At one stage the junior command staff duties course field exercise at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) was dubbed “a reduced brigade level” one which has now grown to brigade plus level.
According to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), the Lohathla training area is currently a hive of activity with final preparations underway ahead of exercises Amabutho and Ukuthula.
43 SA Brigade Headquarters, SA Army Force support elements, SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) elements, SA Air Force (SAAF) elements as well as SA Police Service (SAPS) elements and units are on the ground in Northern Cape for the field exercises.
The Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC) of the SANDF said the exercise takes junior command staff duties (JCSD) officers “through the complex African battle space ensuring Army readiness as an integral component of its force preparation”.
The exercise, again according to DCC, started on 28 September and is due to end on 27 November.
Twelve different landward force units each deploying around 300 soldiers and support personnel have taken up temporary residence at the Army’s premier training facility. They are 10 Air Defence Artillery Regiment, 1 SA Infantry Battalion, 1 Special Service Battalion, 1 SA Tank Regiment, 1 Signal Regiment, 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment, 101 Field Workshop, 16 Maintenance Unit, 8 Medical Unit and what is termed “elements of the rapid deployment operations team and CTC personnel”.
Amabutho and Ukuthula are based on African Union scenarios – 5 for peace support operations and 6 for intervention operations. The overall aim is exposure to AU standard operating procedures (SOP), inter-operability in joint planning as well as AU doctrine and conduct of business.
The influx of military personnel and the necessity to properly feed them has seen a new field mess and dining hall erected at CTC.
Junior officers on course are hard at work on the brigade planning phase of the exercise until 22 October after which the practical component takes place in what is uniformly known across the national defence force as “the land of diesel and dust”.