Opposing force

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U.S. OPFOR soldiers playing the role of Iraqi insurgents in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Photo was taken during Operation Cajun Fury with one of the many training exercises that take place at Joint Readiness Training Command (JRTC).

An opposing force (alternatively enemy force, abbreviated OPFOR) is a military unit tasked with representing an enemy, usually for training purposes in war game scenarios. The related concept of aggressor squadron is used by some air forces. The United States maintains the Fort Irwin National Training Center with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment serving in the OPFOR role. Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC)is another major training site typically reserved for light infantry units, and the OPFOR are the 1st of the 509th Airborne Infantry Battalion. The Army's Joint Maneuver Readiness Center (JMRC, at Hohenfels, Bavaria, Germany) has the 1st of the 4th Infantry Battalion as their OPFOR. Other major units include the First United States Army which consists of 16 training brigades that often also serve as OPFOR. At a basic level, a unit might serve as an opposing force for a single scenario, differing from its 'opponents' only in the objectives it is given. However, major armies commonly maintain specialized groups trained to accurately replicate real-life enemies, to provide a more realistic experience for their training opponents. (To avoid the diplomatic ramifications of naming a real nation as a likely enemy, training scenarios often use fictionalized versions with different names but similar military characteristics to the expected real-world foes.)


A UH-1H replicating a Mi-24 at Fort Irwin in 1985
OPFOR Training 2012
US Marines using a former Soviet MT-LB vehicle for the OPFOR role during an exercise

There are three Major Training Centers that utilize home-based OPFOR units for the US Army:[citation needed]

An OSV replicating a Soviet BMP at NTC, Fort Irwin, CA

Various US military installations and/or major units have their own local versions of opposing force used for training exercises. The joint Australian/US military exercise "Crocodile '03" featured an Australian-led opposing force in which soldiers from a range of Australian units worked together with a US Marine Corps contingent.[2]

Several state defense forces have served as OPFOR units when training with the National Guard. The California State Military Reserve,[3] the Georgia State Defense Force,[4] and the New York Guard[5] have provided OPFOR services to their respective National Guard counterparts. In 2018, the Georgia State Defense Force established the OPFOR Battalion[6] to assist National Guard Soldiers with pre-deployment training.

Non-US units[edit]

A sniper from the French CENZUB opposing force. The camouflage pattern is different from the other French patterns.

In the French Army, a FORAD (FORce ADverse, enemy force) is used to train the army, in both the centre d'entraînement au combat (CENTAC, Combat Training Center) of Mailly-le-Camp[7] and in the centre d'entraînement aux actions en zone urbaine (CENZUB, Urban Operations Training Centre).[8] Declassed AMX-30 tanks were used to simulate Soviet T-72s,[7] until 2018.[9]


  1. ^ "Army.mil". Archived from the original on 2018-03-26. Retrieved 2020-04-26.
  2. ^ John Wellfare. "Exercise Crocodile '03: You win some, you lose some". Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper.
  3. ^ "OPFOR". 1st Battalion (MP), 2nd Brigade (Civil Support), California State Military Reserve. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  4. ^ Seay, Howard, WO1. "Operation Roughrider Cold". Heads Up. Georgia State Defense Force. 11 (1): 3. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  5. ^ Mendie, Ubon (31 March 2009). "N.Y. Guard 'Brings the Fight' to Fighting 69th". Guard Times Magazine. p. 36. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  6. ^ "OPFOR Battalion | Georgia State Defense Force". Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  7. ^ a b "CENTAC/5e régiment de Dragons". Batailles & Blindés (in French). No. Hors Série 24. 2014. pp. 52–55. ISSN 1950-8751.
  8. ^ AFP (8 May 2016). "Dans la ville fantôme de Jeoffrécourt, les armées étrangères simulent la guerre". Le Point (in French).
  9. ^ Lagneau, Laurent (17 October 2018). "Le 5e Régiment de Dragons se sépare de ses derniers chars AMX-30 Brenus". opex360.com (in French).

Opposing Force Training Materials by Opfor Solutions, Inc.

Further reading[edit]