April 11, 2007:
Army has recently seen a demonstration of how effective "dissimilar training"
is. Dissimilar training involves, among other things, playing the enemy, and
learning to think like him. Many members of the 1/4th have played the role of
Taliban troops over the last few years, and that has aided them enormously now
that the 1/4th is in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.
The 1/4th Infantry has
spent most of the last 17 years as the OPFOR (opposing force) for other combat
units undergoing training at sites in Germany. In the last few years, this has
included playing the role of Taliban fighters, against American troops getting
ready to go to Afghanistan. Naturally, this kind of training tries to give
American troops some practical experience operating against a foe that acts
like the Taliban. But the troops who play the Taliban gain an even better
insight into how the Taliban operate. If there's not enough training time to
allow a lot of troops to play at being the Taliban, the army can modify some of
its wargames so that troops can get into the Talibans head that way.