National Guard troops train to avoid pitfalls faced in Ukraine conflict

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One of the astir striking images from the aboriginal weeks of Russia's invasion of Ukraine was the motionless, miles-long file of Russian subject vehicles extracurricular Kyiv. Faced with stronger absorption than they had anticipated, troops were stranded for days arsenic their nutrient and substance ran low. That stark illustration inspired U.S. Army readiness experts arsenic they enactment unneurotic this summer's National Guard grooming exercises.

Mid-July upwind successful Louisiana — wherever the two-week grooming is taking spot — is thing similar wintertime successful Ukraine, but the commanders are applying the aforesaid principles. One trainee scenario, which has been utilized successful past exercises but gains immoderate resonance from the proviso shortages seen successful Ukraine, forces troops to fig retired however to continuously get h2o to soldiers successful the sweltering vigor and heavy humidity. 

training-2.jpg Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Dan Hokanson meets with soldiers astatine the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La., July 2022. CBS News / Eleanor Watson

Brig. Gen. David Gardner, the commanding wide of the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, told CBS News the situation of distributing thing arsenic debased tech arsenic h2o tin beryllium unforgiving, with galore variables astatine play. A worker tin lone transportation astir a gallon astatine a clip and whitethorn devour 2 to 3 gallons a time successful the heat, which means the portion has to lick the occupation of ensuring soldiers person capable h2o to drink, adjacent though they can't each transportation each that they'll need. 

The soldiers indispensable fig retired however overmuch proscription is disposable to determination the h2o and however to support the transportation routes from force interference. Gardner said the aforesaid principles use to different captious resources, similar substance and ammunition. However, the soldiers successful the grooming are kept hydrated and harmless passim the exercise, Gardner added.

The workout is 1 of astir 2 exercises the Guard does each twelvemonth astatine U.S. Army grooming centers large capable to accommodate the grooming of a brigade — astir 5,000 troops.

Gen. Dan Hokanson, the main of the National Guard Bureau visited the grooming halfway and Fort Polk this week to conscionable with the commanders starring the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the California National Guard done the grooming with realistic combat scenarios. 

"It's the astir hard grooming that they volition ever do," Hokanson said successful an interview, "In fact, what they accidental is astatine the grooming centers, you larn the hardest lessons you'll ever larn and not during existent combat." 

While connected a circuit Tuesday, Hokanson met with antithetic units astatine the grooming area, which takes spot crossed much than 150,000 acres. Since the grooming simulates existent scenarios, the soldiers helium met with were dressed successful afloat uniform, contempt the vigor and humidity.  

The past halt connected his conveyance circuit brought him down ungraded roads successful the sprawling wood area to observe a short-range aerial defence unit. This, too, represents an inaugural with elements of the Ukraine conflict. Training for U.S. wars successful the aboriginal 2000s did not necessitate these systems due to the fact that the U.S. subject mostly dominated the air. 

"When we were grooming for Iraq and Afghanistan, we didn't adjacent person aerial defence units with america due to the fact that determination was nary threat, but what we've learned from successful the aboriginal Russian penetration of the Crimea portion and the Donbas, and what we're seeing present is however important it is to person aerial defence systems connected the battlefield to support america against helicopters, jets, and drones," Hokanson said. 

To marque battlefield grooming scenarios arsenic realistic arsenic possible, the National Guard has added different features, excessively — obstacles that appeared successful the aboriginal months of Russia's penetration of Ukraine, similar drone attacks and disinformation campaigns.

The grooming halfway has included a 4G web successful the workout truthful the soldiers person to sift done imaginable misinformation and counteract it with accusation utile to the public. 

"It's important erstwhile you're successful an situation that you're providing that equilibrium and information to the colonisation truthful they tin spot thing that whitethorn beryllium antagonistic to what they whitethorn beryllium seeing from the Russians oregon the Chinese," Hokanson said. 

The workout successful Louisiana consists of 2 weeks of "training days," but commanders see the weeks earlier and aft the workout erstwhile soldiers are moving instrumentality and unit to Fort Polk arsenic a portion of the training. For this event, the California National Guard moved implicit 1,000 pieces of instrumentality by obstruction to Louisiana, the largest obstruction determination successful California Guard history. 

The two-week grooming ends Friday with a unrecorded occurrence workout utilizing existent bullets and artillery. 

In: Ukraine Russia National Guard of the United States

Eleanor Watson

CBS News newsman covering the Pentagon.