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Far-Reaching Scenario Reflects Changing World

The increasing complexity of global geopolitics is weighing heavily on U.S. military planners as they gird for the next round of network-centric warfare. Both technological and cultural dynamics loom large in potential scenarios and outcomes.

War game adds new layers, transforms strategy.

The increasing complexity of global geopolitics is weighing heavily on U.S. military planners as they gird for the next round of network-centric warfare. Both technological and cultural dynamics loom large in potential scenarios and outcomes.

The diversity of the nations participating in a recent technology demonstration highlighted the importance of redesigning traditional information exchange, security and management tools to enable quick collaboration and use of a new ally’s assets. With the addition of Pacific Rim countries, the definition of multinational partnerships broadened, extending that trial performance to become a more realistic portrayal of how coalitions will work in future operations. The presence of these new participants also compelled the services to go beyond joint interoperability issues and address a broad range of challenges that multinational missions could pose.

The Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (JWID) 2003 focused on “Coalition Interoperability, the 21st Century Warfighter’s Environment.” In addition to giving lead parts to the demonstration’s long-standing partners—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, known as AUSCANZUKUS, and NATO—JWID organizers increased the role of four Pacific Rim nations. Last year, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore served as observers. This year, country representatives served as liaison officers and participated on the multinational task force (MTF) staff.

“Clearly, coalition warfare is the art of the possible,” says Capt. Christopher G. Fennig, USN, MTF commander, JWID 2003. “We don’t know who our allies are going to be in the next conflict, but we know the probabilities of who they are and can anticipate how we leverage their assets. It’s prudent we practice that now.”

Each year, JWID plays out a scenario designed by the host combatant command. For the second consecutive year, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, hosted the event. The scenario provides the MTF and its components with the backdrop to run interoperability trials through a full range of military operations.

The JWID 2003 scenario was set in Tindoro, a fictitious island in the Pacific Ocean. As a result of a turbulent history, the island is politically divided. The nearby country of Samagaland has created a northern island province that is economically and politically tied to the mainland. South Tindoro, an independent nation, controls the Fingal enclave within North Tindoro. South Tindoro enjoys friendly relations with Rabenneste, a country located west of Samagaland. Meanwhile, Gibsonia and Kaktaria, two nations located west of Samagaland, support Samagaland’s efforts.

As the scenario begins, years of discord between the island’s factions have destabilized the region, requiring intervention from the United Nations (UN). Gastonia, friendly to South Tindoro, hosts the UN-mandated multinational task force, providing intermediate staging bases. JWID’s conflict scenario lasts approximately 220 days, and the script divides operations into five distinct phases with one day representing each phase.

The scenario is the backdrop for coalition interoperability trials (CITs) running at operating sites around the world. JWID 2003 featured 42 CITs to help define solutions for coalition information-sharing problems and issues. Technologies had to meet one or more of JWID’s six predefined objectives. The objectives encompass multiple-level security, logistics, language translation, situational awareness, network vulnerability and core services.

For example, the Coalition Warfare Program (CWP) was one CIT that met multiple JWID objectives. The CWP is a dynamic coalition network and security solution under development by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, in partnership with industry. CWP incorporates network-centric computing technologies, ultrathin-client stateless appliances, smart cards for user access and mobility, and virtual private network technology. The result is a coalition network computing environment that is flexible and secure.

Another CIT that many coalition nation leaders emphasized during the event was language translation services (LTS), a command and control solution that provides language translation tools. During international crisis situations, nations need to operate in multinational, multilingual environments. LTS provides the communications tools required for successful collaboration.

Col. (P) Randolph P. Strong, USA, command, control, communications and computer systems, J-6, PACOM, notes that because JWID previously held stand-alone demonstrations, assessing warfighter utility, interoperability and security was more difficult. “A number of countries would bring in technology, either hardware or software, and display it in a sterile environment not connected to the operational world.

“We wanted to get JWID more involved in how the demonstrations would support potential operations, whether one in peace such as humanitarian relief or disaster relief assistance, some operation in a crisis, or even an operation in a wartime environment such as Iraq,” he says.

“More and more, as we get involved in those types of operations, we are working with our coalition partners. There is a definite need to share information with them whether it is something as simple as a text message to graphics to videoconferencing. The lesson learned out of operation Iraqi Freedom is not a new lesson but a lesson strengthened. It is an absolute imperative to have solid, robust communications with your coalition partners during an operation if you really want to have them play an effective role. If you can’t pass them your ATO [air tasking order], if you can’t pass them immediate situation reports, it becomes very difficult for coalition partners to operate in your deployment,” Col. Strong relates.

By bringing a number of countries into play, each with different interests and roles, the scenario established the real-life requirement of not only seamless coalition communications but also multilevel security during information-sharing activities among coalition and nontraditional partners.

According to JWID’s Joint Management Office Director Lt. Col. Charles Adams, USAF, the focus for this year’s event was on coalition partners, whereas in 2002, the demonstration focused on joint activities as they pertained to the United States only.

Col. Leah Barrera, USAF, chief, JWID Task Force, Joint Experimentation Office, PACOM, emphasizes that working with other countries on coalition systems and integration reflects what is going on in the world today. “When we started operation Enduring Freedom and the global war on terrorism, the president basically said to the world, ‘Anyone who wants to help in this effort, we’ll find a way for you to help.’”

In Afghanistan, many nations have acted in a supporting role, Col. Barrera shares. “These nations might not be the ones we traditionally have been trying to bring into our network. But if we’re going to work with them, we need to communicate with them. We find it important to bring more nontraditional partners into JWID because that is where the real challenges are.”

“We’re looking at a process of crawl, walk, run,” Col. Adams says. As planned, the first year a country is an observer; the second year it participates on staff; and the third year, the country links the network back to its own borders and is a full JWID participant. “In essence, over the course of time, every nation in the world could conceivably have a connectivity into this,” the colonel explains.

Incorporating new nations created a unique challenge and changed the rules for connectivity in JWID 2003, Col. Barrera says. Adding nontraditional partners to a network of coalition partners required that dual domains be created within one network. The AUSCANZUKUS nations and NATO comprise the 6 Eyes domain, while these countries plus the Pacific Rim nations comprise the 10 Eyes domain.

Maj. Harold Mosley, USMC, chairman, network operations working group, JWID Joint Management Office, Hampton, Virginia, notes that the traditional six coalition partners require a separate domain because they have established terms of reference and agreements about who can see classified material. The four additional countries could see anything in the 10 Eyes domain via a separate, filtered network picture.

To accommodate the dual domain requirements during the demonstration, the JWID staff set up two rooms and applied several technologies to the network. “The key technology to establishing this type of infrastructure is guards,” Maj. Mosley says. The primary guard is known as a radiant mercury (RM) guard, which acted as a filter on the global battle image. “If you were looking at the island of Tindoro on a screen like in the movie War Games, you would see a computer-projected image of countries and movements of friendly and enemy forces. The RM guard can filter that view.” For example, the 10 Eyes may not see fighter aircraft or submarines, while the 6 Eyes would see everything from F-15s to deployed ships.

The second guard crucial to the dual domains is the mail guard, the major adds. This guard monitors everyone’s e-mail messages and looks at who they are from, where they are going and what attachments they contain.

In addition to domain services, previously called multilevel security, Capt. Fennig sees information management as the last shoe to drop in JWID. “Over my years in the service, I have seen that the development of information management and network management—the Twin Towers of JWID progress—were lagging,” he says. “I now see a stronger commitment to procedural process and technical solutions for enforcing information management. The key to information management is knowing that there is a limit to your resources and a limit to your bandwidth and processing power. Recognizing that, you don’t want to waste those resources on less than efficient processing of information. If you can apply information management techniques to the resources you’re assigned, you’ll get better utility.”

Col. Strong echoes the need to manage assets better that will result in stronger coalition communications. When U.S. forces first deployed into Bosnia for instance, they had to provide connectivity to the Russian Brigade, the Turkish Brigade and the Nordic Pole Brigade. “It would have been great if a lot of the lessons learned through JWID on interoperability with some of those countries were known back then,” he says. “The way we provided connectivity to the Russian Brigade was essentially by taking a U.S. tactical system and parking it outside the Russian Brigade headquarters and running telephones and fax machines into the headquarters. We would then have a U.S. operator on hand to show the Russian Brigade commander how to dial on the telephone and how to send a fax. That was in a time when our resources were very limited and we had to bring in additional switches to provide the connectivity to the various brigades when we could have very easily used those assets elsewhere in the network had we had interoperability.”

Similarly, U.S. forces were deployed in support of the Australians to East Timor mainly to provide connectivity from the Australian headquarters down to the coalition countries of Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. “This was as recent at 1999, and the way we provided connectivity was by putting U.S. equipment at all of their headquarters,” Col. Strong explains. “Through JWID, we should be able to eliminate the need to do that. We should be able to connect our systems directly into the systems of our potential coalition partners, which saves resources and allows us to all do our jobs more effectively.

“The Russians know how to use their own telephone systems,” the colonel adds. “You don’t have to have an American standing there showing them how to dial. I see lots of benefit coming out of JWID not only from those examples at that level but as it progresses and gets more into the ability to share the common operating picture.”

Already anticipating JWID 2004, with the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as host, participants are looking at a new focus, one inherent to NORTHCOM’s mission. Supporting homeland defense creates the necessity to communicate with departments and agencies within the U.S. government who have not been a part of coalition communications in the past. Organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation may all come into play.

“These particular entities come with a totally different focus,” Col. Adams says. “They’re most concerned about getting the information to the participants and getting the word out quickly. A lot of them may not have anything to do with the secret or coalition caveats. They just want to get the information out. That changes the focus and will stretch the [coalition] interoperability envelope even further.”


Additional information on the Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration 2003 is available on the World Wide Web at www.jwid.js.mil.