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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 098-00
February 29, 2000

COMBAT EVALUATION IDENTIFICATION EXERCISE DRAWS 6,000 U.S., BRITISH FORCES TO EAST COAST SITES

More than 6,000 visiting active duty and Reserve force soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians, including nearly 600 members of the British armed forces, have deployed to military training sites in Eastern Georgia and Northeast Florida for the Department of Defense's fifth annual combat identification evaluation exercise from Feb. 28 - March 10, 2000.

Representing 93 different military units and defense contract organizations, these servicemembers are training to distinguish between friendly and hostile forces in this evaluation conducted by the All Service Combat Identification Evaluation Team (ASCIET).

ASCIET is a U.S. Joint Forces Command organization which examines a broad range of combat identification areas to include doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures and combat systems. Their evaluations are the DoD's primary means to analyze how the military identifies enemy targets, particularly in a multi-service environment, also known as joint warfighting.

One of the numerous benefits of ASCIET evaluations is that the process encourages communication between industry combat identification system developers and the warfighters who may eventually be using the equipment. At the same time, military participants receive immediate feedback that gives them potentially life-saving combat experience.

During the evaluation phase, each 12-hour day begins with two hours of briefings on the day's planned activities. Next, participants engage in five hours of combat, to be followed by a five-hour debrief session. This process features a computer system that records and plays back every individual warfighter's movement or gunshot, every ship's position, course change or weapon fired, and every airplane's route flown, bomb dropped or missile fired.

Every engagement in the battlespace is digitally recorded and analyzed. In particular, analysts review every action and reaction by participants to determine the cause and effect of each engagement decision. During the debrief, the day's battle is played back and participants can stop at any point to review their actions. Since all weapons are only electronically fired, this eliminate the need for costly ammunition, helping ASCIET to conserve tax dollars.

ASCIET 2000 will bring together more than 70 current combat identification systems and 15 government-sponsored emerging technologies to be evaluated in the joint and multi-national or combined warfighting environment. The war game portion of the evaluation includes both day and night activities with day missions Feb. 28 - March 3 and night missions March 6-10. During night operations, the war games will end by 10 p.m. EST.

Sites supporting the evaluation include Fort Stewart, Ga.; Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.; Wright Army Airfield, Ga.; Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center, Ga.; Robins Air Force Base, Ga.; Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.; Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. and several water and air ranges off the coast of Georgia.

The visiting U.S. forces consist of about 1,200 Marines, 1,000 Army soldiers, 1,200 Navy sailors, and 1,200 Air Force airmen. Also there will be 593 military participants from the United Kingdom. Another group of approximately 400 U.S. Marines and soldiers will train separately in enemy warfighting techniques to enhance their designated role as opposing forces (OPFOR).

The equipment being used by the OPFOR includes former Soviet Union tanks and armored vehicles; a collection of Mi-24 Hind and Mi-17 Hip Soviet-built helicopters, and a single-seat micro jet brought in to fly low-level missions that simulate cruise missile attacks against U.S. and U.K. forces, who are also known as Blue Forces.

ASCIET features Soviet OPFOR tactics and tanks, armored personnel carriers and equipment because of the former Soviet Union's (FSU) past practice of exporting their equipment and tactical training to numerous countries throughout the world.

While many of those nations are now friendly to the U.S., some are still considered to be potential adversaries. These FSU combat vehicles will be detected and tracked by an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System that detects and tracks ground targets in much the same way that the Airborne Warning and Control System tracks airborne targets.

Blue Force air defense assets will include an Aegis destroyer (the USS Mitscher), one Royal Navy frigate (the HMS Norfolk), a Patriot site, and several F-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats and 15 RAF Tornado jet fighters. These systems, working with numerous other airborne and ground-based systems, will combine to form a Joint Integrated Air Defense System, or JIADS.

Opposing aircraft will attempt to penetrate and defeat the JIADS, while opposing ground troops will start out with a few minor border-zone incursions before they launch a full-blown conflict, thus creating a challenging combat identification environment.

For more information, please call ASCIET Public Affairs, Lt. Col. Jim Sahli or Capt. Jay DeLancy at (912) 963-3125.