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Joint Forces Command Exercise Demonstrates Conference Theme

By Capt. Steve Alvarez, USA
American Forces Press Service

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 2, 2005 – A virtual U.S. Joint Forces Command exercise at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference here Dec. 1 demonstrated the conference's theme, "One Team. One Fight. One Training Future."

The Joint Virtual Training Special Event integrated 50 simulation and training systems into a simulated war game.

Training in the JVTSE environment falls into three categories: live, virtual and constructive. Live is defined as real people in real locations using real equipment. Virtual simulation means real people in simulators. Constructive simulation means simulated entities in a simulated environment, officials explained.

Linking various simulation systems allows the military to conduct massive training exercises with every branch of service and coalition partners from virtually anywhere, officials said. The JVTSE, they added, shows that major modeling and simulation used in multiple technologies can provide realistic training to forces.

The scenario presented here on Dec. 1 involved tense relations between two countries after a presidential assassination leaves one nation without a leader. Elections follow, and tensions increase along the borders of the fictitious nations.

A joint force is called to stabilize the region. As the event begins, Air Force aircraft monitor the battlefield for Marine Corps ground forces. The Air Force in the JVTSE provides constructive and virtual simulations to highlight models and simulation to enhance existing Air Force capabilities.

USJFCOM said these cost-effective, reusable resources leverage technology and ensure superior capabilities by providing the Air Force technically accurate representations of air and space components, operations and environments for current and future Air Force and joint needs. A key Air Force capability, displayed in the JVTSE, is the ability to create integrated battlespace with geographically separated assets.

As the Marine unit moves along its patrol, a joint communications aircraft receives information from an unmanned aerial vehicle surveying the battlefield for the Marine forces. The joint aircraft then communicates with an Air Force command and control aircraft, which in turn, talks to jet fighters in the area and to the Marine forces on the ground.

Then, with a note of realism, Marine ground forces are attacked and engage the enemy in the virtual game through the networked system. The Marine system, JFCOM officials said, uses gaming technology in a fully interactive three-dimensional training system. It provides a life-like environment in which team members move with small unit tactics. Photo-realistic terrain, user-definable mission scenarios, customized vehicles and equipment, and variable environmental conditions enhance the training experience and add to the realism as the Marines defend themselves.

The Army dispatches a quick-reaction force using UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and also provides medical evacuation for the wounded after being contacted by Air Force airborne controllers. The Army system provides a full suite of live, virtual and constructive training systems to the JVTSE, JFCOM officials said.

The systems prepare soldiers for operational environments encountered today. For example, some components of the Army's Future Combat Systems are used in the JVTSE.

Meanwhile, in the waters off the troubled region, a maritime strike force patrols a gulf and tries to detect submarine activity while the battle is under way. Naval forces are alert due to joint communications received from forces above the battlefield.

The Navy brought two laptop systems to the JVTSE from the Virtual Carrier Command Center and the Carrier Integration Center, both in Newport News, Va. The VCCC supports naval training, design, test and evaluation using state-of-the-art simulation capabilities, JFCOM officials said. A networked laptop called Mission Rehearsal Tactical Team Trainer simulates many different systems and naval capabilities the Navy uses in real-world operations.

Back on land, forward air controllers from the Netherlands tap into the exercise using their systems and call for fire on vehicles suspected of attacking the Marine forces. In about 20 minutes, the operation is over.

"Joint training provides a solid footing in real-world operations," Marine Corps. Gen. Jon Gallinetti said during the JVTSE. He commands the Joint Warfighting Center.

According to JFCOM officials, these joint special events help prepare joint, multinational and interagency warfighters for unified action by harnessing elements of national and coalition power. The result is the delivery of a seamless, integrated, live, virtual, constructive capability. At last year's conference, event participants were in Florida, Arizona and California.

USJFCOM, one of the nine combatant commands, conducted this year's JVTSE on the floor of the Orlando Convention Center, linking training systems from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to a joint operations scenario involving these services. The event also included forces from the Netherlands.

"Many of these systems are being used today to prepare our forces," U.S. Army Maj. Rick Sanders said at the presentation, noting that forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have trained on the systems used in the JVTSE.

JFCOM officials said JVTSE is a component of a push by the Defense Department to improve the Joint National Training Capability, one of three capabilities identified in DoD's training transformation plan. The plan improves the breadth of joint force training. The other two DoD training transformation initiatives are the Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution Capability and the Joint Assessment and Enabling Capability.

The Joint National Training Capability mandates enhancing training so it offers joint forces and the services a potential spectrum of live, virtual and constructive training environments.

The JVTSE shows that joint warfighting conditions can be created through a networked collection of interoperable training sites and nodes that synthesize personnel, doctrine and technology to achieve combatant commander and service training requirements, officials said. The events provide realistic combat training, offer an adaptive and credible opposing force and establish common-ground truth for all forces, they explained.

Accordingly, JFCCOM and DoD are improving standards of joint training. The Joint National Training Capability, led by the command's Joint Warfighting Center, is a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders in military training and is DoD's centerpiece for training transformation.

As a result of JVTSE capability, USJFCOM officials said, participants have a global, network-centric capability that strengthens military transformation efforts and improves combat warfighter effectiveness.

The long-term objective of the JNTC initiative is to incorporate service branches, interagency and multinational coalition partners by 2009, and have the capability to train any unified command, service, or multinational or other governmental agency in the full joint warfighting context.

The network will focus on joint training, experimentation, testing, education and mission rehearsal by linking command and control, training facilities, ranges and simulation centers throughout the world, officials said.

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