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Trump's transgender military ban 'worse than don't ask, don't tell,' advocates say

The Trump administration released two documents on Friday outlining the president’s ban on transgender people serving in the military[1]. While LGBTQ-rights advocates say this new measure is even more discriminatory than the now-defunct “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, they also note that recent court rulings prevent the ban from actually taking effect.

The administration’s first document, a memo[2] signed by the president, stated that “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery — are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”

 President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House on March 23, 2018 in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

The second document[3], titled “Department of Defense Report and Recommendations on Military Service by Transgender Persons,” lays out the specific policy recommendations regarding trans individuals serving U.S. military. The 46-page report stated that the department had concluded “accommodating gender transition could impair unit readiness,” “undermine unit cohesion” and “lead to disproportionate costs.”

“This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards — including those regarding the use of medical drugs — equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen,” the White House said in a statement[4] released on Friday.

“CATEGORICAL BAN”

The new report states “nothing in this policy precludes service by transgender persons who do not have a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and are willing and able to meet all standards that apply to their biological sex.”

Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), disagreed, claiming such a policy constitutes a “categorical ban” of transgender people from the military by requiring service members to live as their sex assigned at birth.

“It means you can’t be transgender,” Minter said. “This is worse than ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in its justification … It would be as though the government had tried to justify the DADT policy by saying that you can serve in the military if you say you will stop being gay.”

With DADT, which was ended in 2011, “the government never went so far as to say that being lesbian or gay is not a legitimate identity and [lesbians and gays] should undertake therapy to become straight, but that is what this report is saying about transgender people,” according to Minter.

He argued the ideas in the plan “have zero medical credibility” and are “lifted whole from anti-transgender propaganda put out by right-wing groups.”

“PANEL OF EXPERTS”

A federal judge issued a court order[5] on Tuesday requiring that the Department of Justice disclose the names of the military experts the Trump administration consulted regarding its transgender military ban. On Thursday, the Justice Department filed a response[6] to the judge’s order, stating the administration chooses “not to identify” those consulted.

The Justice Department “is coming close to defying court orders,” Minter said. “They do not want to disclose what lay behind this process.”

An article published by Slate[7] on Saturday, which cited multiple unnamed sources, claimed that Trump’s “panel of experts” included several people with histories of opposing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, including Vice President Mike Pence[8]; anti-transgender activist Ryan T. Anderson[9]; and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins[10]. NBC News has not independently verified Slate’s findings.

Friday’s report addressed the findings and recommendations of a 2016 study commissioned by the Department of Defense and conducted by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit think tank. That report found no reason to prevent the enlistment and service of openly transgender individuals. The new report stated the Pentagon had “reached a different judgment on these issues” than RAND and the previous administration, adding that the issue is “more complicated.”

Natalie Nardecchia, senior attorney at LGBTQ civil rights organization Lambda Legal, slammed Friday’s report and said the previous administration “did a real report and did a real analysis … and then they enacted a policy.”

“That is the way it’s supposed to work, and this is the very opposite,” she said of the Trump administration’s findings.

“NO IMMEDIATE IMPACT”

Minter said the new policy is “as bad as it could be.” However, he said it has “no immediate impact,” because “federal courts have already issued orders saying the ban cannot be enforced.”

On Friday, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. David Eastburn echoed Minter’s assessment, saying the announcement of a new policy would have no immediate practical effect on the military, because the Pentagon is obliged to continue to recruit and retain transgender people in accordance with current law.

Minter said he does not expect any impact on currently enlisted soldiers or those attempting to enlist in the near future. However, because of what he called the plan’s “complete repudiation of transgender identity,” Minter said transgender troops may face additional stigma.

 Nicolas Talbott Courtesy of Nicolas Talbott

Nicolas Talbott, a 24-year-old transgender recruit from Lisbon, Ohio, said for now his enlistment process continues to advance.

“It’s going great,” he told NBC News. “I’m working with a wonderful recruiter, and at this moment we are waiting to … schedule a date for my physical exam and written test.”

Talbott said Friday’s documents were discouraging and felt like “another bump in the road,” but he said this just “reaffirms the fight is not over.”

“I am very optimistic that I’m going to get into the U.S. Air Force,” Talbott said. “There is nothing about being transgender in any way, shape or form that impacts an individual’s ability to serve.”

Nardecchia, agreed, saying “there is no medical or scientific support for presuming that transgender people are unfit.” Gender dysphoria, she added, “is a fully treatable condition that only some transgender people experience.”

“LEGALLY IRRELEVANT”

Civil rights groups, including the ACLU, Lambda Legal, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), NCLR and Equality California brought four different lawsuits before federal courts last year in attempts to block the transgender military ban. The courts issued preliminary injunctions, which prevent even this newly released implementation plan from taking effect.

Late last year, two different federal courts rebuffed the administration’s efforts to delay the enlistment of transgender troops, and the Justice Department declined to appeal those decisions[11]. Openly transgender troops began to enlist on January 1.

“Anything that the government comes forward with now is legally irrelevant,” Nardecchia said, adding that the burden is on the government to demonstrate a persuasive justification to stop allowing transgender troops to serve openly.

Nardecchia called Friday’s report “reverse engineering” in an attempt by the government to provide the courts with a valid justification for the ban.

“WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING”

On Tuesday, Nardecchia and other attorneys from Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, which together represent nine transgender service members, will seek a permanent injunction against the ban.

“We are asking for the court to grant a summary judgment — without going to trial — and to permanently prevent the ban from going into law,” she explained.

Nardecchia said she doesn’t know when the court might hand down a decision, but she’s “optimistic.”

“We will keep fighting until we get a final judgment,” she added.

The release of the new transgender military policy, according to Minter, is good for LGBTQ advocates fighting the ban. “We now know exactly what we have to rebut in the court,” he said.

Minter is working on a separate case from Nardecchia, Doe v. Trump. The lawsuit, which was filed by NCLR and GLAD, was the first to challenge the ban.

“We are proceeding with discovery, which is all the more important now,” he said. “Where did they come up with these discredited views? What was this process? Who was involved?”

Minter expects the government — as it did in its refusal to disclose its “panel of experts” — to appeal any decision not in its favor.

“Eventually it is likely that it will reach the Supreme Court,” he said of the transgender military ban.

FOLLOW NBC OUT[12] ON TWITTER[13], FACEBOOK[14] AND INSTAGRAM[15]

References

  1. ^ ban on transgender people serving in the military (www.nbcnews.com)
  2. ^ memo (www.lambdalegal.org)
  3. ^ document (www.lambdalegal.org)
  4. ^ statement (www.whitehouse.gov)
  5. ^ court order (www.washingtonblade.com)
  6. ^ filed a response (www.washingtonblade.com)
  7. ^ published by Slate (slate.com)
  8. ^ Mike Pence (www.nbcnews.com)
  9. ^ Ryan T. Anderson (thinkprogress.org)
  10. ^ Tony Perkins (www.glaad.org)
  11. ^ declined to appeal those decisions (www.nbcnews.com)
  12. ^ NBC OUT (www.nbcnews.com)
  13. ^ TWITTER (twitter.com)
  14. ^ FACEBOOK (www.facebook.com)
  15. ^ INSTAGRAM (www.instagram.com)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enenmy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

God of War Combat Team Talk Versatile Encounters & Throwable Axe

God of War Combat

While there are definite similarities to previous games in the series, God of War has substantial changes when it comes to combat. From the throwable axe to Kratos’ son, Atreus, who is valuable as both a distraction and a weapon, there’s plenty of nuance that players will have to get used to.

I had the pleasure of talking to three members of the action game’s combat team: Lead Gameplay Designer Jason McDonald, Combat Designer Kate Salsman, and Lead Systems Designer Vince Napoli. Check out my interview below to learn more about God of War‘s combat system.

Tyler Treese: With my hands-on time with the game, what really impressed me was how every encounter felt unique in that it never felt like filler content. What went into designing the combat exchanges, and making sure they never felt cookie cutter in design?

Jason McDonald, Lead Gameplay Designer: Yeah, I mean a big part of this game was trying to make sure that the enemies had nuance. That you could play the same character multiple times and have fun depending on how many respawn or where they are. So for example, like for the Draugr in a roof pass area, you’ll see some up high, which kind of emphasize the ranged abilities. You’ll see guys spawn near pits where you can knock them out the arena, you’ll see the heavy guys come in and that kind of forces your strategy to change. There are ones that have the kind of arm fire power that throw the fireballs at you, that’ll change everything up. So, what we try to do is just make sure that encounter to encounter we do something that kind of puts an emphasis on a different set of Kratos’ abilities so you can have that variety you’re talking about.

You talked about the range of abilities, which is certainly something the series has had in the past, but it feels like there’s more of a focus on it here and there’s more dimensions to the range of attacks like the axe. Can you discuss designing those and what it took to come up with that the axe?

Jason McDonald: Throwable axe, you say? Well, this is the guy that came up with idea and kind of iterated upon.

Vince Napoli, Lead Systems Designer: I mean we knew that we wanted a closer camera, so we knew that was going to kind of really change everything. We went how do we integrate sort of that camera feel into the gameplay and sort of how do we modernize action games and kind of combine a little bit of shooter elements? I think right from the get go it was like, “Okay, we want ranged and melee to kind of be hand in hand,” and that’s when we started having the ability to just kind like recall [the axe]. The fact that you can trip enemies and then bring it back and hit them on the way back, or if enemies have shields you can hit them from behind. Combining that with the punching, we basically sort of found our niche where it’s basically a ranged melee game, which is usually really tough to do.

God of War Combat

I felt like there was a lot of freedom in combat because even a mistake can be advantageous. Since you can recall the axe. Were all the mechanics designed with that in mind of letting the player have that sort of freedom?

Vince Napoli: Yeah. I mean that’s why we wanted to really emphasize the ability to throw the axe and leave it. Basically be able to, not only impale enemies but leave it stuck in the world. You can line up enemies and kind of recall it through all of them. Even objects or breakables that you can hit with it. That was the idea. If we can make the axe fully sandbox playable then the amount of stuff that you kind of come up with. I mean, early on [director] Cory [Barlog] kind of fell in love with the recalling through enemies, and once we knew that was in there we’re like, “OK, well this has to stay and we have to even create like the witch and other characters to kind of deal with it in really clever ways too.”

Jason McDonald: And that close camera perspective helps us too because the fact that you can’t see enemies behind you and there’s that nuance to it. Wherever you’re evading, wherever you’re moving around and you end up in different places and environment almost every single time you play. So, even if you’re playing the same counter over and over, it usually doesn’t act in the same way because the way of the enemy’s moving. Where you move changes all of your opportunities, whether they’re going to take a pit or a wall or anything else like range or your melee. It keeps changing enough which feels good,

The series is definitely known for its boss encounters. We’re still seeing that huge scale and size here, but it’s very different due to the perspective change. How difficult was it implementing such dangerous enemies while still staying true to the new style of combat?

Jason McDonald: Yeah, it was a challenge. Like this game is definitely a fresh start for us to kind of just start from the beginning and go “OK, you know, with Cory’s new narrative and new kind of overall direction of the game, like what can we do to just make everything feel different and make everything still retain the same God of War feel before but from this new perspective?” So because of that, it’s like a tuning how large an enemy could even be before it gets too annoying to look up at him, or how many enemies can attack you from all directions, or what you should be targeting. We’ve made significant effort to kind of apply that to every new design.

God of War Combat

Cory stated that it took awhile for the combat to really come together, and really feel satisfying. Can you talk about the challenges of development and how far it’s come?

Jason McDonald: Well, he’s wrong. Like it was perfect [whole team laughs] right down to everything. Yeah. I mean I think the first thing was just trying to figure out what was going to be the details of this game. You know, we knew that we’re going to try to bring the camera close. We did that right away and the first instinct was well we shouldn’t do this, you know, because we had the same old behavior pattern that we have for the enemies and things like that. So we were playing with that, with that close camera perspective and just seeing that OK this isn’t really working too well, maybe we should just go back to what we did before and we actually started doing that, like three iterations of like little internal play tests. We would start bringing the camera back and start changing things and then then it got so far back that were like, OK, now this is looking exactly like the older games.

So, what can we do now? So what we did is we actually brought [the camera] way in and we brought it in closer than we even started to try to not do this hybrid thing, which is kind of far. We just went in close and we got a lot of people to play it and try to see like, “OK, from this perspective, like what do you think?” And like he was saying, once we added the axe throw capability that really worked really well for that perspective. It allowed Kratos to handle enemies at distance and close ranges like he used to do in the past. It just started to take off from there once we started just actually battling the problem of, “OK, what do you need to do?” That’s when all this stuff started to become more important because now that you’re right down in there, you can kind of really get the depth perception of those. I would just do this is right next to the wall and take advantage of that, and all that decision making started to take off.

Vince Napoli: It also turned the corner to you when the son became [a part of gameplay]. I don’t know how much you use him in combat, but he’s actually like a massive tool that you have. He’s got a lot of abilities and a lot of behaviors that aren’t really accustomed to a lot of the enemies. Once we realized that with this limited camera perspective, having another character that can draw agro, protect you, call things out, or on command interrupted people and stun them was huge. So like once that tool came online, all of a sudden the cameras and stuff didn’t really become a hindrance. It became part of the gameplay of using him correctly. Like how well can you manipulate him just as well as your own character? I think that was like a big step.

God of War Combat

Atreus is definitely helpful dealing with the witch, which was one of the more difficult encounters I had. Tell me a bit about designing that fight because it’s such a different encounter compared to what you face early on?

Kate Salsman, Combat Designer: Well, we tried to design her as more of an enforcer character who enforces a certain mechanic in the game. And so up to that point you’re mostly spent fighting Draugr s and you’re using your light and heavy attacks and axes, but to actually encounter an enemy where, “OK, that doesn’t work now, now I have to use another mechanic to fight her.” It’s kind of interesting and trains you to start considering other strategies and combat.

So, we had a lot of iteration time early on because initially we were like, “OK, she dodges most of the time but not all the time.” And that could be confusing. So, we ended up going more towards the route of “OK, she’s an on/off type, a tight mechanic where unless you use the son to break her armor with his command arrows, then you just can’t hit her. So that becomes really interesting once you start seeing her with the Draugr in the other fight because it just forces you to change up your strategy.

Can you talk about the design because it kind of teaches the player without going into an in your face tutorial because you’re organically teaching that player to use that mechanic. How important that is to the overall game design?

Kate Salsman: I will say that, she’s kind of the first creature that teaches you, “Okay, I really do need to use the son arrows.” I mean before, he’s helpful in distracting enemies, but with her it kind of teaches you, “OK, this mechanic really is important,” and I will say that. We can only speak about what’s [in the demo] at this time, but using the son is important.

Jason McDonald: Right at the beginning of the game we do kind of throw lots of tutorials at you because we want to make sure that you understand how this new God of War plays. So throughout the game we try to do things like that revenant where you know, naturally the son becomes more important, sometimes more of a forced importance and it kind of reminds you that he’s there. What we find is when people play the game and they fight her, it’s like if they maybe stopped using Atreus for awhile, they remember it right when you fight her and then after that they’re using it. And again it kind of creates this pacing where sometimes you might just be enjoying what he’s doing in the background and not really engaging with them as much, but then once you encounter characters like that, you start engaging with them and more, and then you start naturally engaging even more after that.

God of War is such a popular franchise and it has a very passionate fan base. And since you’re rocking the boat a lot with this sequel, some of the fans have been displeased. Do you feel like once they get their hands on it, they’ll feel that like there is still that God of War DNA in it and that the combat feels familiar? Because I definitely felt that when I was playing that like there were moments where it was like, “Oh yeah, this is totally God of War.” Like there’s a new wrapping and I think it plays better than past games but a sense of familiarity is definitely there.

Jason McDonald: That’s fantastic, and that’s exactly what I expect everybody to feel now. When you see the trailers and you see the kind of perspective, it’s understandable that you would look at that and go “Well no other games look like that. So how is this game going and be like, what is this game?” So I think that through four plus years of effort, we’ve been trying to make sure that with this new storytelling, with this new narrative, new mythology, like everything that’s new in this game, that it still has that God of War DNA. As the game continues, you’ll just see more and more of that.

Were there any other action games that had an influence on the design, and figuring out the new camera?

Jason McDonald: I don’t think so. The main thing that drew us to make decisions in this game, was just really getting to this new direction that Cory was bringing to the series. Like you really wanted to get up close and personal and you really wanted to get close to Atreus. So like he wanted all of these things in order to do that. Like I was saying, when we started playing with the camera distances and having a far back and close and whatever, and then we just ended up kind of gravitating to decisions that just helped with the core design philosophy of just like right up there, up and close brutality. Atreus right nearby at all times and always going with that.


We’d like to give a major thank you to Jason, Vince, Kate and the team at Santa Monica Studio for letting us see God of War early. For even more coverage, check out our hands-on preview[1] of the opening hours, and read our interview with director Cory Barlog[2].

Disclosure: Travel and accommodation was provided by Sony for the trip.

References

  1. ^ hands-on preview (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
  2. ^ our interview with director Cory Barlog (www.playstationlifestyle.net)
0

Army Wants Armed Ground Robot Prototype by 2019

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

BAE’s Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle (ARCV), originally developed for the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program

WASHINGTON: After 20 years of cancelled programs, the Army[1] now wants prototypes of all-new robotic[2] and “optionally manned” combat vehicles by 2019 so soldiers can begin field-testing them in 2020. Compared to current vehicles, they’ll be lighter, smaller[3] and optimized for urban combat, said Brig. Gen. David Lesperance[4], head of the armor school at Fort Benning, Ga. and the hand-picked head of the service’s Cross-Functional Team[5] on future ground vehicles.

Army photo

Brig. Gen. David Lesperance

Both established defense contractors and non-traditional companies are currently working on concepts, he told me and two other reporters this afternoon, and there’ll be intense experimentation, modeling, and simulation in the next “six to 12 months.”

Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley[6] created the Cross Functional Teams last fall to advance his Big Six modernization priorities. What’s called Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) is No. 2, second only to long-range artillery and missiles[7]. Until this week, however, the CFTs have kept quiet. But Gen. Milley promised the Army would seek “radical,” ten-fold improvements[8] in technology on a tight timeline. Lesperance’s proposal would definitely deliver on that promise — if it works.

Army slide showing the elements of the (later canceled) Future Combat System

Risk Factors

The problem is the post-Cold War Army’s track record[9] on new armored fighting vehicles is unblemished by success. (The successful Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle[10] is essentially a modified Bradley, not an all new design). While continually upgrading and modernizing[11] the 1980s-vintage M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley, the Pentagon has cancelled the M8 Armored Gun System (1997[12]), the Crusader howitzer (2002[13]), the Future Combat Systems (2009[14]), and the Ground Combat Vehicle (2013[15]). FCS in particular is the dead elephant in the room, because it was the Army’s last attempt at this kind of technological great leap forward, specifically including both manned and robotic vehicles.

Army photo

Gen. Mark Milley

Milley has said specifically his Big Six modernization program won’t repeat the mistakes of FCS, and there are grounds for hope. First, technology is just better. The private sector has made dramatic advances in computing power, artificial intelligenc and ground robots since FCS was cancelled in 2009, when the iPhone was in its infancy and self-driving cars were a fantasy.

The Army, for its part, is taking care to prototype the new technology before it commits to an acquisition program, unlike FCS. It has also abandoned the cumbersome mega-program approach of FCS, which was a single contract for eight manned vehicles, multiple ground robots and drones, and a mobile network to link them all. The Cross Functional Teams, by contrast, are loosely coupled. Lesperance’s combat vehicle team holds weekly video conferences with the others, and it’s working closely with the CFTs for the soldiers[16] who’ll ride in it, the network[17] that’ll connect it, and the simulators everyone will train in. But they are separate efforts that won’t all collapse with the failure of the weakest link.

Mark Esper

Only this week are the CFTs beginning to talk to selected press. They’re opening up in anticipation of the AUSA conference in Huntsville, Ala. March 26th-28, where the Army will formally unveil the org chart for its new Futures Command[18], to which the CFTs will belong, along with other Army entities as yet unspecified.

“Futures Command is a critical component (of modernization), but we are impatient and speed is critical, which is why we have these Cross Functional Teams stood up now,” Army Secretary Mark Esper[19] told the House defense appropriations subcommittee this morning. They’re called cross-functional because each CFT combines combat veterans, military futurists, scientists, technologists, and acquisition professionals — disciplines historically scattered around the Army — in order to short-circuit the bureaucracy and accelerate modernization. The goal, Esper told Congress, is to cut the time to field a new weapon system from 10-15 years down to five to eight.

BAE Systems image

BAE’s design for the cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle

Robots & Humans

Brig. Gen. Lesperance — whose name means “hope” in French — understandably declined to commit himself to a fielding date today. But he wants what he calls “experimental prototypes” in “shakedown testing” in 2019, followed by full-up field tests with an operational combat unit in 2020. (That’s two years ahead of the original Next Generation Ground Vehicle timeline[20], which didn’t even include robotics). The Army will take the troops’ feedback and refine the design, tentatively aiming for a second round of field tests in 2022 and a third in 2024. Only then will the Army decide whether the vehicles are ready to produce.

M2 Bradley in Iraq

Lesperance also declined to discuss the vehicles’ weight, armament, or power plant, saying those all remain to be decided. He’s still waiting for the industry concepts to come back and he doesn’t want to prejudge them or cramp their creativity, he said. He wouldn’t even say whether the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle would replace the M1 Abrams heavy tank or the M2 Bradley troop carrier, two very different roles. (Historically the Army’s prioritized replacing the Bradley[21], which has been upgraded so many times its electrical system and drivetrain are at their limits).

What Lesperance would say, however, was eye-opening enough. Over and over, he emphasized the new combat vehicles must be “optimized for fighting in dense urban terrain,” in contrast to current vehicles optimized for open-field blitzkrieg across Europe. Fighting in narrow streets, in turn, requires smaller vehicles than the massive M1, as does the need to deploy rapidly by air and to keep operating despite frequent disruptions to supply lines[22].

One way to reduce the weight is to take out the humans — not because people weigh a lot, but because the armor to protect them does. A robotic vehicle can be smaller, lighter, cheaper, and expendable, scouting ahead of the human force and springing traps like roadside bombs, landmines, and ambushes. It would be armed, Lesperance said, but a human soldier would always be “in the loop” and make any decision to use lethal force[23]. Initially, the Robotic Combat Vehicle will probably require close human supervision, he said, but as artificial intelligence improves, he envisions the robots acting more and more autonomously.

Army photo

Army M1 Abrams tank with a trial installation of the Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection System (APS)

The Next Generation Combat Vehicle itself, by contrast, will be “optionally manned.” It’ll have the space, seats, and above all the protection to carry human troops, but it’ll also have enough artificial intelligence to navigate the battlefield without them. Depending on the tactical situation, commanders may decide to send in the vehicles unmanned, with few human crew, or with a passenger compartment full of infantry ready to jump out and assault.

Lesperance doesn’t know yet how many soldiers the NGCV troop carrier should fit, a hotly contested question. The tracked M2 Bradley can manage a fire team of four or five, the larger but more lightly armed eight-wheel-drive Stryker[24] can carry a full squad of nine. Trying to combine better-than-Bradley protection with a Stryker-sized passenger compartment drove the cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle[25] north of 60 tons, so the Army is now studying trade-offs among passenger capacity, protection, size, weight, and cost.

The robotic[26] and optionally-manned[27] machines are intended to complement each other, Lesperance said, but they’re “not inextricably linked.” In other words, one program might be delayed or even cancelled without dooming the other. Given the stakes and risks, that’s probably prudent.

References

  1. ^ Army (breakingdefense.com)
  2. ^ robotic (breakingdefense.com)
  3. ^ lighter, smaller (breakingdefense.com)
  4. ^ Brig. Gen. David Lesperance (www.benning.army.mil)
  5. ^ Cross-Functional Team (breakingdefense.com)
  6. ^ Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley (breakingdefense.com)
  7. ^ long-range artillery and missiles (breakingdefense.com)
  8. ^ “radical,” ten-fold improvements (breakingdefense.com)
  9. ^ track record (breakingdefense.com)
  10. ^ Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (breakingdefense.com)
  11. ^ upgrading and modernizing (breakingdefense.com)
  12. ^ 1997 (olive-drab.com)
  13. ^ 2002 (edition.cnn.com)
  14. ^ 2009 (breakingdefense.com)
  15. ^ 2013 (breakingdefense.com)
  16. ^ soldiers (breakingdefense.com)
  17. ^ network (breakingdefense.com)
  18. ^ Futures Command (breakingdefense.com)
  19. ^ Army Secretary Mark Esper (breakingdefense.com)
  20. ^ original Next Generation Ground Vehicle timeline (breakingdefense.com)
  21. ^ replacing the Bradley (breakingdefense.com)
  22. ^ frequent disruptions to supply lines (breakingdefense.com)
  23. ^ decision to use lethal force (breakingdefense.com)
  24. ^ Stryker (breakingdefense.com)
  25. ^ Ground Combat Vehicle (breakingdefense.com)
  26. ^ robotic (breakingdefense.com)
  27. ^ optionally-manned (breakingdefense.com)
0

'First-of-its-kind' training: 2 brigades head from Camp Shelby to Fort Bliss

From staff reports Published 3:01 p.m. CT March 10, 2018

CLOSE

The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade practice remobilization training at Camp Shelby on Monday. The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas afterwards to continue their training. Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American

Two Mississippi-based brigades are heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, to train with each other in a first-of-its-kind exercise.

First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby will advise and assist the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored  Brigade Combat Team out of Tupelo.

“The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict,” said Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, in an email. “The 155th has been working toward this end for over three years, and over the next three months, we in the 177th are honored to advise and assist them as they make final preparations for their upcoming deployment.”

The number of soldiers, the large-scale exercises and the closeness of the two brigades make this training mission unique.

Most recently, the two brigades have been training at Camp Shelby in preparation for their move to Fort Bliss.

“Both our formations totaling near 4,300 soldiers have been working together to plan and execute training that will prepare them for deployment,” Vantress said.

More: Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft[1]

The entirety of the 177th, with augmentation from First Army Division East, is assembling at Fort Bliss and will partner with the 155th for nearly 90 days.

“This is not a normal event,” Vantress said. “It is a first-of-its-kind to insure the 155th is as prepared as can be to deploy on a contingency mission.”

The 155th is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Story continues below photo gallery.

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Show Captions

[2][3]

Fort Bliss was chosen for the training because it is the only suitable installation, Vantress said.

“We are conducting the training at Fort Bliss due to the size of the training requirement,” he said. “Fort Bliss is one of only a few installations in the United States that can train an Armored Brigade Combat Team with its vast expanse of training areas as well as the necessary number and sizes of live fire ranges for tanks and artillery.

“The environment also replicates the environment the 155th will deploy to and conduct their operations.”

More: Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby[4]

Vantress said the two brigades have been living and working together at Camp Shelby for some time.

“Partnering with the 155th is special for our brigade because they are the hometown partners,” Vantress said. “Our brigade partners with units across seven primary states  and two territories, so the opportunity to work with a partner that we are very close to and live amongst is exciting.”

Vantress said the soldiers of the 177th are technical experts with years of deployment experience. After assisting the 155th, they will return to serve other Army National Guard and Army Reserve partners for the foreseeable future.

“Our reserve force is more important now than it ever was to generate a force capable of deterring our nation’s enemies, and if called upon, defeating our adversaries to protect the American people and our way of life,” Vantress said.

Click it

On Facebook 

177th Armored Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs[5]

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/[6]

On Twitter

177th Armored Brigade: @177th_BDE_CDR

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: @155ABCT

 

Read or Share this story: http://hatne.ws/2Gf9zpI

References

  1. ^ Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  2. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  3. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  4. ^ Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/ (www.facebook.com)
0

'First-of-its-kind' training: 2 brigades head from Camp Shelby to Fort Bliss

From staff reports Published 3:01 p.m. CT March 10, 2018

CLOSE

The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade practice remobilization training at Camp Shelby on Monday. The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas afterwards to continue their training. Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American

Two Mississippi-based brigades are heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, to train with each other in a first-of-its-kind exercise.

First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby will advise and assist the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored  Brigade Combat Team out of Tupelo.

“The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict,” said Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, in an email. “The 155th has been working toward this end for over three years, and over the next three months, we in the 177th are honored to advise and assist them as they make final preparations for their upcoming deployment.”

The number of soldiers, the large-scale exercises and the closeness of the two brigades make this training mission unique.

Most recently, the two brigades have been training at Camp Shelby in preparation for their move to Fort Bliss.

“Both our formations totaling near 4,300 soldiers have been working together to plan and execute training that will prepare them for deployment,” Vantress said.

More: Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft[1]

The entirety of the 177th, with augmentation from First Army Division East, is assembling at Fort Bliss and will partner with the 155th for nearly 90 days.

“This is not a normal event,” Vantress said. “It is a first-of-its-kind to insure the 155th is as prepared as can be to deploy on a contingency mission.”

The 155th is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Story continues below photo gallery.

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

[2][3]

Fort Bliss was chosen for the training because it is the only suitable installation, Vantress said.

“We are conducting the training at Fort Bliss due to the size of the training requirement,” he said. “Fort Bliss is one of only a few installations in the United States that can train an Armored Brigade Combat Team with its vast expanse of training areas as well as the necessary number and sizes of live fire ranges for tanks and artillery.

“The environment also replicates the environment the 155th will deploy to and conduct their operations.”

More: Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby[4]

Vantress said the two brigades have been living and working together at Camp Shelby for some time.

“Partnering with the 155th is special for our brigade because they are the hometown partners,” Vantress said. “Our brigade partners with units across seven primary states  and two territories, so the opportunity to work with a partner that we are very close to and live amongst is exciting.”

Vantress said the soldiers of the 177th are technical experts with years of deployment experience. After assisting the 155th, they will return to serve other Army National Guard and Army Reserve partners for the foreseeable future.

“Our reserve force is more important now than it ever was to generate a force capable of deterring our nation’s enemies, and if called upon, defeating our adversaries to protect the American people and our way of life,” Vantress said.

Click it

On Facebook 

177th Armored Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs[5]

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/[6]

On Twitter

177th Armored Brigade: @177th_BDE_CDR

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: @155ABCT

 

Read or Share this story: http://hatne.ws/2Gf9zpI

References

  1. ^ Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  2. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  3. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  4. ^ Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/ (www.facebook.com)
0

'First-of-its-kind' training: 2 brigades head from Camp Shelby to Fort Bliss

From staff reports Published 3:01 p.m. CT March 10, 2018

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The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade practice remobilization training at Camp Shelby on Monday. The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas afterwards to continue their training. Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American

Two Mississippi-based brigades are heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, to train with each other in a first-of-its-kind exercise.

First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby will advise and assist the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored  Brigade Combat Team out of Tupelo.

“The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict,” said Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, in an email. “The 155th has been working toward this end for over three years, and over the next three months, we in the 177th are honored to advise and assist them as they make final preparations for their upcoming deployment.”

The number of soldiers, the large-scale exercises and the closeness of the two brigades make this training mission unique.

Most recently, the two brigades have been training at Camp Shelby in preparation for their move to Fort Bliss.

“Both our formations totaling near 4,300 soldiers have been working together to plan and execute training that will prepare them for deployment,” Vantress said.

More: Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft[1]

The entirety of the 177th, with augmentation from First Army Division East, is assembling at Fort Bliss and will partner with the 155th for nearly 90 days.

“This is not a normal event,” Vantress said. “It is a first-of-its-kind to insure the 155th is as prepared as can be to deploy on a contingency mission.”

The 155th is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

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[2][3]

Fort Bliss was chosen for the training because it is the only suitable installation, Vantress said.

“We are conducting the training at Fort Bliss due to the size of the training requirement,” he said. “Fort Bliss is one of only a few installations in the United States that can train an Armored Brigade Combat Team with its vast expanse of training areas as well as the necessary number and sizes of live fire ranges for tanks and artillery.

“The environment also replicates the environment the 155th will deploy to and conduct their operations.”

More: Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby[4]

Vantress said the two brigades have been living and working together at Camp Shelby for some time.

“Partnering with the 155th is special for our brigade because they are the hometown partners,” Vantress said. “Our brigade partners with units across seven primary states  and two territories, so the opportunity to work with a partner that we are very close to and live amongst is exciting.”

Vantress said the soldiers of the 177th are technical experts with years of deployment experience. After assisting the 155th, they will return to serve other Army National Guard and Army Reserve partners for the foreseeable future.

“Our reserve force is more important now than it ever was to generate a force capable of deterring our nation’s enemies, and if called upon, defeating our adversaries to protect the American people and our way of life,” Vantress said.

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On Facebook 

177th Armored Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs[5]

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/[6]

On Twitter

177th Armored Brigade: @177th_BDE_CDR

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: @155ABCT

 

Read or Share this story: http://hatne.ws/2Gf9zpI

References

  1. ^ Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  2. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  3. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  4. ^ Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/ (www.facebook.com)
0

'First-of-its-kind' training: 2 brigades head from Camp Shelby to Fort Bliss

From staff reports Published 3:01 p.m. CT March 10, 2018

CLOSE

The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade practice remobilization training at Camp Shelby on Monday. The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas afterwards to continue their training. Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American

Two Mississippi-based brigades are heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, to train with each other in a first-of-its-kind exercise.

First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby will advise and assist the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored  Brigade Combat Team out of Tupelo.

“The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict,” said Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, in an email. “The 155th has been working toward this end for over three years, and over the next three months, we in the 177th are honored to advise and assist them as they make final preparations for their upcoming deployment.”

The number of soldiers, the large-scale exercises and the closeness of the two brigades make this training mission unique.

Most recently, the two brigades have been training at Camp Shelby in preparation for their move to Fort Bliss.

“Both our formations totaling near 4,300 soldiers have been working together to plan and execute training that will prepare them for deployment,” Vantress said.

More: Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft[1]

The entirety of the 177th, with augmentation from First Army Division East, is assembling at Fort Bliss and will partner with the 155th for nearly 90 days.

“This is not a normal event,” Vantress said. “It is a first-of-its-kind to insure the 155th is as prepared as can be to deploy on a contingency mission.”

The 155th is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Story continues below photo gallery.

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

[2][3]

Fort Bliss was chosen for the training because it is the only suitable installation, Vantress said.

“We are conducting the training at Fort Bliss due to the size of the training requirement,” he said. “Fort Bliss is one of only a few installations in the United States that can train an Armored Brigade Combat Team with its vast expanse of training areas as well as the necessary number and sizes of live fire ranges for tanks and artillery.

“The environment also replicates the environment the 155th will deploy to and conduct their operations.”

More: Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby[4]

Vantress said the two brigades have been living and working together at Camp Shelby for some time.

“Partnering with the 155th is special for our brigade because they are the hometown partners,” Vantress said. “Our brigade partners with units across seven primary states  and two territories, so the opportunity to work with a partner that we are very close to and live amongst is exciting.”

Vantress said the soldiers of the 177th are technical experts with years of deployment experience. After assisting the 155th, they will return to serve other Army National Guard and Army Reserve partners for the foreseeable future.

“Our reserve force is more important now than it ever was to generate a force capable of deterring our nation’s enemies, and if called upon, defeating our adversaries to protect the American people and our way of life,” Vantress said.

Click it

On Facebook 

177th Armored Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs[5]

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/[6]

On Twitter

177th Armored Brigade: @177th_BDE_CDR

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: @155ABCT

 

Read or Share this story: http://hatne.ws/2Gf9zpI

References

  1. ^ Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  2. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  3. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  4. ^ Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/ (www.facebook.com)
0

'First-of-its-kind' training: 2 brigades head from Camp Shelby to Fort Bliss

From staff reports Published 3:01 p.m. CT March 10, 2018

CLOSE

The Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team and First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade practice remobilization training at Camp Shelby on Monday. The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Fort Bliss, Texas afterwards to continue their training. Susan Broadbridge/Hattiesburg American

Two Mississippi-based brigades are heading to Fort Bliss, Texas, to train with each other in a first-of-its-kind exercise.

First Army’s 177th Armored Brigade from Camp Shelby will advise and assist the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored  Brigade Combat Team out of Tupelo.

“The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team will be the first Army National Guard Armored Brigade Combat Team to train and deploy prepared for decisive action operations that include operating all along the continuum of conflict,” said Col. Jack Vantress, 177th Armored Brigade commander, in an email. “The 155th has been working toward this end for over three years, and over the next three months, we in the 177th are honored to advise and assist them as they make final preparations for their upcoming deployment.”

The number of soldiers, the large-scale exercises and the closeness of the two brigades make this training mission unique.

Most recently, the two brigades have been training at Camp Shelby in preparation for their move to Fort Bliss.

“Both our formations totaling near 4,300 soldiers have been working together to plan and execute training that will prepare them for deployment,” Vantress said.

More: Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft[1]

The entirety of the 177th, with augmentation from First Army Division East, is assembling at Fort Bliss and will partner with the 155th for nearly 90 days.

“This is not a normal event,” Vantress said. “It is a first-of-its-kind to insure the 155th is as prepared as can be to deploy on a contingency mission.”

The 155th is preparing for an upcoming deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

Story continues below photo gallery.

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

[2][3]

Fort Bliss was chosen for the training because it is the only suitable installation, Vantress said.

“We are conducting the training at Fort Bliss due to the size of the training requirement,” he said. “Fort Bliss is one of only a few installations in the United States that can train an Armored Brigade Combat Team with its vast expanse of training areas as well as the necessary number and sizes of live fire ranges for tanks and artillery.

“The environment also replicates the environment the 155th will deploy to and conduct their operations.”

More: Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby[4]

Vantress said the two brigades have been living and working together at Camp Shelby for some time.

“Partnering with the 155th is special for our brigade because they are the hometown partners,” Vantress said. “Our brigade partners with units across seven primary states  and two territories, so the opportunity to work with a partner that we are very close to and live amongst is exciting.”

Vantress said the soldiers of the 177th are technical experts with years of deployment experience. After assisting the 155th, they will return to serve other Army National Guard and Army Reserve partners for the foreseeable future.

“Our reserve force is more important now than it ever was to generate a force capable of deterring our nation’s enemies, and if called upon, defeating our adversaries to protect the American people and our way of life,” Vantress said.

Click it

On Facebook 

177th Armored Brigade: https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs[5]

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/[6]

On Twitter

177th Armored Brigade: @177th_BDE_CDR

155th Armored Brigade Combat Team: @155ABCT

 

Read or Share this story: http://hatne.ws/2Gf9zpI

References

  1. ^ Camp Shelby, Homeland Security test unmanned aircraft (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  2. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  3. ^ (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  4. ^ Country’s only Unmanned Aircraft Regional Flight Center opens at Camp Shelby (www.hattiesburgamerican.com)
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/177ARBde/?ref=br_rs (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ https://www.facebook.com/155ABCT/ (www.facebook.com)