U.S. national-security strategy formulates a policy of regionally aligning our land forces to efficiently and effectively dismantle, disrupt and defeat global terrorism. Since 2012, the U.S. government’s policy has been to accomplish that regional alignment of military forces via strategic partnerships that provide the combatant commander (COCOM) the forces to enable the deterrence, disruption, pursuit and defeat of global terrorist networks, and to prevent instability within a particular region.
In October 2013, 1st Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment – part of 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT), 4th Infantry Division – deployed to U.S. Army Central Command’s (USARCENT) area of operations in support of Operation Spartan Shield (OSS) to conduct a regionally aligned force (RAF) mission. The 1st Battalion, 67th Armor’s mission was to deter aggression and limit malign influence in U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), enhancing regional stability and reassuring regional partners. On order, 1-67 deployed as a mission-ready force (MRF) in support of CENTCOM contingency operations.
Our priorities during this deployment were threefold:
- Maintain the combined-arms battalion’s (CAB) readiness for both mission-essential task list (METL) and assigned-mission-task (AMT) requirements;
- Engage with regional and local partners; and
- Retain force protection on key terrain.
The overarching question became, “How does a CAB effectively balance both mission requirements and maintain readiness?” This article will study that question with the intention of not only answering it but also providing a framework for the Army’s RAF 2020 strategic-planning guidance. We were able to reinforce strategic partnerships and retain absolute readiness for any contingency through holistic training and by combining AMTs and mission-essential tasks (METs) into a readiness program developed, executed and assessed during the deployment.