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Fires Center of Excellence: the beginning.

On 1 June 2006, the Chief of Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Brigadier General Bob Lennox and I will stand up the "virtual" Fires Center of Excellence (CoE) at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, one of seven such centers being established by the Army. On that date, the Fires CoE will begin many combined operations electronically with the ADA Center that, ultimately, will complete its physical move to Fort Sill in FY 11. Once the Fires CoE is physically established, an estimated additional 13,000 students per year will train on Fort Sill.

In May 2005, the Department of the Defense approved the latest round of the Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) Commission recommendations that facilitate the Army's overall force rebalancing and transformation efforts. As part of these recommendations, the FA and the ADA Centers, the latter at Fort Bliss, Texas, will merge into what will be the Fires CoE at Fort Sill.

The Army has seven focus areas in which it is establishing CoEs to enhance functions and gain efficiencies. These are the Fires CoE (FA and ADA) at Fort Sill; Maneuver CoE (Armor and Infantry) at Fort Benning, Georgia; Aviation CoE at Fort Rucker, Alabama; Maneuver Support CoE (Engineers, Military Police and Chemical) at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Logistics CoE (Transportation, Quartermaster and Ordnance) at Fort Lee, Virginia; Intelligence CoE at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and Signal CoE at Fort Gordon, Georgia.


The ADA move to the Fires CoE at Fort Sill will consolidate the FA and ADA Centers to gain training and capabilities development enhancements and efficiencies and foster Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) standardization. Current plans do not include merging the two branches--although we should not rule that out as a future possibility as the Army moves to develop more versatile, multi-capable "Pentathletes." The FA-ADA consolidation also supports Army transformation efforts that collocate institutional training and other units in large numbers on single installations to promote synergy and force stabilization.


Designing the Fires CoE. One of General Lennox's and my biggest challenges is designing the new Fires CoE. It has to be an organization diverse and large enough to represent both the ADA and FA communities. It must integrate the two centers' staffs and directorates that can work both FA and ADA functions.

TRADOC initially produced several organizational models. After several iterations, we developed a Fires CoE model to execute the missions and tasks of both the FA and ADA Centers with increased effectiveness and resource savings--a part of the BRAC directives. (See Figure 1 for our most current CoE model.) We are refining our proposed model while continuing to look for ways to save resources.

This model consists of seven center-level primary organizations capable of executing the combined missions. They are primarily non-branch-specific and include the NCO Academy (NCOA), Directorate of Training and Support (DOTS), Directorate of Training and Doctrine (DOTD), Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate (CDID), Joint and Combined Integration Directorate (JACI), Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Basic Officer Leadership Course II (BOLC II), and the FA and ADA Schools.

NCOA. The FA and ADA NCO Academies will combine into one organization and continue to execute functional training and leader development through the Warrior Leaders Course (WLC), Basic NCO Course (BNCOC) and the Advanced NCO Courses (ANCOCs) at Fort Sill, including all military occupational specialties (MOS) in Career Management Fields (CMFs) 13 and 14. (See Figure 2 for a list of CMF 14 ADA MOS.)

The two academies will combine personnel under the leadership of one sergeant major commandant and supporting staff.

DOTS. The Directorate of Training and Support is a new organization whose functions previously existed in the FA and ADA Schools' DOTDs. These functions are training support, leader development and functional training. This organization will focus on center-level administrative tasks, such as maintaining academic records, serving as the registrar, scheduling classes, and training and certifying instructors as well as faculty professional development and education.

The DOTS will be responsible for the new Fires CoE Simulation Center. The Simulation Center at Fort Sill, now in the Battle Lab, will be expanded significantly to stimulate/simulate not only individual and collective training for FA and ADA and mobilizing units, but also to link selected Forces Command (FORSCOM) units and TRADOC proponents for real-time simultaneous training. In addition the center will have the external communications linkages to facilitate participation in exercises at the Army and joint levels.

The DOTS also will be responsible for the combined International Student Detachment and the Army Security Assistance Training Program through the Security Assistance Training Field Activity (SATFA) at Fort Sill.

DOTD. The Fires Center's Directorate of Training and Doctrine will focus primarily on ADA and FA doctrine, joint doctrine, training instruction, support materials, collective training and lessons learned. The combined DOTD will plan, coordinate and execute actions for the Fires CoE while the FA and ADA branch schools within the CoE will continue to be the proponents for their respective fires integration.

Some specific functions of the combined DOTD will include serving as the center's and branch schools' staff proponent for operations, individual and collective training and doctrine development, and new equipment training and fielding.

The combined DOTD also will be responsible for designing the branches' simulations, simulators and training devices from developing the requirements document through fielding these training tools to units or training facilities. Once fielded, those in the schools become the responsibility of the two school brigades to execute training.

CDID. The new Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate will merge ADA and FA capabilities development functions along with TRADOC capabilities managers (TCMs), formerly called TRADOC systems managers (TSMs). TRADOC has recommended six TCMs for the Fires CoE: Netfires, Cannon Fires, FA Rocket and Missile Fires, Artillery Sensors and TCMs for Upper and Lower Tier for Air and Missile Defense (AMD). Although the number and types of TCMs are still being analyzed, TRADOC has said there will be no increase in the aggregate number of TSM personnel in the two centers. Some TCMs may have responsibilities that cross both branches.

The major functional divisions within CDID will be concepts development, requirements determination and experimentation. For the Fires CoE, we anticipate that experimentation will be done by a combined battle lab that will be designated the Fires Battle Lab.

The CDID also will be responsible for the horizontal integration of all the FA-ADA systems across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, and personnel and facilities (DOT-MLPF) domains.

JACI. The Joint and Combined Integration Directorate will be the center's link to all aspects of joint fires, including the implementation and execution of all joint-related training for both FA and ADA personnel. JACI will be the proponent for the Joint Fires Observer (JFO) Course, Joint Operational Fires and Effects Course (JOFEC), Joint Theater Missile Defense (JTMD) Course and all battlefield coordination detachment (BCD) issues. We are looking into the possibility of sending FA personnel to Fort Bliss to attend the JTMD Course with the ADA reciprocating by sending ADA officers and NCOs to our JOFEC Course.

BCT and BOLC II. As also shown in Figure 1, this initial entry training for officers and enlisted, regardless of their branches, will be conducted at Fort Sill. The existing FA Training Center (FATC) will morph into a more generic "Army Training Center" (ATC) to conduct BCT and BOLC II training. One-station unit training (OSUT) has been discontinued.

The ATC will conduct BCT for FA and ADA Soldiers; however, all branch-specific training will be the responsibilities of the two branch school brigades.

In the FA School, the 30th FA Regiment will be responsible for FA Advanced Individual Training (AIT), including command and control of the AIT battalions now in the FATC. FA AIT will continue to be conducted in the Army Training Center footprint; the AIT battalions also will be located in the ATC footprint.

Branch Schools. The FA and ADA Schools will be led by their respective branch commandants who each will be responsible for his branch's initial military training (immediately following initial entry training), including AIT and BOLC III (replacing the officer basic course, or OBC); branch-specific functional training; leader development; Captain's Career Course; and Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced Courses (WOBC and WOACs).

The FA School will consist of the 30th Field Artillery Regiment, the FA Proponency Office and the FA branch historian. The ADA Branch School will mirror the FA Branch School and include the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, ADA Proponency Office and ADA branch historian.

Although the 6th ADA Brigade will conduct initial military and other branch-specific training, unlike the 30th FA Regiment, it will conduct the training with its battalions located in its footprint.

Other Potential Moves. In terms of the Fires CoE garrison staff, only a portion of Fort Bliss' Directorate of Resource Management (DRM) will move to Fort Sill to accommodate the increased ADA workload. The rest of the support staff will remain at Bliss.

Although not BRAC-directed, the small ADA Marine Detachment may move from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill. The decision is pending. The detachment has a cadre of 23 Marines and an annual through-put of 165 students.

Also, the German Air Force's ADA School at Fort Bliss historically has trained with the US ADA Center. Discussions are underway involving Department of Defense and State Department officials to determine if this brigade-sized element will move to Fort Sill.

Integration Process. The process of building the Fires CoE and establishing an excellent working relationship with our ADA counterparts began in June of 2005 with a joint summit between the FA and ADA Centers' leadership at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. This crucial first step set the foundation for what has become a successful and collaborative process.


In November of 2005, we established a temporary combined Fires Integration Division at Fort Sill to work all Fires CoE issues. Consisting of both FA and ADA personnel, the division has developed an exceptional plan for how the Fires CoE will look, function and reside and has begun working with the directorates at both the ADA and FA Centers to "adjust fire" and achieve the ultimate Fires CoE. The Fires Integration Division developed the plan for the two centers to establish the virtual Fires CoE on 1 June, working on issues specifically within the training, doctrine and capabilities development areas.

Last fall, General Lennox and I decided to establish the Fires CoE "sooner rather than later" and to stand up the virtual Fires CoE on 1 June. There are many areas in which FA and ADA can begin collaborating digitally well before the ADA Center closes on Fort Sill. These areas cross DOTD and CDID responsibilities and include vetting and submitting joint responses to Army capstone and joint doctrine, exploring and analyzing common core programs of instruction (POIs) for both the CCCs and NCOAs, developing requirements documents and conducting joint experiments.

Most importantly, the two branches can move toward the consolidated ownership of the program to Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortars (C-RAM) as a Fires CoE program. C-RAM is the one area in which our combat and training developers and doctrine writers can come together and begin working as one team now. In fact, the FA and ADA Centers have been given a tasking to jointly brief "the way ahead" for C-RAM in an Army capabilities review at the Pentagon in early June. According to the tasker, this briefing will serve as a "reference point for the horizontal integration and synchronization of C-RAM capabilities in the Army's modular force."

As we integrate the schools digitally, we may find other functions that can be part of the virtual Fires CoE.

To implement the virtual Fires CoE, we have established Integration Cells within our current capabilities and training and doctrine development divisions. With players from both branches, these cells are horizontally integrating functions digitally in advance of the physical consolidation of ADA with FA at Fort Sill.

These processes are then surfaced to the Integration Cell Board of Directors (BOD), consisting of the directors from both branch schools, which provides horizontal integration recommendations to General Lennox and me for review before forwarding them to higher headquarters or an outside agency.

An example of this is our combined doctrine review process. Today, as joint and Army capstone doctrine come under review, both the ADA and FA Centers review the doctrine and submit separate comments. With the virtual concept, we envision one entry and exit point into the virtual Fires CoE. From the entry point, the doctrine review requirement will be parsed to branch subject matter experts (SMEs) for review and comment. Once the comments are collected, they then will be forwarded to the appropriate organization as one response by the Fires CoE as opposed to two separate branch responses.

To facilitate the transition to the Fires CoE--both virtual and actual--we began conducting quarterly Fires Summits with our counterparts at the ADA School, starting in January. These summits are designed for action officers to address issues critical to the success of the Fires CoE. To facilitate the transition, the summits are followed by a Home-on-Home in which the FA and ADA Centers' leadership come together to make critical decisions, provide additional guidance and resolve any issues.

Our first Home-on-Home was on 15 February at Fort Bliss. It was a successful and professionally executed event, setting the stage for the two branches' work in the future. We discussed issues, such as the Fires CoE construct, the consolidation of the two center DOTDs, the consolidation of the ADA Combat Development Directorate (DCD) with the FA Futures Development and Integration Center (FDIC) to form CDID, the creation of the new DOTS and our plan to use our award-winning Fires Knowledge Network (FKN) on Army Knowledge Online (AKO) as the primary means to communicate to our customers, both FA and ADA. The latter will be especially helpful during the virtual standup period.

Our next Home-on-Home is scheduled for 16 May at Fort Sill with a lead-in Fires Summit in April. Our topics for these two events include the Fires CoE table of distribution and allowances (TDA), NCOA organization and functions, integrated staff functions and civilian personnel movements.

Moving ADA to Fort Sill. As we execute our virtual Fires CoE, our remaining challenge is the physical move of the ADA Center to Fort Sill and integration of the two centers into one. Part of this challenge is to identify where units from Fort Bliss will be located on Fort Sill. This past November, we assessed the facilities and resources at Fort Sill and determined what new construction is needed to house incoming Air Defense units and personnel.

That portion of the ADA Center moving to Fort Sill that will merge functions with the FA Center will move into existing facilities that we will call the "Fires Campus." This area includes Snow, Knox and McNair Halls and many other existing buildings around the post headquarters area. The intent is to create an environment where students have easy access to all classrooms and training and support facilities, much like a college campus.

Snow Hall will be our classroom facility for BOLC III and the CCCs and house the two branch commandants (two sides of A Wing). Knox Hall, after renovation, will house the combined DOTD and CDID. The "main campus" will be that area in and around Snow Hall with both FA and ADA officers and NCOs using the same training facilities, including for common core courses.

On the Fires Campus, we envision one main campus and two smaller campuses. The two smaller campuses will be those areas where branch-specific training is being conducted (other than BOLC III and the CCCs). Those campuses will correspond, basically, to the 30th FA Regiment and 6th ADA Brigade areas.

Finally, our biggest challenge is going to be establishing timelines and movement plans for the BRAC moves to take place. We are still in the infant stages of the construction process, beginning environmental analysis that we must conduct before we can begin construction. In FY07, construction of new facilities and renovation of existing facilities will be underway with their projected completion date in FY 10. This timeline is tentative, but the Fires CoE must be fully operational in FY11.

Although there is a lot to do to make the Fires CoE a reality at Fort Sill, a lot already has been done--including developing a professional relationship between leaders and project officers of the two centers. This allows us to face the tough issues and work through them.

ADA soon will find out what a wonderful place the Lawton-Fort Sill Community is as the third largest city in Oklahoma. No other Army post can boast of the same high level of camaraderie, support, enthusiasm and commitment to our Soldiers, Fort Sill, the Army and our nation as our partner Lawton and Oklahoma state leaders manifest.

Soon, the ADA will be our partner in the Fires Center of Excellence.

Major General David C. Ralston

Chief of Field Artillery

RELATED ARTICLE: Field Artillery Archive Now Has Google Search

As of the end of June, the Field Artillery online archive will be searchable using the Google Mini search function. We have redesigned the archive to make it key-word searchable and more user-friendly. The Google Mini search engine works much like the Google search engine.

Using the Google Mini, Soldiers and Marines worldwide will be able to open the archive online and do key-word searches of the entire archive or narrow their searches by year, groups of years or individual magazines. They will be able to download entire magazines or specific articles using less bandwidth.

Over the years, the magazine staff has responded to many requests to research specific topics and provide the names of articles or entire articles to deployed or deploying Soldiers and Marines. With the new search function, this time-consuming process no longer will be necessary. Google Mini now will allow users to conduct their searches and download selected articles rapidly.

In our online archive, we have editions from 1959 through the current edition of the magazine. New editions are added to the online archive as they are published.

Although we've made several changes and improvements to the website, we always welcome suggestions from readers. Our website is It also can be accessed through links on the Fort Sill homepage or the Fires Knowledge Network (FKN) on Army Knowledge Online (AKO).

An average of 500 people per day have visited this website since March.

Magazines Online Back to 1911. We are preparing to let a contract to scan magazines from 1911, the first year of the Field Artillery Journal, through 1958 for our online archive. When the contract is completed, all magazines will be available online, creating a comprehensive archive of Field Artillery. The editions 1911 through 1958 also will be searchable via Google Mini.

These older magazines will provide a historical information for Soldiers and Marines researching doctrine, equipment, organizations, personnel and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and make rare magazines available to Soldiers and Marines, magazines that currently are only accessible in the rare books portion of Morris Swett Library at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

1913 Field Artillery Journals Missing--Do You Have One? Unfortunately, the rare books section of the library is missing both copies of its bound 1913 magazines. We need copies of the 1913 magazines to scan to complete the archive.

If anyone has a 1913 Field Artillery Journal and would be willing to ship it to us for scanning and return, please call us at (580) 442-5121/6806 or DSN 639-5121/6806 or send an email to

Please call or email before sending the magazine, so we don't have duplicate editions sent to us.
14E Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer
14J Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, Computers and
 Intelligence Tactical Operations Center Operator/Maintainer
14L ADA Command and Control System Operator/Maintainer
14M Man-Portable Air Defense System Crewmember*
14R Bradley Linebacker Crewmember**
14S Air and Missile Defense (AMD) Crewmember
14T Patriot Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer
14Z ADA Senior Sergeant

*In ADA Reserves only. **Closed to Women.

Figure 2: Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Career Management Field (CMF) 14
Military Occupational Specialties (MOS)
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Title Annotation:Base Realignment and Closures
Author:Ralston, David C.
Publication:FA Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
Previous Article:Celebrating Saint Barbara.
Next Article:Fires CoE website on FKN 1 June.

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