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Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense visits Atterbury-Muscatatuck
By Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs Staff Writer Staff Sgt. David Bruce
Feb 16, 2012 - 6:34:49 PM
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Sgt. First Class Kenneth Fodrie explains the medical training procedures used at the Medical Simulation Training Center to Command Sgt. Major John Gipe, enlisted advisor, David McGinnis, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Dr. Wizdom Powell, White House Fellow placed with the Department of Defense, and Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general for the Indiana National Guard, during a tour of Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Feb. 13. McGinnis and Powell were in Indiana at the invitation of the Indiana National Guard and First Army to tour facilities programs for mobilization and post-deployment care of Soldiers. (photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)
EDINBURGH, Ind. — Butlerville and Edinburgh, Ind. may just be two specks on the map of what some consider fly-over country. The public-at-large may not realize the significance Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex, near Edinburgh and Butlerville, respectively, play in the defense of the United States but to policy-makers in Washington, D.C., these two installations provide a valuable service in mobilizing, training, validating, deploying and demobilizing Soldiers and civilians to support contingency operations.

The acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, David McGinnis, and Dr. Wizdom Powell, with the White House Fellows, visited Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck to meet with key leaders, tour facilities and observe pre and post-mobilization operations.

During his visit, McGinnis stressed the importance of the role Camp Atterbury, Muscatatuck and First Army play in defense and foreign policy.

“In order to send Soldiers into a warfight, you need to make sure they are trained to a certain level,” said McGinnis. “First Army’s role is to make sure that occurs; to enforce the standards that are established by the theater commander to make sure that everyone we deploy is prepared to operate in that theater.”

According to McGinnis, the training opportunities at Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck incorporate the factors of the modern battlefield that were not really issues to commanders and Soldiers in the conflicts of the past.

“This is a venue that is unprecedented, especially in the current context of political military operations that are going on today,” said McGinnis. “A very small portion of the last ten years has actually been what we call kinetic, in other words using military forces to bring havoc and destroy things. Most of it has been social, political and economic development, and Atterbury is well suited for that and Muscatatuck gives you the environment to put individuals into a real-life situation.”

The focus on non-kinetic operations is not anything new to Soldiers and civilians who work at Camp Atterbury as the installation plays host to Provincial Reconstructions Teams and Agri-business Development Teams bound for Afghanistan as well as deployments to Kosovo and the Horn of Africa.

“That’s extremely important because you don’t win wars with guns,” said McGinnis, “we win wars with building social structures, with building economic structures and making people understand what their futures are and what their opportunities are.”

McGinnis said that force structure in place prior to the Sept. 11 attacks was originally conceived in the early 1990’s, but the demands of the modern battlefield forced an evolution on how wars are planned and fought, which also included employing a civilian expeditionary force that is also trained here at Camp Atterbury.

“The demands and requirements that have developed, the Global War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq, are totally different than what we had created, so we have had an increasingly heavy demand on civilians: Department of Defense civilians, Department of the Army civilians and contractors,” he said.

The Civilian Expeditionary Workforce is an outgrowth of that, which allows deployment the Department of Defense’s civilian workforce to deploy overseas. Through this program, they can deploy and receive training with the uniformed services.

With shift in thinking how wars are fought, there was also a shift in how to train for deployments as well as thinking about the post-deployment health and welfare of troops and civilians.

“The ability First Army had over the last decade to morph, to be able to address this is really impressive,” he said. “First Army was primarily focused on training Soldiers to fight short, violent wars. So First Army has done a wonderful job of morphing, and a lot of that is dependent on absorption with the First Army structure of Guardsmen and reservist, and civilians who bring multiple skills beyond the basic military skills Soldiers have.”

Accompanying McGinnis was White House Fellow Dr. Wizdom Powell, assistant professor of health behavior and health education at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has been placed with the Department of Defense to gain first-hand, high level experience with the federal government and the development of policies.

While visiting Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck, she said that the post-deployment mental health facilities and programs were essential for the care of Soldiers especially in the areas of cognition relating to traumatic brain injury.

“I was really impressed with the facilities (referring to the mental health and Soldiers readiness facilities),” she said. “As a civilian, I’ve not had the opportunity to come into a training environment like this before and it was extraordinarily eye-opening. The mental health facility is exactly, in my opinion, what we need in order to prepare our Soldiers when they mobilize and de-mobilize.”

According to McGinnis, the role of Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck will continue to be a part of mobilizing national power for some time to come, that the facilities and capabilities offered here set this location off from other mobilization sites.

“I think what we are doing here today; especially what we’re doing at Atterbury and Muscatatuck, is not going to end very soon,” said McGinnis. “We’re going to continue to have to hone the skills that we’re training here and use them overseas, maybe in lower key environments, maybe in environments that are not so obvious to most Americans.”

McGinnis sited continuing deployments to Kosovo and Bosnia as well as an expanding interest in Africa as examples of the types of deployments that will continue to utilize Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck.

“We will continue to do this, probably without the level of public awareness or awareness in the media that we get for Afghanistan and we did for Iraq. It is going to be here and this is going to be an important place to give us the ability to do that.”

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

 
Staff Sgt. Tyson Waldron walks Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs David McGinnis through the process of calling for indirect fire at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Feb. 13. McGinnis was in Indiana at the invitation of the Indiana National Guard and First Army to tour facilities programs for mobilization and post-deployment care of Soldiers. (photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)
Soldiers with the 157th Infantry Brigade brief David McGinnis, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, regarding a base defense live-fire exercise being performed by Soldiers deploying to the Horn of Africa as part of a multinational observation force during a tour of Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver training Center, Ind., Feb 13. McGinnis was in Indiana at the invitation of the Indiana National Guard and First Army to tour facilities programs for mobilization and post-deployment care of Soldiers. (photo by Staff Sgt. David Bruce, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)
White House Fellow Dr. Wizdom Powell, David L. McGinnis, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, and Patriot Academy Commandant Lt. Col. William Freeman listen to Patriot Academy student Pvt. Eduaro Macedo of the Florida National Guard give a presentation on his time at the Patriot Academy at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center during a tour of the facility on Tuesday, Feb. 14. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Brad Staggs, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)
Indiana Adjutant General Maj Gen. R. Martin Umbarger points out a feature of the mock middle eastern market place to Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs David L. McGinnis as Lt. Gen. John M. Bednarek, Commanding General of the First United States Army, and Indiana Assistant Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Clif Tooley at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center during a tour of the facility on Tuesday, Feb. 14. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Brad Staggs, Atterbury-Muscatatuck Public Affairs)

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