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NMCB-5 completes NIEX, Test Ability to Interoperate with other Expeditionary Units

June 7, 2021 | By Petty Officer 1st Class Stephane Belcher Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 completed the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Integrated Exercise (NIEX) onboard Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, California, May 14.

The Seabees took part in the advanced phase integrated exercise assessment, ran by Expeditionary Warfighting Development Center (EXWDC), to show how they handle task-based integrated scenarios in a real-world deployed environment.

“We had very realistic scenarios to tie us into the next up-and-coming fight in the INDOPACOM area of operations,” said Ensign Corey Kite, NMCB-5’s communication officer, who also worked with EXWDC, the command’s immediate superior in charge of the scenarios. “We saw where we fit in the grand scheme of things and what we bring to the table as the Naval Construction Force–in the greater expeditionary fighting community.”

This exercise consisted of an Operational Planning Team (OPT) and a watch floor team. The OPT gets together to conduct mission analysis and present course of action decision briefs. Once they go through that process, they brief the Commanding Officer on the different injects, scenarios, and mission takings.

NIEX allowed the Seabees of NMCB-5 to see first-hand how the OPT and watch floor practice go through the Navy’s planning process.

“What we do is we enhance the fleet’s ability to reach out further,” said Kite. “We are a part of the logistics supply train, and we continue to update and expand their ability to reach out and touch things further and further away that the aircraft carrier cannot get close to.”

The Seabees support the Navy’s mission through various partnerships and construction, such as airfield damage repair and port damage repair. These projects give aircraft and ships places they can fuel up, resupply for their mission, and go out to fight the fight.

“We will be the first ones there to either build an expeditionary airfield or to make repairs to an already existing one,” said Kite. “We can even support the loss of capabilities that an airfield already has. We are there to continuously upkeep and maintain those facilities, to push out our warfighting capability beyond the horizon.”

The battalions are only one of the many platforms under NECC that play a part in the overall picture when deployed to Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief or Major Combat Operations.

NIEX is developed for all these NECC commands and certifies they can integrate with the Naval Expeditionary Combat Force (NECF) to support theater commanders in executing the National Defense Strategy. It enhances the command’s ability to operate simultaneously in the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force.

NIEX analyzed and graded how NMCB-5 handled command and control their units and communicate with other platforms. It familiarized them and helped them understand the capabilities and limitations of other expeditionary units under the NECF umbrella–all of which have a different set of skills and things that they can do that NMCB-5 does not get the opportunity to see day-in and day-out.