More than Maple

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By Lieutenant Matt Howse, CMTC

The fresh melt seeps through the upturned earth. The ominous sounds of tapping echo throughout Canadian forests. The maple is ready.

The sounds of spring signal something different in Wainwright, Alberta. Streams of soldiers rush by, about 5000 of them; American, British, French, and Canadian, competing for contested ground. They shout commands as they weave between obstacles, armoured vehicles, and villages on Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE (Ex MR). The brigade is ready, but a lot must happen before maple is on the table.

What the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre (CMTC) brings to the table has changed significantly since opening in 2004. CMTC originally served as the proving ground for battle groups on Exercise MAPLE GUARDIAN as they prepared to step out the door to Afghanistan. CMTC still supports brigades on the Road to High Readiness (RtHR), but now supports exercises across Canada and the world.

Once the initial steps of the RtHR are complete, the brigade enters the simulation of near-peer conflict during the Canadian Army’s largest computer-assisted exercise. Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE 19 (Ex UR) brought together over 1200 personnel to challenge the brigade headquarters. Latvia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and each Canadian division came together in Edmonton, Alberta with a focus on the incoming high-readiness brigade, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG). 2 CMBG connected remotely and securely to the exercise from Petawawa, Ontario, which added another layer of complexity to the exercise.

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CMTC enables a variety of training throughout the year to maintain war-fighting skills within Canada and NATO. The enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Latvia (eFP BG Latvia) continuously trains and finely tunes the integration of NATO forces into the Latvian Mechanized Brigade. Like the RtHR, which culminates with Ex MR, the eFP BG Latvia’s training culminates with the Integrated Capstone Exercise (ICE), which is planned and executed by CMTC and the Latvian Army and Ministry of Defence.

Between the core training requirements for the high-readiness brigade, CMTC supports partners around the world by providing talent for planning, evaluation, and role-playing realistic scenarios. CMTC frequently deploys its Observer, Controller, Trainer teams to maximize learning opportunities by analyzing training and providing detailed feedback based on data, doctrine, and experience. The Contemporary Operating Environment Force (COEFOR), an arm of CMTC that emulates unconventional forces and key personalities, is also often deployed – playing crucial roles in Labrador, California, and Latvia already in 2019.

The sounds of spring have started in Wainwright, as 1 CMBG units are currently conducting live-fire training on Exercise ORNERY RAM. Once complete, they will move on to Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 19 which will take place in Wainwright, Alberta from 6 to 25 May, 2019. CMTC is ready.

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