HOHENFELS, GERMANY- A group of Ukrainian Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) soldiers participated in Combined Resolve XIII at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany Jan. 31, 2020.
Combined Resolve is a training exercise hosted by the Joint Multinational Readiness Center. The exercise involves soldiers from 17 allied and partner nations who work together during a 10-day exercise, which requires them to find solutions and overcome situations in a tactical environment.
This was the first time the Ukrainian PSYOPS soldiers participated in a Combined Resolve exercise. Being involved helped them gain additional experience from working with multiple countries.
“All of us have a combined experience in the Ukraine, but this is our first time working a NATO exercise for all of us,” said one of the Ukrainian PSYOPS soldiers. “Of course we’ve faced some challenges, but for us it’s a great experience because we can operate and conduct operations with our partner countries.”
PSYOPS is an important part of the battlefield, and has been in use since World War I. Soldiers in this field use the power of influence to shape the security environment and achieve security goals.
“PSYOPS brings a capability that a brigade doesn’t normally have, it’s not organic in any Brigade Combat Team” said Maj. Stuart Gallagher, Senior PSYOPS Observer Coach and Trainer, Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. “PSYOPS brings a capability that can expand their operational reach and effectiveness on the battlefield if employed properly.”
During the exercise, members of the Ukrainian PSYOPS team worked with U.S. Soldiers, and soldiers from other allied and partner. They were able to gain additional experience and knowledge in order to increase overall interoperability.
“In this exercise, all countries have different experiences they bring,” said a Ukrainian PSYOPS Soldier. “We bring experience from Ukraine and your guys (U.S. Soldiers) brought experience from Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve identified that we have different approaches of the decision-making process and we discuss a situation and how we’d react. We realized we have different views on the same question, but all this experience that we’ve got from this exercise we can use to improve and advance our decision making process.”
Training in this environment and integration with U.S. troops allowed for the Ukrainian PSYOPS team to also experience a different perspective on tactics.
“There conditions are very close to real combat condition, you don’t have enough time to make proper analysis, and you have to get used to it,” said a Ukrainian Soldier. “We have found your (U.S. Soldiers) capability and our capabilities are different. We are used to supporting it on a tactical level. Here we are supporting a battalion. It was new for us. It was much more large scale and we had to think more out of box and strategically.”
Throughout this exercise the Ukrainian PSYOPS team was able to gain new experience by working within a battalion-sized element. They were also able to gain insight on U.S. operations in improve their overall position.
“Multinational exercises are important,” said Sgt. first class Jacob Wall, PSYOP Observer Coach and Trainer. “If we ever need to employ combat power in a future conflict we are absolutely going to need the cooperation of our allied and partner nations, so the better we are at understanding how each other work and how to find that common language as far as operating procedures, then the better we will be prepared.”