Dynamic Front 18 – a field artillery exercise was recently held in Germany that included participants from 26 different nations. The exercise – with over 3,700 personnel taking part – focused on the interoperability of U.S. Army, joint service, and allied nation artillery and fire support. The multinational environment also saw its share of special operations forces (SOF) integration.
Members of the 10th Special Forces Group as well as staff personnel from U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) took part in the exercise. SOF does not have its own fire support (other than mortars); so it relies on close air support from aviation assets as well as fires from U.S., NATO, and partner nation artillery units.
One of the major exercise objectives is to refine digital communications procedures. A software interface, known as the Artillery Systems Cooperation Activities or ASCA, allows nations to digitally link and translate between different field artillery and fire support systems. ASCA enables faster, more-effective fire missions supporting ground operations. The exercise also incorporates aviation close air support provided by the Czech and U.S. air forces.
This was the first time that U.S. SOF participated in Dynamic Front 18. It’s participation was aided by the U.S Special Operations Command Europe Special Operation Forces Cell at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) located at Hohenfels, Germany. The exercise was conducted primarily at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr training area during February 23 to March 10, 2018.
The 2-week exercise demonstrated how special operations forces can engage, posture, and be ready to operate with conventional forces within a complex security environment.
Elements of this article from Dynamic Front 18 amplified by SOF integration, by SGT Karen Sampson, SOCEUR, March 26, 2018.