Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE 2022 brings greater realism to our soldiers through simulation

Article / February 4, 2022 / Project number: 22-0007

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By Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — The Canadian Army (CA)’s largest annual computer-assisted exercise employed a completely new scenario this year.

Taking place from 30 January to 4 February 2022, Exercise UNIFIED RESOLVE 22 (Ex UR 22) involved more than 700 personnel working together from bases in Petawawa, Kingston, and Edmonton. It presented soldiers with simulated scenarios that reflected real challenges in a modern and unpredictable security environment, and validated a brigade headquarters as operationally ready for international operations.

“The ability for the Canadian Army to train in a distributed manner from multiple locations across the nation as part of the Canadian Armed Forces Joint Team is quite a feat,” noted Major-General Michel-Henri St-Louis, Acting Commander Canadian Army. He visited the troops in Kingston on February 1 accompanied by Ms. Cheri Crosby, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Finance, and Associate ADM Chief Professional Conduct and Culture Change, Marie Doyle.

“The level of coordination and synchronization required to orchestrate training this complex, linking brigades in Alberta and Ontario, has taken months to plan, and required adjustments to adapt to the COVID-19 environment,” he added.

The CA is in the midst of a sweeping modernization process, which includes maximizing training opportunities through simulation and digitalization. Ex UR 22 supported this process by employing a completely revamped simulated immersive training environment.

The new scenario, introduced this year, incorporates a better designed and in-depth set of factors within the training environment to include all political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, information, cyber, physical environment and time factors.

Called Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) Europe, it focuses on creating an environment centred on a deteriorating security situation in Eastern Europe.

DATE Europe brought an elevated level of texture and detail, creating a more immersive experience. Soldiers faced information and cyber-attacks, complex regional issues, were forced to work with local and regional players, and faced a more unconstrained thinking enemy.

This latest version of the exercise elevated the realism in almost every way, providing a venue for the CA to practice employing its arsenal of weapons and capabilities in a simulated environment that reflects the realities of today.

The broad spectrum of challenges on this exercise took participants beyond conventional manoeuvre operations and exposed them to “grey zone warfare,” where the threshold of what constitutes warfare is blurred.

“It is a necessary evolution to provide soldiers with a training environment reflective of today’s global security concerns,” noted MGen St-Louis. “Any army that remains stale in how it prepares for war and trains only in its comfort zone is an army that has sealed it fate and is guaranteed to fail.”

Ex UR 22 is a key part of the CA’s three-year readiness cycle. At the start of the cycle, one of three Mechanized Brigades is selected for a year of intensive training to reach a state of high readiness. This year, 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters (2 CMBG HQ), based in Petawawa, was the primary training audience.

The next step will see 2 CMBG tackle Exercise MAPLE RESOLVE 2022 in Wainwright, Alberta in May where soldiers will conduct collective training in real-time. Upon successful completion, the Brigade will then be available for a year for any unplanned operations or contingency tasks.

For the last two years, the CA has safely conducted individual and collective training in the COVID-19 environment, and Ex UR 22 is no exception. In addition to following local, provincial, and federal health guidelines, participants were directed to self-isolate before the exercise and tested before its start. Throughout the week-long exercise, participants limited their movement and exposure to public spaces and were tested again upon its conclusion.

Ex UR 22 is essential to the CA’s mission to generate combat effective, multi-purpose land forces for employment on all concurrent operations and had to move ahead in spite of COVID,” added MGen St-Louis. “Failing to train a Brigade Group Headquarters for high readiness would create a ripple effect and jeopardize our ability to deliver on what Canadians expect from us. I congratulate the participants for completing this training safely.”

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