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Experiment to Examine Joint Operations Concept

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nikki Carter
Special to American Forces Press Service

SUFFOLK, Va., May 29, 2009 – More than 180 representatives from the U.S. military and other government agencies, as well as from foreign militaries, will gather in McLean, Va., from May 31 to June 5 for a war game to test the Defense Department's recently revised Capstone Concept for Joint Operations, or CCJO.

U.S. Joint Forces Command is leading the war game, the culminating event of an overall experiment that has included two previous workshops.

The CCJO, a document approved by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, envisions how the joint force will respond to an array of future national security challenges in the 2016 to 2028 time frame. The CCJO is a companion piece to the Joint Operating Environment, which describes future operational environments and challenges the joint force may encounter.

The CCJO describes how the joint force will operate to address those challenges, which include winning the nation's wars, deterring potential adversaries, developing cooperative security, defending the homeland, and responding to civil crises.

"The Capstone Concept for Joint Operations describes how the joint force will operate in an uncertain, complex and changing future characterized by persistent conflict,” Mullen wrote in the document's introduction. “While the concept focuses on the future, many of its underlying concepts are timeless."

The war game is designed to explore the ideas in the CCJO using three different scenarios, each replicating possible key security challenges, organizers said.

"We have some very significant participation at the three- and four-star level, policy makers, former National Security Council members, former assistants to the president for homeland security, political and interagency participation -- very august crowd for a week-long war game," Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward, Joint Forces Command’s deputy commander, said.

The classified scenarios feature a state competitor, a fragile state and a globally networked terrorist organization. Joint Forces Command will use these scenarios to examine issues such as homeland defense, weapons of mass destruction, adversary use of advanced conventional weapons, cyber operations, and contested access to an area or within a region.

A joint force, represented by select senior leaders and experts from the services, combatant commands, U.S. government agencies and multinational partners, will be assigned to each scenario. Each force will face a robust, dynamic and free-thinking enemy who will challenge their CCJO-based assumptions and solutions, officials said.

"The key is to get the right people with the right backgrounds together to challenge the concept and evaluate the implications," said Navy Rear Adm. Dan W. Davenport, Joint Forces Command’s director of joint concept development and experimentation. The experiment will determine if the CCJO's description of how the future force should operate needs to be adjusted, and will help to identify the capabilities the joint force will need to be successful, including those capabilities currently not planned, he added.

It also will determine changes that could improve the joint force's ability to better operate in the future environments, he said.

"The ultimate goal of the CCJO experiment,” Davenport said, is to provide useful information to those who make force development decisions and to those who think about future joint force issues."

The results from the war game will be available at the end of July.

(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nikki Carter serves in the U.S. Joint Forces Command public affairs office.)

Contact Author

Biographies:
Navy Vice Adm. Robert S. Harward
Navy Rear Adm. Dan W. Davenport

Related Sites:
Capstone Concept for Joint Operations
U.S. Joint Forces Command

Related Articles:
Mullen Releases Concept for Future Joint Operations



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