Established in 2002 as a less-than-lethal shoot house to test GEAR the Urban Warfare Center® (UWC) really became an official training center after a SWAT team came in to by some equipment. They noticed the "shoot house" and asked if they could use it. We readily agreed and the first of many less than lethal rounds and flash bangs were thrown that day. Since that time thousands of Military and Law Enforcement personnel have been trained in FORCE-ON-FORCE and stress inoculation inside the UWC.
We soon discovered (again) that training in a 360 degree environment where other humans think, move, communicate and shoot back is an essential part of training for real would fights.
The methods of “teaching” correct principles and behaviors in a tactical environment are some of the key attributes of the UWC. We believe tactics alone are not enough on today’s battlefield or the urban setting. Therefore we focus more on principles of success under stress than specific tactics. This can become “mental memory” just like repeating physical activities can produce “muscle memory” a common technique for tactical training.
Examples of some of these principles are:
- Two into danger
- Slow is smooth and smooth is fast
- Leave no one behind
- Nose and muzzle
- You do not have to look at someone to communicate
- Building strong points
- Probe to contact
- Tempo of the fight
- Any many more...
Another important consideration regarding this method of teaching is the fact that Special Operations units will get large doses of stress during selection and subsequent training. This enables them to dominate more quickly on the battlefield and respond with educated motor skills more rapidly to threats. Line soldiers, sailors and airmen do not get the type of training that normally brings stress levels to the brink of Fight, Flight or Freeze like special operations units do. Therefore they have to learn about these responses in the field and are subject to the “other” forces imposing their will upon them during this learning curve. For units to hit the ground running, they must be stress induced, have the responses identified and be given tools to overcome the negative responses. Furthermore they must build motor skills that reward the proper responses to stress and threats. I.e. engaging and eliminating the threat, taking cover, communicating etc…
In a very real way we can accomplish in one day what most elite units pride themselves on doing over a sustained period of time. We are never trying to induce stress to “wash” someone out of our program as elite units may be doing out of selection necessity. However, we are heaping large amounts of pressure on them, which will require them to work together or fail. Success is determined by teamwork, communicating, doing your job under pressure, and accomplishing the mission.
At the end of the story, the Urban Warfare Center™ was born out of adversity and a never ending hunger for the best, most stimulating and flexible facility, methodology and technologies that will shorten learning and increase retention. It teaches life saving principles related to combat operations and Urban Warfare.
We have had virtually every federal agency you can think of, thousands of soldiers and hundreds upon hundreds of police officers experience the Urban Warfare Center®.
This facility saves lives and is a direct result of two critical life lessons I have learned. First, I feel the need to prepare people to become effective under stress, because I had to develop these skills in the field and on the streets. Second, I wanted to remove every barrier to entry for warriors to experience these programs. That is why they are and have been free since its inception. If we do it right in the Urban Warfare Center® many fathers and mothers will be able to hug their own children when they return from duty on the streets or abroad.
As one Lt. Colonel said while watching his unit perform in the Urban Warfare Center®. “I am sure glad I got to see the strong and the weak in my unit before we deploy”. What a tool for commanders to “benchmark” soldiers before they hit the field. Where more training is needed on tactical skills they can then get those skills before they need them for real. Where more training is needed to overcome stress quicker and respond more effectively, that can be dealt with through practice under limited duress, and by building skills. One veteran of our program and subsequently Iraq found us at a trade show and made a simple, but powerful statement to us about the effectiveness of the facility and program. He said that “he and his unit were able to get into the fight quicker and be more productive under pressure as a result”. What more can you ask for?