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81st SBCT tests command post with NGB observer

By Sara Morris | Washington National Guard | Jan. 17, 2020

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. – The 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team tested its command post in an exercise observed by Sgt. Maj. Christopher Kepner, senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

"Coming out here and seeing the Stryker brigade going through this training and getting ready for a rotation at the national training center, which is the epitome of readiness, has been exciting," Kepner said.

The 81st SBCT conducted the command post exercise (CPX) Jan. 10 with five of its six battalion staffs.

"The purpose of the CPX was to validate systems and command and control processes through distributed mission command," said Lt. Col. John Wells, 81st SBCT executive officer. "This exercise allowed the brigade an opportunity to collaborate digitally in managing combat operations in a dynamic digital operating environment."

Kepner stopped by the exercise during his visit with the Washington National Guard to watch and speak with members of the Guard.

"Is the National Guard strategic or operational? It's no longer an either/or statement," Kepner said. "We are both, and this proves that we can be both – being here and seeing these Soldiers doing this training."

The 81st SBCT successfully executed a satellite simulation feed for the 1-185th Infantry Battalion from San Bernardino, California. The operational portion of the simulation was a scenario planned by the 81st SBCT during the leadership training program at Fort Irwin in preparation for the NTC rotation.

"Overall, the weekend met varied successes and identified a multitude of challenges that we will overcome as part of our final NTC preparations," Wells said.

Kepner asked all the traditional Guard members at the CPX about their civilian occupations and how they balanced their dual roles. He found that the Soldiers' ability to provide notice for all their training and good communication with workplaces made for happy employers.

"Really, I see motivated Guardsmen who are building readiness to contribute to the national defense strategy as an operational force for the National Guard."