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Public affairs, multimedia professionals form creative backbone of UE 07-2

Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, XVIII Airborne Corps Commander, and Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Ghai Ban Majeed Ali, Iraqi Ground Forces Commander, answer questions from media role players during Unified Endeavor 07-2 at Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 16.  Over 2,100 people from eight locations participated in the US Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, Va. and Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. sponsored mission rehearsal exercise. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Elisabeth Matulewicz)

Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, XVIII Airborne Corps Commander, and Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Ghai Ban Majeed Ali, Iraqi Ground Forces Commander, answer questions from media role players during Unified Endeavor 07-2 at Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 16. Over 2,100 people from eight locations participated in the US Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, Va. and Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. sponsored mission rehearsal exercise. (Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Elisabeth Matulewicz)

WILLOW GROVE AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. --

Humidity, 103-degree temperatures and torrential downpours didn't damper the spirits of Exercise Unified Endeavor 07-2 participants at the XVIII Airborne Corps Battle Command Training Center on Fort Bragg, NC. Aug. 13-24. UE 07-2 trains units for upcoming assignment with the Multi-National Corps - Iraq headquarters staff.

Approximately 2,100 military, government, coalition and civilian personnel participated in the mission rehearsal exercise from Fort Drum, N.Y.; US Joint Forces Command, Suffolk, Va.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Combatant commanders, components and staff form a joint task force and work together via computer networks, phone, e-mail and video teleconferencing. Planning for this exercise began over 18 months ago.

USJFCOM conducts the exercise in conjunction with the Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. to provide the training audience with the most realistic joint training environment possible prior to arriving in theatre. The exercise involves interagency, multinational and non-governmental entities as well as contractors from Northrop Grumman. For the first time, Iraqis are role playing in multiple capacities to include members of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, military command structure and local police.

Members of the joint exercise control group run the exercise. They serve as observers/trainers and introduce events into the exercise through simulation, role playing and scripts. Events are designed to meet specific training goals of both the JECG and the training audience. A master scenario event list dictates the events but it is the audience's actions that determine the outcome.

For almost two weeks, I worked in the JECG Public Affairs/Media cell as a journalist and a media role player. I wrote news stories, broadcast scripts and reported breaking news. I queried, or asked, subject matter experts questions to develop stories. I also participated in mock press conferences and on camera interviews and provided photo and video footage. The majority of the cell was U.S. Navy and civilian contractors with extensive journalism experience in both the military and civilian sector. However, active duty and reserve Army, Air Force, Iraqi and coalition forces provided us a wealth of information in a variety of areas. It was remarkable how everyone came together as a hard-working, motivated team.

The goal of the PA/Media cell: to expose the training audience to a variety of media situation and teach them how to succeed in today's complex global media environment. The hardest challenge: for the training audience to develop accurate, timely responses and coordinate them through appropriate channels prior to releasing the information to the public.