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Joint Forces Command, Navy to Test Operational Concepts

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2003 – The Navy and U.S. Joint Forces Command, will conduct a seminar wargame at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., Oct. 6-9.

Unified Course 2004 is a discovery experiment conducted to look at the world of the future to identify capabilities needed to survive in the world of 2018, officials said, and it continues the teaming of the services with Joint Forces Command. This series of experiments started in April with the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa. The Marine Corps will host the next experiment in the spring of 2004 and the Air Force in the summer of 2004. The series will continue through 2005, officials said.

The idea of this series of experiments is to allow the services, the combatant commanders and Joint Forces Command to develop joint concepts. The operative word is "together," said Army Maj. Gen. James M. Dubik, JFCOM's director for joint experimentation. Dubik and Rear Adm. Ronald A. Route, president of the Naval War College, spoke to the press about Unified Course 2004 at the Pentagon roundtable recently.

This experiment series allows each of the services and the combatant commanders to develop operational concepts together, they said. Gone are the days when the services developed concepts and attempted later to fit them into a joint context, they added. The concepts, today, are "born" joint, Route said.

Information gleaned from these experiments will go to the Joint Staff and experts there will use that information to build the Joint Operations Concept. The Joint Operations Concept sets the ground rules for what the force will look like in 15 to 20 years, what capabilities it will need, and how the various services and agencies will work together.

Unified Force 2004 will focus on forcible entry operations. The wargame will test the full range of capabilities needed. While developed by the Naval War College and Joint Forces Command, all aspects -- land, sea, air, special operations and cyberwarfare -- will be part of the test.

The scenario calls for a U.S. force to enter a country forcibly. The enemy is using a variety of "anti-access" strategies -- everything from sea mines to chemical-biological weapons -- to stop the U.S. force. The area is halfway around the world, the operational area is limited, and the terrain poses challenges.

The wargame also benefits the Navy. Route said the exercise tests "sea basing, a concept that flows from the Navy's Seapower 21 Vision. Sea basing is seen as a way to make U.S. forces less vulnerable through expanded use of secure, mobile, networked sea bases. Route said the experimentation plan will test the limits of sea basing. It will help to determine how the Navy will implement the concept, find gaps in capabilities, and identify emerging threats, he said.

"In the end, this is an ideal situation where the services are working closely in a joint environment to ensure the concepts we develop are congruent and work together," the admiral said.

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