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Carlisle War Game Contemplates 'What If' Factor

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2005 – Army Gen. George S. Patton is reputed to have said, "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

American and allied military strategists shared their unique ideas to confront a fictional threat set in the year 2015 during classroom exercises held May 1-6 at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., home of the Army War College.

The war game, named "Unified Quest 2005" and co-sponsored by the Army's Training and Doctrine Command and U.S. Joint Forces Command, marked the culmination of yearlong joint-service strategy sessions. Military specialists from England, France, Germany and other U.S.-allied nations also participated in the war game.

Unified Quest participants "are looking at future concepts, but they're dealing with current capabilities," explained Clement "Bill" Rittenhouse, TRADOC's war game division chief.

Another group of UQ war gamers, Rittenhouse noted, was made up of people from JFCOM's Joint Experimentation Directorate who participated long-distance from Suffolk, Va.

The "what if" of Unified Quest revolves around "Redland," a fictional southeastern European country that wants to take its place in the sun among the world's prominent nations, Rittenhouse explained. Redland has Islamic cultural roots that go back 300 years, he noted, and boasts significant military forces, including weapons of mass destruction.

Yet, Redland can't match the power of the U.S. military, Rittenhouse observed, noting, "They can't take us on conventionally." Therefore, he said, Redland would most likely rely on the use of asymmetrical warfare.

The war game script shows Redland threatening some key transit points of the global petroleum industry and the fictional country has invaded the "boot" of southern Italy.

The fictional crisis has roiled global oil markets and caused the price of gasoline in the United States to spike to $8 a gallon, according to retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Carter, the leader of the war game's "blue," or friendly forces.

To safeguard the world's oil supply, U.S. and allied forces are preparing to invade Redland from several directions, Carter said. Enemy, or "red," forces, he noted, have already mounted asymmetric attacks on U.S. and allied military targets, killing hundreds of servicemembers and civilians.

Redland's battle strategy, U.S. contractor Ron Clock noted, is to continue fighting without taking chances that would lose the war. In this way, he said, U.S. and allied forces would exhaust themselves and eventually just make peace.

Carter predicted eventual victory for U.S. and allied forces, noting it would take a little over six months to eliminate Redland's military threat.

One concept studied at Unified Quest was how protracted combat impacts stability operations, said TRADOC commander Army Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes. "Think about items such as collateral damage," Byrnes said, noting that combat operations affect local populaces and can influence efforts to establish post-war governments and lasting peace.

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Related Sites:
Army War College
U.S. Joint Forces Command
Army Training and Doctrine Command


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