The United States Army Central (ARCENT) is addressing the emerging threat of unmanned aerial system attacks through its two-part Green Sands training initiative. The first part, Green Sands “CONUS” (Continental United States), conducted domestically from Feb. 9 to Mar. 5, focuses on establishing the foundation for Base Defense Operation Centers. The second phase, Green Sands “Heavy,” occurs overseas at the ARCENT Training and Readiness Center. This phase aims to train Base Defense Operation Centers  (BDOC) crews for the Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority at their respective outstations in Iraq and Syria.

Green Sands training, initially conducted for the first time last year at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, integrates Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) into BDOCs. This integration is achieved through classroom instruction, command post exercises within a BDOC setting, and a virtual live fire exercise specifically focused on CUAS.

The 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, part of the 42nd Infantry Division in the New Jersey Army National Guard, will undergo both training iterations before taking on the force protection mission for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria in the spring of 2024.

In a Green Sands first, subject matter experts with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), currently responsible for force protection throughout the CJTF-OIR region, provided the course instruction, relaying theater-specific lessons learned, best practices, successful counter-UAS integration techniques, and quick action drills to better equip the 44th IBCT transitioning into the region.

“Enemy UAS threaten our Soldiers, service members, and our partners in the CENTCOM AOR [United States Central Command area of responsibility],” said Lt. Gen Patrick D. Frank, USARCENT commanding general. “For the last nine months, USARCENT has implemented CENTCOM’s Green Sands Counter-UAS training initiative by preparing Base Defense Operations Centers throughout the theater through dynamic threat UAS scenarios, multiple iterations, and live fire training.”

In addition to Green Sands training, the 44th IBCT is concurrently finalizing its post-mobilization training in collaboration with the 5th Armored Brigade and 174th Infantry Brigade, guided by First Army Observer, Coach/Trainers. This comprehensive process involves a series of validations, ultimately culminating in a Mission Readiness Exercise.

The Green Sands training includes:

  • Introduction to BDOC crew roles and responsibilities
  • Instruction in airspace coordination, investigation process, and datalinks
  • Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) and Correlated Defense System of Systems Simulation hands-on training
  • Observation of a low, slow, small UAS integrated defeat system live-fire to instill confidence in kinetic systems

“As we conclude our Green Sands CONUS training, it’s evident that the skills honed here are indispensable,” said Lt. Col. Omar Minott, 44th IBCT deputy commanding officer. “Recent drone attacks underscore the critical need for this training. By mastering counter-drone techniques, we not only protect ourselves but also ensure readiness for future threats. Together, we mitigate risks and safeguard our service members’ safety and mission success.”

Apart from the Green Sands training provided by ARCENT and CENTCOM, the Joint Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-sUAS) University at Fort Sill provides a two-week operator’s course. This program concentrates on the operations of the Joint C-sUAS Office evaluated C-sUAS systems.

Once complete with pre-deployment training and Green Sands Conus, the 44th IBCT BDOC crews will further test their CUAS knowledge at Green Sands Heavy overseas. Safe travels!

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Post Image- The 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Base Defense Operations Center crews observed a mobile-low, slow, small, unmanned aircraft integrated defeat system live-fire to instill confidence in kinetic systems capable of shooting down one-way UAS attacks during pre-deployment Green Sands training Continental United States at McGregor Range Complex, New Mexico March 4. (Image Credit: Sgt. Raquel Birk, 5th Armored Brigade)