowledge and capabilities even while most of the company was deployed," Redd said.

Confer said their instruction continues to evolve as TTPs and needs change, and they thrive on the ability to be flexible.

"An example of us being flexible to training needs would be when we complete training with a route-clearance unit," said Confer, a retired Army sergeant major who deployed twice to Iraq. "This is a new concept in the Army. ... Some of these units have their equipment and some don't. For those who don't have their equipment yet, we give them dismounted training, and we'll incorporate just as many scenarios as we would with equipped units, but in a smaller area."

Casey said Fort McCoy's training areas are ideally suited for the asymmetric scenarios they develop. Much of the CIED/AW field training occurs on Fort McCoy's Home Station Training Lanes (HSTLs). An HSTL provides training units a multitude of capabilities, including an extended area for convoy-operations training, simulated village areas for Soldier combat maneuvers, and video-recording capabilities that allow unit personnel to record their training scenarios for later review.

"Fort McCoy works out really well because we have a lot of the assets available to do nearly anything that a unit wants to do," Casey said. "This installation is user friendly and (also) allows us to flex to anything we want to do. Fort McCoy's terrain, too, allows us to show Soldiers how many kinds of vulnerabilities they could face."

The CIED/AW team also has the latest equipment available for training, such as robotics and biometrics equipment, realistic IED examples, and hand-held detectors.

For more information on CIED/AW capabilities and training, call 608-388-8186.