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News | Aug. 28, 2020

Canadian, U.S. Forces study exercise design in Ukraine

By Cpl. Shaylin Quaid 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team

Operation UNIFIER Soldiers trained Task Force Illini Soldiers on exercise design fundamentals at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine, Aug. 24 – 28.

“Exercise design is part of the exercise life cycle, what we would call the Joint Exercise Life Cycle (JELC) in America. JELC goes by different names in Canadian and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) doctrine, but, essentially, it is how we design an exercise for a rotational unit, or primary training audience, in order to meet training objectives that the unit needs to be deployable,” said U.S Army Maj. Andrew Ward, Task Force Illini JELC Chief and resident of Shiloh, Illinois.

“The guys here from JMTG-U have been in their positions for about a month, so the interaction of teaching this course wasn’t so much of a strict teacher-student relationship, said Canadian Army Capt. Samantha Wall, UNIFIER Exercise Design Instructor.
“There was a lot of exchange back and forth, and that was exactly what I was hoping to get out of this experience. I now have several connections I can lean on in my job going forward with respect to designing exercises,” said Wall.

“The goal of this course was to build relationships with our Canadian partners and make sure that we’re on the same page,” said Ward.
The United States and Canada are both part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U) partnership. Members of JMTG-U support the Armed Forces Ukraine to improve their defense capabilities and training capacity.
“The Canadians have taken the lead on another training center in Shiroky Lan, Ukraine, and we wanted to make sure that we are generally teaching the same topics here as they are there,” said Ward. “The Canadian version of exercise design more closely resembles the NATO version, and for the Armed Forces Ukraine, NATO interoperability is incredibly important so we want to make sure we’re teaching them what they need to know.”

Col. Glen Petersen, Task Force Illini Deputy Commander, Exercise Control Advisor and resident of Le Roy, Illinois, presented Wall with a certificate of appreciation at the end of the course. Wall presented Lt. Col. Darren Horton, Operations Group Officer in Charge and resident of Williamsville, Illinois, an appreciative Canadian magnet, as well as certificates of completion to the Soldiers who attended her course.

“Going forward, we hope to start implementing the exercise design process that we learned about here with our AFU counterparts at CTC-Y. We will try to pass on our techniques of how we do the planning conferences, and try to improve their methods so they can become more efficient and spend more time training units than planning the exercises,” Ward said.

Task Force Illini is the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible for training, advising and 10mentoring the Ukrainian cadre at Combat Training Center-Yavoriv, Ukraine in order to improve Armed Forces Ukraine’s training capacity and defense capabilities.

Operation UNIFIER is the 50-member Canadian military delegation supporting Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine.