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Corps Warfighting doctrine examined, Exercise ARRCADE THOR 17

INNSWORTH, United Kingdom – Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps held its annual ARRCADE THOR exercise 3 to 6 April at the Innsworth Briefing Centre here, in an effort to recalibrate the corps staff whilst simultaneously maintaining its readiness as the NATO Response Force Land Component Command.

Exercise THOR is a map exercise designed to bring the HQ ARRC staff down from the operational level as the NRF LCC to the tactical level in order to better visualise the potential requirements required of them should the need arise.

"We have really taken to task four days of tactical actions at the corps level that will allow us to think about warfighting with the folks that we may have to warfight with,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Ron Clark, ARRC Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. "It’s the corps troops, the enablers, a number of whom are with us for this exercise and representatives of the divisions that the ARRC may have under command if we’re called to serve as a warfighting headquarters.”

A military typically has separate units to conduct operations at the operational level and the tactical level on the ground. As such the ARRC must be prepared to meet any challenge in support of the NATO alliance.

Exercises such as THOR ensure the staff here is prepared.

"Being the LCC at [the ready] we’re really at the operational level where we’re not directing tactical actions,” said Clark. "Our ability as a headquarters to fight as a corps is essential… so if we don’t study it, then we’ll potentially lose those skills and attributes that allow us to transition from a strategic-level joint task force headquarters to an operational and component command headquarters down to being a tactical corps warfighting headquarters.”

Clark went on to add, "The corps fights the highest level of tactical actions, so as a corps headquarters, the devil is in the details because you’re actually fighting the tactical actions on the ground.”

As THOR wraps up this week, the ARRC’s focus will turn to several NATO and multi-national exercises, culminating with Exercise ARRCADE FUSION 17 later this year, where the ARRC will test its corps warfighting capability.

"It’s an iterative process that one step builds upon the next,” Clark said. "We’ve studied corps warfighting, now we’re training ourselves and our staff on the tasks we may have to perform and thinking through those tactical actions we’ll perform as a corps.”

"In a contemporary setting, where we know we may be asked to face a near-peer threat, we have to focus on what’s hardest to do and that’s to fight at the tactical level,” he added. 

Story by Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Public Affairs Office

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