JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, VA.
Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, led a delegation of TRADOC and Israeli Defense Force leaders as they participated in the 28th Future Battlefield Annual Talks, or FBAT, May 12-16, 2019.
TRADOC’s relationship with the Israel Defense Forces began in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War, leading to the FBAT’s initiation in 1988.
The TRADOC commanding general has served as U.S. head of delegation since 1990. Each year, FBAT is held alternately between locations in the U.S. and Israel.
In addition to the TRADOC commanding general, this year's U.S. delegation also included Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Guden, TRADOC’s Command Sgt. Maj.; Lt. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, Commanding General, U.S Army Combined Arms Center and Maj. Gen. John A. George, Deputy Director, Futures and Concepts Center, Army Futures Command. The delegation also included leadership from the Maneuver, Fires, Sustainment, Maneuver Support, Aviation, Intelligence, Cyber and Mission Command Centers of Excellence and selected school commandants.
Maj. Gen. Yacov Barak, chief of the IDF Ground Forces, served as the Israeli head of delegation.
From May 12-14, IDF Ground Forces delegates visited their counterparts at the U.S. Army Centers of Excellence locations to gain insights into the curriculum, technology and techniques used to train U.S. Soldiers.
This year, the U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence chose to conduct their counterpart visit at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. This afforded their IDF counterpart to observe active duty units conducting collective level sustainment training tasks in support of maneuvering units while in field conditions.
During the visits, the counterparts shared their army's respective approaches and lessons on a wide range of warfighting themes. These engagements provided the opportunity for the representatives of each Army to share their approaches and lessons learned to develop leaders and maintain the edge against adversaries.
During the 'counterpart days,' Townsend and Barak visited the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. While at Fort Benning, the group observed students conducting field training as part of the Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Master Trainer’s Course, a robotics demonstration which included the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport, the Soldier Borne Aerial reconnaissance system and the robotics equipped and AI enabled infantry platoon.
The group also observed a Military Operations on Urban Terrain, or MOUT, and a shoot house demonstration executed by units from the 75th Ranger Regiment. In the afternoon, they took the opportunity to link up via video teleconference with battalion and above leadership from III Corps in Fort Hood, Texas to discuss lessons learned from the recent transition to training focused on Large Scale Combat Operations.
The next morning Barak and several others of the IDF delegation were able to observe and participate in the new Army Combat Fitness Test prior to departing to Washington D.C. to attend the FBAT plenary session.
The culminating plenary session took place May 15, 2019, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in the National Capitol Region. During this session the IDF and U.S. Army delegates presented a series of briefs with discussion on a wide range of topics. The U.S. delegation presented briefings on the operational environment and key threats to U.S. security, the findings of the recent study done on Large Scale Combat Operations and the Multi-Domain Operations concept with linkages to US Army modernization. The IDF presented briefings on their Strategic Overview, their IDF Modernization Plan and the GIDEON Brigade concept and lessons learned from recent exercises.
At the conclusion of the briefings, Townsend reiterated the importance of FBAT to the U.S. Army and how TRADOC greatly values the long standing partnership with the IDF Ground Forces.
The plenary session ended with Townsend and Barak co-signing a memorandum codifying the next FBAT, which will be hosted in Israel, and the 2019-2020 Centers of Excellence military-to-military agreed-to-actions. The Israelis will host the 29th annual FBAT in 2020.
This critical engagement remains a premier learning venue that benefits both the IDF and the U.S. Army. Furthermore, the FBAT continues to demonstrate the long-standing partnership and commitment between these two armies.