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Wargame to Focus on Future Force

Wargame to Focus on Future Force

By Jim Caldwell, Army News Service.

Fort Monroe, Virginia -- (ANS) April 17, 2001-- Capabilities of the Army's "objective force" of the future will be scrutinized during the second Army Transformation Wargame at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., April 22-27.

"The bottom line is we want to be able to visualize in a real operational setting what we believe that an early deploying, very capable objective force slice makes a real difference in conflict resolution," said Bill Rittenhouse, wargame director for the Army Training and Doctrine Command's Deputy Chief of Staff for Doctrine.

The Army Transformation Study Wargame and Analysis Project is an outgrowth of the "Army After Next" wargames, also held at Carlisle Barracks. The name and the emphasis of the program were changed after Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, Army chief of staff, announced the new Army Vision in October 1999.

The objective force is the Army of the future, which will become a reality after technology breakthroughs make the future combat system a reality. The FCS will have the same firepower and crew protection of today's M1 Abrams tank, but will be lighter and easier to deploy.

This year's wargame has two broad goals, according to Rittenhouse.

"One, we want to showcase the work that we are doing with Transformation and, specifically, developing the concepts and capabilities of the objective force," he said.

"Two, we want to showcase the work that we are doing in developing what we call the strategic and operational environments, or the OE, the objective force will exist in."

The game scenario is set in 2015, with Iran and Iraq joined to form the Independent Republic. The Republic is fighting because Syria and Turkey have dammed the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which cuts off the Republic's water supply.

Turkey and Syria call on the United States to help militarily.

"The scenario is implausible," Rittenhouse said, " because it's highly unlikely that Arab Iraq will ever merge with Persian Iran. But it is useful for our game purposes.

"The water aspect of this is very relevant and will become more so in the near future."

The scenario is not a replay of Desert Storm, either, he says. The lead brigade of an objective force corps will go into operation as soon as it hits the ground. The terrain will vary from desert to complex terrain - forests, mountains, valleys and urban centers.

"They're not going to go at us conventionally. They're going to try to use asymmetric-type warfare," said Maj. Kim Chamberlain, Wargame Directorate staff officer. "An objective force that's simply planning for conventional warfare is not what we're looking for.

"There are some characteristics this force has to have and it's more than just technological developments. It's going to be the actual leaders and soldiers who have to be more adaptive, more agile, more responsive."

Also scrutinized will be the ability to deploy a brigade within 96 hours, a division in 120 hours and five divisions in 30 days, as outlined in the Army Vision.

"Realistically speaking, will we have all those transportation capabilities in 2015?" Rittenhouse asked. "I don't know."

Following the wargame, experts will use "subtraction analysis" to see what impact the lack of certain transportation assets will have on the mission.

"It says, all right, if you take away this high-speed, shallow draft sealift, how much time does that tack onto your employment requirement? If we do away with certain kinds of airlift, how much time does that tack on?" Rittenhouse explained.

Full transition to the objective force will not be completed by 2015, either. So the fighting force will be a combination of legacy weapons systems and organizations, interim forces, and objective force units. One of the five divisions will be a legacy division.

"The total objective force probably won't come into being until the early 2030s," Rittenhouse said.

This hybrid force will not jeopardize the Army's ability to carry out is mission, Chamberlain said.

"We will not compromise winning our nation's wars as we move to the objective force," he said. "We will definitely have forces that are strategically dominant across the full spectrum of war." In the wargame, the objective force will be part of a joint team with the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well a member of a coalition with Turkey and Syria.

"I don't think we can do it by ourselves, just as air and naval can't do it by themselves alone," Chamberlain said. "We need to look at the joint aspects of this."

Key to success of the objective force is leadership. Special groups will analyze senior leader development of a deployed objective force corps.

"We want to know how do you develop one-, two-, three- and four-star generals who will have to command these objective force elements in the 2015 timeframe," Rittenhouse said.

Ultimately, it's not crucial whether or not the objective force, the Blue Force, wins the wargame, he said.

"It's a question of learning, of understanding strengths and, perhaps more importantly, understanding weaknesses. We can feed that information back to the combat developers as they develop O&O, the operational and organizational, aspects of the objective force," Rittenhouse said.

While it may not be important that for one side to win, both sides take it seriously, and actually began preparing for the game in September.

The senior Red Force commander is retired Army Lt. Gen. Pat Hughes, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Red operational commander is retired Col. Greg Fontenot, a past member of the TRADOC headquarters staff.

The Blue Force operational commander is retired Brig. Gen. Huba Wass de Czege, one of the architects of AirLand Battle doctrine, as well as the author of the 1982 and 1986 versions of Field Manual 100-5, "Operations," the Army's main warfighting doctrine publication.

Preparing for the wargames would easily overtax the seven-member staff of the Wargame Directorate, so they get help in the way of seminars and other wargames.

The international political aspects of any wargame are hashed out each year in other venues, which are called franchises.

One such is the National Security Seminar held April 2-6 this year at Tyson's Corners, Va. Among the high-level experts who participated were George Wilson of the International Journal and Doug Bandau, a member of the Cato Institute, who writes for the Copley News Service. There is also the Fletcher Conference conducted annually for the Army by Tufts University Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy.

A series of campaign planning meetings, or STAFFEXs, are held at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., each year.

In addition, the Wargame staff participates in other Army franchises, such as the Space and Missile Defense space scenarios and the Special Operations Game at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The TRADOC staff is a participant in Joint Forces Command training exercises at Norfolk, Va. Then the staff members take the objective force concept and "play" in Air Force and Navy wargames.

Army fellows at the School of Advanced Military Studies, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., serve as key planners to develop the Blue Force plan.

Those are all the franchises that assist the Blue Force commander in developing his campaign.

The Red Force franchise is the TRADOC Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, which naturally is familiar with objective force strengths and weaknesses. Around September every year, DCSINT hosts a future technology seminar to determine what technologies are easily available to the Red Force.

"If you build a Red that is strong enough, with realistic capabilities to present Blue with dark days, then you really create a good gaming venue to get at important issues," Rittenhouse said.

(Editor's note: Jim Caldwell is a member of the TRADOC public affairs team.)


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).