The CAX Is Crucial

by Capt Paul J. Borror

The enhanced Combined Arms Exercise (CAX) discussed recently (MCG, Mar89) is a tremendous opportunity for unit commanders in the maneuver battalion to train in a fastpaced, ever-changing mechanized environment As the air officer for 2d Battalion, 3d Marines (Rein), I was able to participate in constant staff planning in reaction to the vari ous frag orders. We augmented our two existing forward air controllers with an additional two, allowing all three maneuver elements and recon to control aircraft. I believe this added significantly to the training at CAX 2-89.

CAX 2-89 brought with it two tremendous training improvements: more pre-CAX fire support and maneuver training and the battalion-level force-on-force exercise. The introduction of the LAI battalion and its impact on maneuver warfare offer even more new and innovative training challenges.

During our debriefing, the increased cost of the enhanced CAX was discussed. One of the possible options to meet this cost would downgrade the improved pre-CAX training to budget for the force-on-force exercise. The potential for improvement in maneuver warfare through the enhanced CAX deserves the Commandant’s attention and priority. The tremendous training opportunities offered by the enhanced CAX-especially the upgraded mechanized training exercises, increased fire support coordination exercises, the frag order CAX. and the battalion-level force-on-force exercise-should be allowed to continue and expand.