Pre-deployment Training Day

A U.S. Army unit on its pre-deployment training doing the Combat Stress Program at the Urban Warfare Center.

Pre-deployment Training Day

A U.S. Army unit is trained but he Urban Warfare Center staff using the same Urban Warfare principles at Camp Williams in Utah.

Hostage Rescue Training

Training up some Hollywood actors to play Special Operations Operators for the movie "The 11th Hour" at the Urban Warfare Center.

Lives were saved in this facility through effect force-on-force stress inoculation training.  

"Stress responses were imposed upon the students by overwhelming sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. These responses were then identified through hot washes or debriefings immediately after the force-on-force scenarios.  Tools were then provided to help the students understand and overcome the negative effects of stress.  As a result these warriors would get into the fight quicker, and the artificial "combat" experiences would be retained permanently. This principle based approach increases combat survivability, stimulates cohesion and inspires confidence.  These improved responses resulted in greater overall mission success."  Jager - Founder of the Urban Warfare Center

Training at the Urban Warfare Center was unlike any other place. NO LIVE FIRE all the training is designed to create the most realistic environment possible. Using less than lethal tools and real humans as OPPOSING FORCE (OPFOR) this dynamic facility replicated the real world stress of close quarters fighting.

Range skills are important, but often agencies and the military do not get the stress training required to dominate a violent confrontation. The Urban Warfare Center provided a three dimensional environment that reacted to your decision processes and real-time reactions to threats.

This method of training ingrains lessons learned like no other experience other than the real ones in the field. We wanted to teach these vital lessons before the risk levels were permanent.

Attacking the Five Physical Senses


After the stress has been induced it is time to establish benchmarks for the individuals and teams as a whole. We talk about “how did you feel” during the fight. What physical symptoms did you experience?  Humility is the normal conclusion to the first event. The remainder of the day is spent talking about principles of dominance in the urban setting, then running more scenarios focused on driving home important conclusions related to those very principles they are struggling with. 

An example of a correct principle would be to stay out of “funnels” defined as windows and doorways. We reinforce this principle through firepower. Well placed shots by well trained and ego absent opposing forces (OPFOR) teach the principle clearly. 

As the day progresses so do the missions, until at the end of the day the unit is ready to repeat a mission similar to the first one. 

Because of this unique process of INDUCING, IDENTIFING, and INDOCTRINATING stress, the symptoms and tools to overcome this life threatening condition in battle are retained. Principles learned are retained quicker, and the training cycle is reduced. 

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, patrol officers, sailors and airmen do not get the type of training that 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.