Inside a large, tan tent at Fort Bragg, there are North Carolina National Guard Soldiers hard at work; calling out information as it comes across computer screens, holding meetings, checking communication equipment, conducting rehearsals and finalizing orders.
The Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team are preparing for war, and for the next several days they will be tested, observed and evaluated on their ability to lead. 
The war they are fighting comes in the form of training scenarios that they must react to as part of their Warfighter Training Exercise meant to test and prepare them for the larger event they will participate in next year.
This is the first of several training exercises, each one growing larger and involving more Soldiers, ensuring the 30th ABCT is ready should they need to answer the nation’s call.
Master Sgt. Brent Mast, battle noncommissioned officer for the 30th ABCT, is one of the many Soldiers making last-minute preparations before the official start of the exercise. He manages all the operations inside the tactical command post, monitoring communications from units underneath the 30th’s leadership and the sections that make up the headquarters.
“It is really a partnership between subordinate combatant leaders and the brigade command to ensure that everybody has the knowledge and equipment and manning that they need before they LD (Line of Departure) and are in contact with the enemy,” said Mast. 
Mast compares the LD to the beginning of a boxing match.
“You start a boxing match and the two boxers go up, they touch gloves and then they dance around, they try to get a read on each other,” Mast said. “Once that boxer moves forward and he actually reaches out and punches that other person, when you get within the range that the other boxer can hit you, that’s the LD. That’s when you can be decisively engaged.”
That line of departure is what the 30th ABCT is training for and it is different than the training these Soldiers have experienced in the past.
For Staff Sgt. Lindsey Salazar, a human resources noncommissioned officer with HHC, 30th ABCT, the whole experience is new as this is her first warfighter exercise.
“It is very beneficial because it’s a lot of people’s first time doing something to this magnitude,” Salazar said. “It is going to set our expectations for what needs to be executed when we go to the National Training Center. It’s just like everything you do in life, you need to practice doing it to become proficient in it and it is what’s required if we do get deployed.”
For many years Soldiers have focused on Counter Insurgency, or COIN, training and although that is still relevant, it is no longer the main focus.
“The COIN fight of the past 10 to 15 years is not something we’re completely focused on,” said Lt. Col Edward Wallace, the executive officer for the 30th ABCT. “As the threats have evolved, we have changed our training to support the additional response capability that we need to have. Given the global threats out there we’ve developed the decisive action training environment to help us shape how our training events happen, so we can better prepare for those contingencies.”
Mast, who has over 20 years of service, including two combat deployments with the National Guard, is hopeful that the change in training will make an impact on the Soldiers in his unit.
“One of the things I’ve seen was the focus being on satisfying outside entities that we had checked this block on this brief or that brief,” Mast said. “It became about rosters, not about rehearsals. We’re refining that now and I have faith that with enough training, and with the current leadership guiding our efforts, that the check the block mentality will give way to those rehearsals.” 
Rehearsing is exactly what this current training event is all about, building the unit’s readiness and ensuring that they work together like a well-oiled machine. 
“I’ve seen the brigade over the past six months really grow as a team to gel at both the staff level and at the units to help them build their proficiency, enhance their staff processes and develop operations,” Wallace said. “I think the training has been very beneficial for the unit and it will definitely pay dividends down the road.”
The training concludes with an After Action Review where leaders with in the 30th ABCT sit down with the active duty Soldiers observing the training and controlling the scenarios. 
“This is the baseline,” Mast said.
“The true refinement and improvement will occur after the AAR at the conclusion of this and it will be on those battalion commanders to ensure that they are sustaining what we know worked here and continuing to improve the things that they have identified as weakness.”