The U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group recently opened its Asymmetric Warfare Training Center in Virginia, which is a very technical way of saying it has built a 300-acre “fake city” to train soldiers – “the force of the future” – for potential scenarios that would involve combat in urban environments.
The $96 million facility at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia eerily resembles Anywhere, USA and contains a fake bank, soccer stadium, underground subway station with subway cars, train station with real train cars, an embassy and a mosque, according to the U.S. Army’s website.
“That’s what the Asymmetric Warfare Training Center is all about. This is the place where we can be creative, where we can come up with solutions for problems that we don’t even know we have yet,” Col. John P. Petkosek, the commander of AWG said at the facility’s ribbon cutting ceremony in January.
The facility will allow for the “transition from an Army of execution, doing what we’ve got to do, to an Army of preparation to be ready for what comes next,” he said.
Several years ago the AWG came under the command of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, a relationship Petkosek called “…a fantastic fit” because TRADOC institutionalizes the solutions AWG develops.
“Once we come up with those solutions we’re able roll them back into the institutional army so the next unit and the next unit doesn’t have to relearn those lessons; we capture them and share them with the rest of the Army,” he said.
Petkosek said that as the Army changes and moves into the future the AWG and Fort A.P. Hill will be instrumental in building the force of the future.
“The Strategic Landpower Task Force said we are looking in the future for ready, robust, responsive and regionally-engaged forces operating on the land. That’s what the Army needs for the future and this is the kind of place where we’re going to build those forces,” Petkosek said.
But when the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System published the video of the facility on its website, Americans were confused and questions were asked by commenters as to why the Army seems to be training in “U.S. cities.”
A screenshot below shows some of the comments: