- Gen. Lance Smith, commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
- Maj. Gen. Michael Moore, director of Development and Transformation, Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters
- Brig. Gen. Jarmo Lindberg, deputy chief of operations, Finnish Defense Staff
- Brig. Gen. Erhardt Drews, commander, Bundeswehr Center for Transformation (Germany)
- Capt. Kevin Laing, commandant, Canadian Forces Experimentation Center from Canada
Captain Pittman; and Bryan Whitman, Pentagon Spokesman
CAP. PITTMAN: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press, and welcome to the final press briefing for Multinational Experiment 4 led by U.S. Joint Forces Command with many partners. We are happy to have the media with us today in both Brussels, and we also welcome members of the Pentagon press corps by telephone.
Pentagon, can you hear us?
MR. WHITMAN: Yes. Captain Pittman, it's Bryan Whitman. How are you?
CAP. PITTMAN: Great.
I'm going to go ahead and introduce the participants of today's briefing. To my immediate right is Major General Michael Moore from Sweden. Next to him is General Lance Smith, commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. Brigadier General Jarmo Lindberg from Finland, Brigadier General Erhardt Drews from Germany, and Captain Kevin Laing from Canada on the right end -- or my right, or I guess it's your left.
We'll have today about roughly 40 to 45 minutes to -- and we will have a hard cutoff before 5:00 here.
So without any further ado, General Smith, the floor is yours, sir.
GEN. SMITH: Thank you all very much for coming out this afternoon. (To staff) -- does this need to be turned on? Okay. Yeah, thanks for coming out this afternoon.
We are at the -- I don't like the term culminating, but we're at the culminating formal event of Multinational Experiment 4, which, as was mentioned, is really a -- it's a U.S. Joint Forces Command lead, but with partners. It's not a -- it is very much a collaborative effort for all eight nations in NATO that engage in this.
It is two years of work, I think. I don't know the exact number, but I think it's 120 or so limited-objective experiments that led up to this over a two-year period of time.
So, you know, when we actually had the event in March, there had been significant work by each of the nations in their preparation for it and then brought it all to the major event to achieve whatever aims they were trying to achieve in their particular area.
Now, there were eight nations together with NATO, so NATO was representing the NATO response force in Istanbul, Turkey, at the modeling and simulation center there, and then the other eight nations were Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and, as I mentioned, NATO.
This was also the first time we have tied together the three modeling and simulation networks for the U.S., Germany and France. And because we were able to do that, we were able to conduct this experiment in multiple locations. And we've done that bilaterally before, but this was something that was a significant achievement.
The experiment itself dealt in a lot of areas, but primarily looking at a stabilization and reconstruction kind of environment in Afghanistan, where we get confronted with a crisis and we have to respond. And we are responding using new tools and new -- I shouldn't even say new thinking -- different ways of thinking, perhaps, than we have formalized in our various doctrines and the way we at least write down that we do business.
We call it effects-based approach to operations, but that's just a term. What it really is about is looking at what you're trying to achieve pre-war, hopefully with the intent of not having a war occur, or if you have had conflict, looking at it post-conflict and seeing what it is you're trying to achieve out there in the nation or in the space that you're operating in, and trying not to just do that from a military perspective, but trying to tie in the civilian expertise, the civilian concepts, the civilian understanding of what's going on out there and trying to tie together two different groups of people that don't always think exactly the same.
The key element here is that it's clear that the military cannot do these things alone and that it takes all of the elements of national power, whether it's a economic piece, you know, that has to go in and work the reconstruction and rebuilding the economy or whether it's the political-diplomatic piece that really goes into how you establish a form of government that is able to operate within the global environment. And so trying to tie all that together and achieve results that are good for the country and good globally is really what this is all about, and thinking through how you go about doing that.
It's not completely new. Effects-based thinking has always occurred in one form or another.
But it is a more formalized approach to how you go about building tools to help you do that, you know, where do you collect information, who collects information, how do you share information, and then how do you make decisions based on that information.
So it was very successful in that regard. And I think it was clear that -- from the comments today, as well as the exercise itself, that there is a realization that we have moved from thinking only about major combat operations to thinking about the entire spectrum of conflict, and in this particular case, looking at stabilization and reconstruction is a primary function for both the military and the civil authority.
There were some very interesting comments today. The Senior Leadership Seminar today included a very powerful and diverse group of individuals, not just the military itself, although there was, you know, the chief of defense from Finland was there, and senior members from all of our militaries, the chairman of the military committee was there. NATO was well represented by the military reps, and of particular note, the ambassadors to NATO, the permanent representatives. But there were also civil organizations in a variety of other countries, somewhere around 10, that were there today. We had the U.N. represented at a high level, the EU represented at a high level, and they actively participated in the conversations we had about civil-military relations and how you go about doing this.
And I think one of the things that we truly achieved out of this is a good start at breaking down some of the barriers that are out there and the differences in these two communities, or these multiple communities, and trying to work towards changing cultures so we can be more cooperative and collaborative in the things we're trying to achieve out there.
The way ahead. We will take what we achieved here and try and see how we can implement the findings either in future experiments or future exercises, or where appropriate, put it into the field.
And most of this will require some level of looking at prototypes and a little bit more maturity before it's ready to go right into the field.
But having said that, we're going to move down that road, and we start planning tomorrow, actually, although it's been ongoing, but formally start planning for Multinational Experiment 5 tomorrow. There's a lot of interest in other nations participating. And so we will look at what the objectives are for that Multinational Experiment 5 and who's going to participate.
With that, I thought I'd turn it over to the other members up here at the table and let them say a word or two about the exercise and their perspective on it.
GEN. MOORE: Thank you very much.
Sweden and Finland were the two newcomers for the MNE4 experiment. And from Sweden -- from the Swedish part, we are very happy to be participating in this, because this helps us in our transformation of our forces and also, so to say, guarantees that our development back at home gets an interoperable framework.
As you probably are aware of, we are not a member of NATO, but we are an active partner to NATO, both in the PFP context but also out in -- for example, in Afghanistan, since long ago in the Bosnian part and also now in Kosovo. So for us, this is a very important part.
And I think we can -- our position and what we can contribute with is, I would say, in two areas, perhaps even three. We have been working very hard with the network-based concept in our country since roughly '99, 2000. And that is a position which we are proud of, of course, and I think that can be a contribution in the MNE part here.
Another part, of course, is our peacekeeping tradition, where we have been focused on these missions and these issues since the 1950s, a long history on that part.
And the third part could be, I would say, roughly the same as in Finland. We have been working very long -- during the Cold War, even -- in a so to say total defense concept, where we -- that's another word for "interagency." And that could also perhaps be of interest or has been of interest, I would say, in the MNE work.
GEN. LINDBERG: A lot of what General Moore has just mentioned from Sweden applies to Finland. This was the first time we participated in the MNE series of experiments. We've been in peacekeeping and crisis response operations for years and decades and participating in ongoing KFOR and operations also in Afghanistan. So we are interested in developing our defense forces interoperability in multinational operations, improvement of our see-through and joint operations capabilities by new technologies and concepts and processes. We obviously think that it will benefit our troops that are out already.
Our participation was initially small scale, but it evolved into full representation in all concept working groups, significant effects-based operations, tools, architecture work and full contribution to all limited objective experiments. And we served as lead for the intelligence working group and the intelligence part. We are extremely pleased with the results of this experiment, and we have a government approval to prepare for full MNE5 participation.
GEN. DREWS: As far as the German participation is concerned, we started as partner with the first experiment, but we are -- not as whole partner, and slowly enlarged our portion of participation and our stake inside the experiment period. What is the reason to really pluck in and enlarge our own portion? German armed forces, Germany itself made the same experiences as several other nations during those operations of a new character we faced in 15 years.
The old instruments optimized for warfighting, for classical warfighting with regard to the vetting process, with regard to the decision-making progress, with regard to information gathering and integration doesn't fit to the new environment. It was designed for warfighting operations, and the nature of the present operations is not that of warfighting, not at all. Sometimes it is warfighting, but in a total different environment with several other influences you usually didn't have in a classical warfighting scenario.
That led us to the conclusion to join in to the experiment series and to experiment or first to develop and then to experiment two concepts. The first one is knowledge-based development, which means that we, internationally and with the -- with all other agencies, let it be nongovernmental or governmental, to develop and optimize from the very beginning on a coherent, holistic picture of the field of operation, which is clearly very much different from that picture usually military have of a field of operation. The usual picture is the enemy and closely related facts -- closely to that enemy-related facts. The new picture is a holistic one, with all influences on this field of operation, let it be social, societal, economic, cultural, political.
And this could only be done, first, with all involved international military partners, and second, with all involved international non-military partners.
So for that, MNE4, as an international experiment series, is a given -- is optimum as a playground for such an experiment. And we are convinced that this concept, if really tested and really completed, will give a new base -- a new information base for the whole community, let it be military or non-military, to assess the situation, to understand the situation, and to coherently decide on the effects, and then to measure success of the own operation.
We will -- as the Finnish and Swedish partner will do too, we will continue to contribute to MNE series, mainly with regard to the two concepts, knowledge-based development and information operation. Thank you.
CAPT. LAING: Good afternoon. Canada has had a very active participation for about the last five years in the Multinational Engagement -- Experiment series and the last three in particular. And in preparation for Multinational Experiment 4, Canada led one of the limited objective experiments dealing with knowledge management, which looked at developing a concept of operations and some of the techniques, processes and procedures that one would use to move information around and share it within a coalition headquarters.
The Canadian participation consisted of a multi-disciplinary team of military and civilian personnel -- technologists, scientists and the operations research analysts as well. We had participation at three sites, one at the Canadian Forces Experimentation Center in Ottawa, Canada. We had about seven people at the Joint Forces Command site in Suffolk, Virginia. And we had five personnel participating with the NATO site that was in Istanbul, Turkey.
We find that multinational experimentation plays an important element with us in our -- principally in our force development process. First of all, it -- our participation allows us to influence the multinational concept development and also maintains and promotes interoperabilities with our allies.
We -- it offers us the opportunity to actually monitor what the initiatives and the activities are of our allies, and then it also enables us to leverage the expertise and the experience of others in -- for consideration with their own force development process.
And for MNE4 and MNE5 -- as anticipated in particular, we find this to be most interesting because it deals with, as General Smith was saying, it was dealing with this new approach, the effects-based approach, a more holistic approach to conducting operations -- and the fact that we're having or seeking advanced or extensive collaboration with other government departments to take a more holistic, all-of- government approach. So we look forward to participating in that.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Okay, thank you, gentlemen. We'll go ahead and take a question here from our audience in Belgium.
Yes, sir, on the corner.
Q (Name off mike) -- from Reuters News Agency. How long do you think it will be before the fruits of these experiments will be applied on the ground in operations, say, in Iraq or Afghanistan?
GEN. SMITH: That's -- that's very hard to say because a lot of this is conceptual, and, as I mentioned, it's an experiment.
Now, having said that, those tools that we find to be useful -- and we have found some to be very useful -- those nations that want to use those tools and put them into their own systems or something out there on the battlespace or in the battlefield, they may choose to do that and use them as a prototype. And I suspect there will be a little bit of that.
Part of the Allied Command operation play in this was taking a look at what is available and what they might be able to use within the next year or so in Iraq, Afghanistan or other places where NATO might be asked to operate.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Pentagon, we'll go ahead and take a question from you now.
Q General, this is Al Pessin from the Voice of America.
I just wanted to follow up on what you just said before I ask my question.
You said there have been some tools that you've found useful. Perhaps you could tell us what those were.
But my main question was a lot of this -- it's a lot of terminology, and, as you said, it's conceptual.
Can you give us a little more concrete feel for it or walk us through a scenario, say, where you have a situation like we had with Afghanistan some years ago? What is it that you're doing now that would be implemented in that situation, in some sort of a specific way, that would influence in a specific way how the Western allies would respond to that kind of a situation?
GEN. SMITH: Well, let me take a shot at it, and then, I'll let General Drews comment, who had some comments earlier on the subject. And I think the important part about this is the concept of bringing other elements of the government into the planning process early, and then including them in the process during execution and then -- if it comes to that -- and then developing relationships and including them in the process during the stabilization and reconstruction phase.
So if we were going to do it differently based on what we're experimenting with -- and of course, experimenting and actually going out and doing it are two different things. And what we discovered in this experiment a lot of the same barriers and obstacles that we have known about; things like sharing of information, releasability of information. So it's not just the classified part, but just the physical ability to share information across different networks.
The bad part, I think, again, if the results of the experiment are accurate, and if the lessons that we've observed turn into lessons learned would have us finding a way to work through the releasability problems, work through the cultural problems, work through the information-sharing problems and be more inclusive in the planning process. The actual execution piece I think we could -- by the way, and met pre-concept or pre-war kind of scenario, the other government organizations would certainly be more included.
But also, the fact that there are thousands, oftentimes, of non- governmental organizations operating in the environment, we are trying to discover ways to engage with them as well. And that is part of all this discussion. So I think those are the sorts of things that we would see would be different.
The interesting part about the discussions today at the Senior Leadership Seminar is that the recognition that the civilian or public piece of this are there before the military gets into the theater, and they're likely to be there afterwards, and they will be impacted by everything that goes on. So they have a stake in what's about to occur. And certainly they want to help make sure that we don't fall into some level of major combat operations. So I think that would be the biggest change.
I can't tell you exactly the software programs or whatever that I would expect would be adopted in the field, but it would be mostly along the lines of planning processes and connectivity kind of software that allows us -- the knowledge base that General Drews talked about really have significance for everybody, not just the military. And that's where -- one of those things that the sooner we can refine that -- and I think Germany is already using it to some degree -- but the sooner we can all figure out how to share those kinds of databases and stuff and fill them, the better off we'll be, and we'll all come at this from the same picture. I think that's the most significant one that I would see.
GEN. DREWS: Most of what I wanted to comment on you did already say. But there were two questions I may answer. First, the fruits, and second, a concrete example of what we think, what is meant by that.
The fruits. With regard to knowledge base, as far as Germany is concerned, we plan and are determined to, if ever possible, to make a field test in a real mission scenario. There are certain prerequisites to do so. First, the concept has to be really tested and completed. There is still some work to do. And second, we must find an area of operation where we, on a national basis, for a few test purposes could field it. I think I'm optimistic that it may be done perhaps next year, maybe in Afghanistan -- I don't know. That's the first step. Others will follow.
What is the concrete example?
Until now, the military, the Red Cross or UNHCR or whoever takes actions which are deconflicted from each other, sometimes coordinated with each other. But as a matter of fact, if ever -- from the experience I made in Bosnia myself -- if ever you launch a military action, you never knew whether this action really, really didn't hamper any other development which was going on on the other fields, let it be economic, let it be police work, let it be policy or whatever. You never really knew. Why? You did only know what your G-2, your military intelligence people, were able to tell you, and you knew by random what some other civilian agencies' representatives in the region told you when you met them from time to time. That is not a knowledge base; that is enlarged intelligence base enlarged by accident through other contact.
So if you really want all players in the field, which usually work for the same goal, for the same end state, if you really want to orchestrate them, to coherently coordinate them in order to reach this end state, and not to spoil the one or the other action, unintended, the other action, then you have to establish a knowledge base all actors profit from in order to give them all the same situational understandings, the same situational awareness, and then act on the same level of situational awareness.
And the outcome may be for the military that if you locate, detect or whatever an enemy or a noncompliant actor, you don't do what you usually do as a military.
You go on him, you fight him, you kill him, or you neutralize him, but then you think, in effect, and ask the question: What influence does this individual have, and what will be the outcome if I do that or that or that?
And at the very end, you won't go on him at all, or you do it, but there are several courses of action. And you have all -- you have to measure all the interdependencies, and you have to know what interdependencies these are.
To be very concrete, in my last words, there may be an actor -- and there are actors in Afghanistan, warlords or whatever, who are compliant, against ISAF, against the national level in Kabul. And the same actor is on the red side in Mazar-e Sharif. Why? You have to know that and on what side this actor is, when and where.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Okay. Moving back to Belgium. Sir? In the front.
Q Yes. Brooks Tigner, Defense News. What this whole endeavor is really involving is interoperability of information. That's what you're all aiming for -- to tie everyone together. So this raises three questions in my mind. Are you counting on patchwork software to do this or on new standards? And if the latter, question number two: Whose standards? And number three: Will nonmilitary players -- will they have two-way access to this global picture, or will they be merely a passive recipient of the information that the military gives them? Thank you.
CAPT. LAING: I think the actual experiment itself had less to do with software and applications, those kind of technical aspects. I mean, clearly because we were connected globally by virtue of the Combined Federated Battle Lab Network, there were obvious technological issues out there.
But the actual experiment itself had less to do with the technology aspects. It was dealing with a concept, the idea of how we organize or how we move information around, not so much the squiggly end (?) part of it, but the actual who should be getting the information, what information do we require, and what other players should we bring into the environment itself.
So I think that it really wasn't necessarily a technical solution that was being sought, although there was some software that was adaptive, certainly, in planning, and most of that dealt with collaborative planning tools.
But it was -- and that, actually, is kind of an outcropping from a previous experiment that sort of said, "Hey, we need to have a collaborative information environment. So what are the tools that we need?" So it worked on that particular aspect.
But particularly for MNE4, it was really more of a conceptual process, procedures, development of concepts of operations, et cetera.
CAP. PITTMAN: And that was Captain Laing from Canada.
GEN. LAING: Well, actually, there's other venues for looking at interoperability issues, and do, you know, put a plug in for another multinational event that we -- that Canada and a number of the same countries are participating in; and that is, a Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration. And that is conducted in -- again, globally through the same network.
CAP. PITTMAN: Okay. Let's -- we're going to --
GEN. MOORE: May I comment? Because he really had two questions, and the second one has been up for discussion quite a lot today about not being a one-way street, it must be a two-way street. And that's due to the whole thinking; it’s effect in the field and then all players -- I mean this is not easy business because you have a lot of organizations that you are aware of and not all of them -- and it's not at all -- not easy to get all looking at the same goals and so on. But if it is going to be possible, it must be more of a two-way street than it is today.
CAP. PITTMAN: And that was General Moore from Sweden.
We're going to move now to Washington.
Q General Smith, Angela Irwin (sp) with National Defense. You talked about stability operations and reconstruction. Can you say whether any specific changes are needed in U.S. doctrine to address some of the challenges that you face in this experiment?
GEN. SMITH: Well, I would say the primary one is a -- we looked at policies on releasability and information-sharing. That was a topic of a very wide discussion today. And I mean it's a factor for all of the nations.
But besides that, it's also the discussion on interoperability and all those other things. We happen to have in Afghanistan today about -- at least three, but probably many more, systems for communicating over networks, none of which are able to talk to one another without some special gateway that has to be developed. So, you know, doctrinally, policy-wise, I think that's the biggest thing that we've learned out of this experiment from the U.S. perspective.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Let's go ahead and take one more from Washington while we have you up.
Q General, Sebastian Springer with Inside the Pentagon. As the NATO response force is getting ready to be fully operational, are there any aspects and findings of this exercise you think you can infuse into the response force?
GEN. SMITH: I think it's really too early to be able to do that for the one that you may or may not be talking about. If you're talking about NRF-7, which is going to go do the live fire exercise at Cape Verde to really be part of the evaluation on the readiness to become fully operationally capable, I don't think that that you'll see anything that will be integrated into that particular exercise.
Now, having said that, I think you know that we use -- allied command transformation views the NRF as the vehicle for transformation. So the things we learn from this exercise, both the procedures, the processes and the software that was briefly discussed, we will certainly turn from experiment into exercises where we can develop prototypes and see if they're useful for the NRF. And I would expect that over the next couple years, they will see products from this experiment that will be included in those exercises.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Yes, coming back to Brussels. Yes, sir?
Q Paul Aines from the Associated Press. General, you spoke about the need to engage with NGOs. The most high-profile example of that, as far as NATO is concerned, is the PRT concept in Afghanistan. As NATO is expanding that into the south region, could you give us an assessment of how you see -- how well you think that concept has been developed, and if this -- (inaudible) -- the previous multinational concept, do you have any idea as to how the PRT process can be improved?
GEN. SMITH: I'll comment on that, and then we have two nations that are involved in PRTs here -- we, actually all of us are, yeah, involved in PRTs.
My perspective comes from my last job primarily as the deputy commander in Central Command, and having visited a good number of these and been involved at least in the early stages of establishing Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan. I think they have -- I think they've been hugely successful in ways that I don't think we foresaw when we put these out in the field.
And the problem that I see with them is every nation does it a little bit differently -- actually, does it quite a bit differently. And so how you train for Provincial Reconstruction Teams, how you share best practices, how you communicate with one another, and all of those sorts of issues are issues that are being worked out. And by the time we have NATO responsible for all of those, which I would expect to be sometime in the fall when NATO takes over the Eastern Regional Command, and therefore will be responsible for all stabilization within Afghanistan, there is, and will be, as a result of a lot of these exercises and experiments, a move towards more standardization on the part of the PRTs, but at the same time allowing the nations to accomplish what they see as their mission out there.
And other members that have participated -- please.
GEN. MOORE: Sweden has been participating in the PRT concept for a few years. And quite recently we took over the responsibility up in the northern part for one PRT in Mazar-e Sharif. And of course the situation in Afghanistan is a challenge, no doubt about it.
But we think we are quite happy with the concept; otherwise, we wouldn't have gone forward with it, so to say. And another way to describe what General Smith is talking about is to -- of course he used the word -- it's quite a "flexible" (word inaudible). There are good things, good parts of it.
GEN. LINDBERG: We Finns had a couple of challenging incidents in Northern Afghanistan last winter, one with the Norwegians, and we have been moving actually more to the north. We have the majority of our forces in Kabul, but now two-thirds are going to be up north. And as a result of those incidents, we have been producing some long-range, self-protection weapons for our troops and also checking out the rules of engagement so that they comply with the situation. It's been a bit more challenging for our troops lately over there.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Okay. And we're going to take one more from the Belgian side.
Q (Name inaudible), from People's Daily, China.
Energy security protections now is a heated topic. If you think it will be also included in the MN4 (sic) about that, as one of the sectors?
Another is -- you touched upon Iran issue, like a possible military airstrike or something like -- a lot of speculation right now.
GEN. SMITH: I'll pass that to -- no. (Laughter.)
The discussion certainly -- I mean, just recently, the -- energy security has been an issue in NATO, and obviously you know there are discussions going on on that.
Tomorrow -- and we will have a meeting at the two-star level for the MNE5 participants, and they will discuss that sort of thing -- and then in June, there will be another conference call, a pre-concept development conference, and the nations will then determine whether or not that's something they want to include in MNE5. It makes sense that that would certainly be on the plate.
And I'm unaware of any discussions on attacking Iran.
COL. PITTMAN: Okay, we're going to go back to the Pentagon now, Washington.
Q General Smith, Ann Roosevelt from Defense Daily. I wonder what will you be bringing back to your other hat -- U.S. Joint Forces Command -- for possible inclusion and for experiments in the future, something like Unified Quest, for example?
GEN. SMITH: That's a great question, and mainly because we just finished Unified Quest and we very much examined some of the similar things in the two. For instance, at Unified Quest there was a very active multinational interagency group that actively integrated with the military chain of command. And so we will continue to exercise and experiment with the same things that we experimented with, that we believe have promise, in Multinational Experiment 4 and then take them to the next step.
This whole process is -- it's not really all that complex. It make sense, if you think about what we're trying to do. We'll go conduct an experiment like this, and each of the nations will then take those things that they find promising or interesting to them and they may do some more experiments or they may build a prototype -- not unlike a race car -- and go out and practice with it and build on it until it's ready to go out on the track. And we will do the same thing with the concepts we find promising -- of which there are many -- within Multinational Experiment 4. Those that we don't find a room for it's less appropriate in the experiments or the exercises that are already planned, we will pursue further in Multinational Experiment 5, and we'll recommend them for inclusion in MNE5.
COL. PITTMAN: We have about time for one more question from Washington.
Q Hi. This is Jeff Schogol with Stars and Stripes. If I understand you correctly, this exercise focused on stabilizing Afghanistan. Can you talk about how can you stabilize Afghanistan when you have the Taliban essentially entrenched across the border in Pakistan?
GEN. SMITH: Well, I think part of the whole concept of what we're -- I mean, keep in mind, this is an experiment, and it could have been conducted anyplace where we have, you know, a situation that could be worsening.
So I wouldn't get hung up on the location.
But clearly what you're talking about falls right into those whole effects-based thinking process, which recognizes -- and I mean, it's the knowledge base; it's everything -- it recognizes that, you know, this thing is not just located -- whatever the threat happens to be, not just located in one place. You have to examine all the players, and you have to come up with solutions that achieve an effect on the battlespace.
And the fact of the matter is, you're right; you know, one of the things we learned from Vietnam and other places is, you don't want to allow sanctuary. So the obvious outcome of effects-based thinking is that you have to engage the government of Pakistan and that you have to get their help in going after the Taliban.
So from an experimental perspective, that was not a particular challenge to us. But given that, it falls very nicely into the concepts we're experimenting with.
CAPT. PITTMAN: We have time for one final question from Brussels, and then we'll close out with any final remarks that General Smith or any of our panel want to add.
Anybody. Yes, sir?
Q Nick Fiorenza, Jane's Defense Weekly. I just want to ask how you decide which countries would be involved in the exercise. I mean, the countries I see in front of me are, I guess, major NATO countries. When I look at the partners, they're the countries which are the most advanced as far as network-centric warfare -- or whatever you want to call it -- is concerned. But I'm more asking why were countries like maybe Spain or Italy not included -- actually, maybe I know the answer -- and smaller NATO countries, and specifically new NATO countries.
And then what was the role of the North Atlantic Council? I mean, did they -- were they role playing, or were they only learning?
GEN. SMITH: Number one, we partner with and people engage that really want to get involved in this kind of experiment. And so I won't try to speak for Sweden or Finland, other than they had objectives that this kind of experiment, given the large number of players -- there ultimately ended up being over 1,200 players in the final event -- they can achieve a lot of their objectives with -- and it's a more cost-effective way to do business.
So they make a decision on whether or not they want to participate, and then we -- and it's a sort of a broad "we" -- those that are within the exercise see if they can bring value added to the exercise and are capable of performing in the exercise at the technical level or technological level that is needed to be able to do that and then have shared objectives.
Spain, I might add, has indicated an interest to participate in MNE5, as have a number of other nations. And when we get down into knowing exactly what we're going to do in MNE5, I think those nations that are interested will have a better idea if it's going to meet their goals, and we'll be able to see if we're able to collaborate and work together. So that was part of the ending discussion, was enlargement. And I can tell you when I was at the OSCE conference I had bilaterals with a large number of nations that wanted to participate in MNE5. So there's a lot of excitement about what we're trying to achieve.
The perm reps, the ambassadors from NATO, are currently in some very high-level discussions on how you do -- and the military reps, by the way, as well -- on how you bring these elements of power together and what is the role of the political and military leadership of NATO in doing that. And so you can, I think, understand the interest that the ambassadors would have, and I expect this to be not MNE4, but the concepts of closer civilian-military relationships to be something that will be discussed at Riga at the summit with the heads of state.
So, everybody's interested in knowing more and understanding better. And the ambassadors, I might add, contributed greatly to the senior leadership seminar today in talking about their perspective and how you tie these together and how you get better and more active political guidance. So there's a lot of interest out there in this because of what we're talking about now at the highest levels of NATO and certainly the Riga summit in November.
CAPT. PITTMAN: (Off mike) -- final remarks?
GEN. SMITH: I think this was a tremendously successful experiment. It will not suddenly change the way we do business in NATO tomorrow, but I think the simple fact that we are discussing things at the level that we're discussing them recognizes that there is work to be done. In an environment where you have international organizations, other governmental organizations, multinational organizations, local governments, that it is important that we are able to come up with ways to engage together so that we can achieve the aims we're trying to achieve out there. And that is primarily what all of the nations sitting at the table and those that participated in the exercise -- or the experiment -- excuse me - and those that observed were all interested in, what do we have to do to institutionalize this kind of thinking, what do we have to do to refine it and make it work.
And then one of the most difficult things is when you try to look at things like this, how do you determine how you're doing? And that was one of the most significant challenges of the exercise. That's the assessment piece.
On telling your political masters or your military leadership -- "Okay, we told you to go out and do something. How are you doing, and how do you know that you're achieving what you said you're trying to achieve?" And you all can think through the -- those sorts of things. You just don't know on the spot when you're in a city, whether taking out the minaret -- you know, what is the impact of doing something like that? I mean, that has huge impact at the -- not just at the tactical level, but at the strategic level.
So you have to think through those things, and you have to make sure that your soldiers are thinking through those sorts of things. And I think we are successfully achieving that from a thought process perspective.
Now what we're trying to do is make sure that our leaders and our civilians have the tools to be able to go out and implement, and that's what we're trying to achieve here.
CAPT. PITTMAN: Great. Thank you all very much. We appreciate you being here.
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