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NEWS | April 22, 2021

National Guard Bureau chief visits Michigan’s NADWC

By Master Sgt. David Eichaker Michigan National Guard Public Affairs

The Michigan National Guard (MING) recently showcased one of its major resources — the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (CNGB), Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson and Director of the Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen.

The National Guard’s top general visited two of the key installations in NADWC, the Alpena Combat Readiness Center and Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center in northern Michigan, on April 14 to hear from MING leadership on how NADWC plays a vital role in National Guard readiness and supports Department of Defense initiatives. NADWC facilitates Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) service concepts including Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) and Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) through various live and constructed joint service and multi domain events such as Northern Strike, Winter Strike, Electromagnetic Spectrum Training/Electronic Warfare (EMS/EW) and small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and counter-sUAS training.

“The NADWC encompasses the collection of Michigan’s unique environment and premier Air and Army training venues and provides the operational and developmental framework required to fully integrate joint all-domain training,” said Army Col. Scott Meyers, commander, Camp Grayling. “Camp Grayling has 148,000 acres of state-owned training space which provides fully integrated joint all-domain training making it the premiere National Guard training venue in the nation.”

Camp Grayling recently received joint certification, making it just the third Army National Guard joint training facility to receive this certification.

“Camp Grayling has 482 miles of training trails, ranges, lakes, rivers and an impact area that can sustain up to 500 pound bombs,” said Meyers, who also affirmed Michigan’s Northern Strike exercise as being joint-accredited.

Michigan’s distinct seasonal environments create four different unique training venues at Camp Grayling and the NADWC.

“A month from now, all the trees will be green and that will be a completely different field with different communications and signal problems,” said Meyers. “In winter, Camp Grayling can offer arctic training, including freezing temperatures and large amounts of snow. It’s really four completely different training environments.”

Michigan National Guard’s senior leader also presented on the force’s capabilities and assets to the chief and Army National Guard director.

“NADWC builds readiness,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. “We are in the process of expanding ranges and airspace for future capabilities, long-range precision fires and cyber electromagnetic activities.”

To compliment land training, the NADWC has more than 17,000 square miles of special use airspace offering premier training space for the Air National Guard and provides one of the most capable air/ground integration sites in the nation. The airspace extends over a portion of Lake Huron, blankets the NADWC and is supported by three Michigan Air National Guard installations: the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, the 110th Wing in Battle Creek and the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

“These airbases provide critical capability to allow convergence of domains and advanced readiness training for the joint force,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Bryan Teff, assistant adjutant general – Air and commander of the Michigan Air National Guard. “Through state and federal collaboration, Michigan is working to establish airspace and training areas that meet growing Department of Defense demands for training locations capable of open-air jamming (communications, radar and GPS), UAS operations (such as swarming/micro-UAS operations) and low-orbit satellite launch and recovery.”

With training and readiness at the forefront of National Guard priorities, Camp Grayling offers a one-stop shop with numerous training facilities, venues and barracks to host up to 8,000 service members.

“You’ve got quality facilities here and an immense amount of training space — Army, Air and maritime — I think Camp Grayling is positioned very well,” said Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, director of the Army National Guard.

With all the available space – both land and air, NADWC is ideal for the National Guard Bureau’s premiere annual joint fires exercise – Northern Strike.

“The great thing is you have Northern Strike,” said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “That exercise brings other service branches here and allows them to see the capabilities and facilities that are available for their own readiness training.”

“We can replicate cold weather training here in Michigan, saving us a lot of time and money that would be used to travel outside the lower 48 states,” Hokanson said.

Hokanson and Jensen have been visiting National Guard bases and facilities across the United States to identify the best resources to sustain National Guard readiness.

“We need areas where we can maximize the time we have with our National Guard members and their leaders so they get the most out of their training,” said Hokanson. “At the end of the training period, our Soldiers and leaders have actually accomplished something and maximized their readiness — that’s really the end goal.”

“There is nowhere in the United States right now where you’re going to get 148,000 acres of training space and we have to cherish, leverage and utilize this base so that Michigan and the nation benefits,” Hokanson said.