Senior DOD Official Visits Indiana Training Center
By Army Staff Sgt. Brad Staggs
Camp Atterbury-Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING CENTER, Oct. 25, 2011 The Pentagon’s top personnel official traveled here Oct. 21 to observe how Defense Department civilians are trained before they deploy to Afghanistan.
Left to right: Frank C. DiGiovanni, director of training readiness and strategy for the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness; Jim McKellar; Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; and Army Maj. Gen. Clif Tooley, Indiana’s assistant adjutant general, walk through the mock marketplace during Stanley's visit to Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Ind., Oct. 21, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brad Staggs
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I’m here to get to understand the training better than academically,” said Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, as he watched an exercise featuring State Department civilians being hustled into military vehicles while under enemy fire.
Stanley, a retired major general who served 33 years in the Marine Corps, said he appreciated the opportunity to personally observe the training.
“I’m an old infantry guy,” he said, “and I have to see the training -- feel it -- to understand completely what it’s about.”
Frank C. DiGiovanni, director of training readiness and strategy for the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness, briefed Stanley was briefed about the training. And Julius Johnson, Afghanistan field training coordinator with the Foreign Service Institute, told Stanley about his experiences attending the second class in July 2009 and how it helped him.
“This training took the edge off of deploying,” Johnson said. “As the only civilian embedded with a district support team [in Afghanistan], I received the tools necessary to do my job effectively. I’m very thankful for that.”
Johnson later assumed the job he holds today, working to ensure that all training conducted here is up to date. When Stanley asked about the ability of students to reach back to the trainers, he was told that there is regular communication from the field to the schoolhouse to keep the curriculum updated.
Claudia Munoz, a program transition specialist with the Ministry of Defense Advisors program, described the feedback she has been getting.
“We are being told that the [training] vignettes are identical to what they went through once they got into country,” Munoz said. “It really is very realistic and helps the trainees to hit the ground running.”
Stanley received a tour of the Muscatatuck facility and saw several exercise vignettes, from a mock meeting with the regional Afghan governor to a demonstration outside a mock jail.
“As budget cuts go through and we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, there will be a larger need for civilian assistance overseas, and this training will be more important than ever,” said Army Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, Indiana’s adjutant general.
“It’s my job to see that we have the expertise dedicated to this [type of] training,” Stanley said. “I’m coming away from this with a very positive feeling and a better feel for the capacity of the facility and the impact on the local community.
“This helps me fight for every dollar for this program,” he added. “I will be talking about this at the Pentagon for a long time to come.”