Posts Tagged ‘US Military’

Wargame results continue to shape future

October 18, 2009

 






Wargame results continue to shape future forces, doctrine

 

More than 180 participants from combatant commands, key coalition partners, and a broad range of government agencies gathered in northern Virginia earlier this year to examine how joint force operations will unfold in the future.

The results of that wargame in May and June led U.S. Joint Forces Command’s (USJFCOM) Joint Concept Development and Experimentation (JCD&E) Directorate to find the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO) a conceptually sufficient framework for the future of joint operations.


USJFCOM, the services, other combatant commands and the Joint Staff developed the CCJO as a guide to how joint forces will operate in response to an array of future security challenges. 


The CCJO as a whole held up to the scrutiny of the experiment’s participants. , At the same time, the experiment uncovered several other conceptual areas that need further development, said Navy Rear Adm. Dan Davenport, JCD&E director.


“The CCJO held up very well to all the challenges presented and was determined, through the rigorous evaluation of the experiment to be sufficient to guide future force development,” he said.  “We did find areas where additional concept development is needed to further flesh out the ideas in the CCJO, and those will be the focus of future work we do here at Joint Forces Command and across DoD.”


Davenport said participants in the experiment’s blue force confronted many challenges as they examined particular areas.


“Some of these challenges were recognized in the wargame as potential game changers requiring a versatile joint force that is able to understand and adapt to the situation,” he said.  “None were show stoppers, and all the objectives that the blue force had to carry out were achieved.”


The wargame generated detailed insights and recommendations in several areas of challenge for the joint force, including a “whole of nation” approach will be required to deal with a complex and uncertain future environment, keeping a well-defined balance between military tasks and those performed by other agencies, both inside and outside the government. 


The idea of “whole of nation integrates academia, industry and other elements that need to be brought to bear to really, fully deal with many of the challenges,” Davenport said.


Other insights and recommendations include:



  • Situational understanding goes beyond situational awareness.  It requires an ability to interpret the implications of events and conditions, according to experiment organizers.  Joint forces need better tools and processes to frame problems and develop courses of action in complex and dynamic environments.
  • Joint forces need to be better prepared to operate in degraded or denied network environments.  Future enemies will increasingly take the fight into the cyber domain, and two goals are imperative, Davenport said.  “The first is the need to improve the capability of our systems to be resilient and redundant in the face of cyber threats and the [second is the] need to regularly train our forces to operate in degraded or denied environments.”
  • A comprehensive, flexible, culturally informed strategic communication capability is critical to future operations.  “Our joint force commanders need an effective, coherent narrative – with words matching actions – to achieve success and maintain domestic, international and allied support,” Davenport said.

Davenport said that USJFCOM’s staff is maintaining its “bias for action” and is actively transitioning the wargame’s results into action.


“Joint Forces Command remains committed to turning the wargame recommendations into action,” he said.  “We’re working with leaders and organizations across DoD to transition the results to drive enduring change.  In many cases, the action is already underway. 


 


Jacob Boyer


# END

U.S. Army Africa: What is it?

February 22, 2009

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U.S. Army Africa: What is it?

Based in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Africa is America’s first and only All-Army team dedicated to achieving positive change in Africa. As the Army component to United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. Army Africa, in concert with national and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote peace, stability and security in Africa. As directed, the command deploys as a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response.

The transformation to U.S. Army Africa symbolizes America’s enduring commitment to Africa. With about 250 members in the command, the Army recognizes U.S. Army Africa’s current structure and size are inadequate and are analyzing options to increase the capabilities of the command. Regardless of size, U.S. Army Africa acknowledges the responsibility to create a world-class organization that is well-designed, expertly run and mission focused.

 

Just a few months ago, U.S. Army Africa had only a few members with operational experience and little knowledge of Africa’s history, geography and security challenges. Today, all of U.S. Army Africa’s primary staff officers and many of its junior officers and non-commissioned officers have participated in planning activities, staff talks, or exchange programs in Africa. The Command also embarked on a training and education program including week-long seminars from African experts to members of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and added African modules to the Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace program on-line.

Data: US Army

Irregular and Regular Warfare Equally Vital to US Military

December 5, 2008
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Aviation Calendar 2009

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The Pentagon this week approved a major policy directive that elevates the military’s mission of “irregular warfare” — the increasingly prevalent campaigns to battle insurgents and terrorists, often with foreign partners and sometimes clandestinely — to an equal footing with traditional combat.

The directive, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England on Monday, requires the Pentagon to step up its capabilities across the board to fight unconventionally, such as by working with foreign security forces, surrogates and indigenous resistance movements to shore up fragile states, extend the reach of U.S. forces into denied areas or battle hostile regimes.

The policy, a result of more than a year of debate in the defense establishment, is part of a broader overhaul of the U.S. military‘s role as the threat of large-scale combat against other nations’ armies has waned and new dangers have arisen from shadowy non-state actors, such as terrorists that target civilian populations.

“The U.S. has considerable overmatch in traditional capabilities . . . and more and more adversaries have realized it’s better to take us on in an asymmetric fashion,” said Michael G. Vickers, assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities, and a chief architect of the policy.

Designed to institutionalize lessons the U.S. military has learned — often painfully — in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001, the policy aims to prepare the military for the most likely future conflicts and to prevent the type of mistakes made in the post-Vietnam War era, when hard-won skills in counterinsurgency atrophied.

Read the full WP article

America: Still the Essential Power

November 29, 2008
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Naval Calendar 2009

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Peter Brookes wrote a great essay on why the world still needs America, and especially the United States military. It begins like this:

Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s gone. While this old chestnut is most often rolled out when referring to a lost but seemingly troubled love, or a trying but departed friend, it might be said for American military might as well.Indeed, many are predicting that we’re entering the twilight of American power–American preemi ­nence. This notion is no doubt reinforced by the cur ­rent economic troubles, a contagion that seemingly began in the United States and has since spread around the world.

While it might be true that American power has peaked in a comprehensive way, certainly in relative terms, especially with the rise of China, Russia, India, and Brazil, I would suggest that American power, particularly its military dominance, might be sorely missed in the years to come if America is indeed on the wane–a refrain, I’ll remind you, that we’ve heard before.

For those who may greet a decline in American power with glee, I admonish you: Be careful what you wish for. You’ll be sorry when it’s gone. Let’s conjure up for a moment what a world without American mil ­itary power might look like.

Read the entire essay at The Heritage Foundation

Mullen: Exit dates in Iraq deal not a problem

November 24, 2008

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The chairman of the Joint Chiefs confirmed Monday that the new U.S. agreement with Iraq calls for all U.S. troops to be completely out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and that he is “comfortable” with the deal.

“It is my understanding that the 2011 date [means] all American forces [must be] out,” said Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

The specifics of the agreement have not been publicly released, although the Associated Press reports that the SOFA includes a Dec. 31, 2011 pullout date for all the roughly 151,000 U.S. troops in the country and that it is scheduled for a Nov. 24 vote.

The AP has also reported that according to the agreement, U.S. troops must be out of all Iraqi villages and towns by June 30, 2009. Asked at a Pentagon press conference whether that was his understanding, Mullen did not correct the date and, noting that a number of Iraqi provinces have already been turned over to ISF control, said such a shift is “consistent with how we have moved.”

Mullen said he is “delighted” that the Status of Forces Agreement Read the entire Army Times article

Continuing Promise Team Has Eyes on Curacao

October 24, 2008
USS Kearsarge -- LHD 3

USS Kearsarge -- LHD 3

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WILLEMSTAD, Netherlands Antilles (NNS) — Medical personnel from USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) conducted a two-day optometry clinic in Willemstad Oct. 20-21 in support of the humanitarian/civic assistance mission Continuing Promise (CP) 2008.

A scheduled liberty port, the CP 2008 team was proud to offer their services to the community after spending a few days of relaxing on the island.

“It is great to have the opportunity to interact and treat the locals; after having liberty here and experiencing where they come from it makes it even more rewarding to help them,” said Lt. Megan Rieman, an optometrist embarked aboard Kearsarge.

Despite the rainy weather, locals arrived to receive free eye exams and eye glasses. Host-nation medical personnel were grateful to the CP 2008 team for their assistance.

“We have a really good health care system on the island. Almost everyone is insured, but some of the insurance plans do not cover eye glasses,” said Assistant Medical Director of Saint Elizabeth Hospital Raiza Gonenli-Pardo. “That is the reason, when we were asked what we needed help with, we immediately said optometry; you being here today is helping very much.”

Country officials were also excited that the Kearsarge was willing to lend a hand in the community.

“We are delighted that the skipper and the crew of Kearsarge were willing and able to be here to help. I know this was supposed to be a rest stop for everyone, and the fact that there are still people willing to help is wonderful,” said Chief of Mission/Consul General Timothy Dunn at the U.S. Consulate, Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

“It is important to have a ship as big and beautiful as Kearsarge to come in and help the community, it not only improves the image of the Navy but it also improves the health and welfare of our towns.”

When Kearsarge departs from Curacao, it will move forward with the Continuing Promise mission to Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

The mission of CP is to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian and civic assistance as well as veterinary, medical, dental and civil engineering support to six partner nations and to send a strong message of U.S. compassion, support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kearsarge’s mission exemplifies the United States maritime strategy which emphasizes deploying forces to build confidence and trust among nations through collective maritime security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interest.

Kearsarge is currently under the operational control of U.S. 4th Fleet. U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission is to direct United States naval forces operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South American region and interact with partner nation navies to shape the maritime environment.

The Continuing Promise Caribbean phase is the second of two HCA deployments to the Southern Command area of focus for 2008. The first Continuing Promise deployment was conducted by USS Boxer (LHD 4) in the Pacific.

Gina Wollman

US, Serb military chiefs to cooperate despite Kosovo split

October 21, 2008
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BELGRADE (AFP) — US and Serbian military chiefs agreed Monday on the need to build military cooperation between the two countries and work for regional stability despite deep differences over Kosovo’s independence.

US Admiral Michael Mullen, the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to visit Belgrade since General Omar Bradley in 1951, sought to press Serbs to continue support for an European Union mission that is providing police and judges to Kosovo, US officials said.

Mullen said he had a frank discussion with Serbia’s military chief, General Zdravko Ponos, “about where we stand with respect to the country of Kosovo.”

“And yet on the military side there is much work we are doing and can do to ensure we have a safe and stable region,” Mullen said at a news conference following the meeting.

The United States was the first of 45 countries to recognize Kosovo after the province unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February. It ignited a furious reaction in Belgrade where protesters set fire to part of the US embassy compound.

NATO fought a short but bloody war in 1999 to stop Serb attacks on Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanian population, giving Serbia the distinction of being the only European country to be bombed by NATO, still a source of resentment here.

When Mullen touted the lessons learned by the US military in more than six years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, a reporter asked what lesson it had learned from bombing Serbia.

Read the entire AFP article

Air Force “Operation Deep Freeze”

September 4, 2008

A C-141B Starlifter aircraft leaves four plumes of exhaust behind it as it prepares for an airdrop during Operation Deep Freeze over Antarctica. Find the Bloodsmoke poster or the Bloodsmoke framed print at The PatriArt Gallery.

Operation Deep Freeze (OpDFrz or ODF) is the codename for a series of United States missions to Antarctica, beginning with “Operation Deep Freeze I” in 1955–56, followed by “Operation Deep Freeze II”, “Operation Deep Freeze III”, and so on.

Given the continuing and constant US presence in Antarctica since that date, “Operation Deep Freeze” has come to be used as a general term for US operations in that continent, and in particular for the regular missions to resupply US Antarctic bases, coordinated by the United States military.

The impetus behind Operation Deep Freeze I was the International Geophysical Year 1957–58. IGY, as it was known, was a collaboration effort between forty nations to carry out earth science studies from the North Pole to the South Pole and at points in between.

The United States, along with Great Britain, France, Japan, Norway, Chile, Argentina, and the U.S.S.R. agreed to go to the South Pole—the least explored area on Earth. Their goal was to advance world knowledge of Antarctic hydrography and weather systems, glacial movements, and marine life. The U.S. Navy was charged with supporting the U.S. scientists for their portion of the IGY studies.

The U.S. Navy already had a record of earlier exploration in Antarctica. As early as 1839, Captain Charles Wilkes led the first U.S. Naval expedition into Antarctic waters. In 1929, Admiral Richard E. Byrd established a naval base at Little America I, led an expedition to explore further inland, and conducted the first flight over the South Pole. From 1934–35, the second Byrd Expedition explored much further inland and also “wintered over”. The third Byrd Expedition, in 1940, charted the Ross Sea.

After World War II, from 1946–47, Byrd was instrumental in the Navy’s Operation Highjump that charted most of the Antarctic coastline. In 1948, Commander Finn Ronne led an expedition that photographed over 450,000 square miles (1.1 million km²) by air. Then, in 1954–55, the icebreaker USS Atka (AGB-3) made a scouting expedition for future landing sites and bays.

Operation Deep Freeze I prepared a permanent research station and pave the way for more exhaustive research in later Deep Freeze operations. The expedition transpired over the Antarctic summer of November 1955 to April 1956.

The operation involved the following ships:

  • USS Wyandot (AKA-92), freighter
  • USS Arneb (AKA-56), freighter
  • USS Glacier (AGB-4), ice breaker
  • USCGC Eastwind (WAGB-279), ice breaker
  • USCGC Westwind (WAGB-281), ice breaker
  • MSTS Greenville Victory, merchant marines freighter

In early 1996, the United States National Guard announced that the 109th Airlift Wing at Schenectady County Airport in Scotia, New York was slated to assume that entire mission from the United States Navy in 1999. The 109th, which operated ski-equipped LC-130s, had been flying some National Science Foundation support missions to Antarctica since 1988. It had flown scientific and military missions to Greenland and the Arctic since 1975. The Antarctic operation would be fully funded by the National Science Foundation. The 109th expected to add approximately 235 full-time personnel to support that operation.

The possibility of the Air National Guard taking over the mission had first emerged in 1988. The 109th Airlift Wing had been notified that, almost overnight, one of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW) radar sites that it supported in Greenland was going to be shut down. The other sites would soon follow and the 109th would be largely out of business because it main mission had ended. The unit had been informally keeping tabs on Navy LC-130 operations supporting the National Science Foundation in Antarctica.

Because its aircraft were older than the Air National Guard’s and several of them were entering an extensive period of depot maintenance, the United States Navy asked if the 109th could provide a limited emergency search and rescue (SAR) capability for two years to support Operation Deep Freeze.

The Air Guard accepted. At that time, it had no thought of taking over the mission. The 109th believed that it was senseless for its aircraft to deploy to the Antarctic and just wait to conduct emergency SAR missions so it asked the Navy if it could help carry cargo to the South Pole. The latter resisted at first because its procedures and cargo configurations differed from those of the Air Guard. But, eventually it relented.

The main mission of the U.S. Navy and Air National Guard C-130s was to airlift fuel and supplies to the National Science Foundation’s South Pole Station so that its personnel could survive in isolation during the long Antarctic winter which lasted from February to October.

An Air National Guard working group had been formed to study the idea in 1990. The following year, a dialogue between the Air National Guard, the Air Staff, and the United States Navy began.

Among other issues, it was difficult at first for the Air Guard to convince the Air Staff to commit long term resources to an area of the world that had not been declared a warfighting region because of international treaties.

The Air Guard had supported military operations in Greenland and the Arctic (including classified U.S. Navy operations) since the mid-1970s with the ski-equipped C-130s of the 109th Airlift Wing. It convinced Headquarters, United States Air Force that it was not in the nation’s best interest to abandon the capability to achieve quick and reliable air access to both polar regions.

In March, 1993, the U.S. Navy hosted a two-day workshop with representatives of the National Science Foundation, Air National Guard, and other interested parties to explore logistics support options for the operation. A draft concept of operations had been prepared by the Air Directorate of the National Guard Bureau in 1993.

In February, 1996, a commitment was made to transfer the mission, known as “Operation Deep Freeze” and all LC-130H aircraft operated within the U.S. Department of Defense to the Air National Guard. In September, 1996, senior officers from the 109th Airlift Wing briefed the National Guard Bureau on their concept of operations and the status of their preparations to implement “Operation Deep Freeze”.

Under the transition plan which they had developed, the Air National Guard would continue to augment the United States Navy during the October, 1996 – March, 1997 operating season for the United States Antarctic Program. At the end of the October, 1997 – March, 1998 season, the Air National Guard would assume command of the program. During the third year of the transition program, October, 1998 to March, 1999, the U.S. Navy would augment the ANG before the latter took over the entire program the following year. There would be 7 LC-130s in theater. They would stage from Christchurch International Airport in Christchurch, New Zealand to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Traditional Guardsmen, technicians, and the cadre of Active Guard Reserves specifically brought on board to support “Operation Deep Freeze” would all be involved in the mission.

When fully transitioned to the Air National Guard, the 109th Airlift Wing would have ten LC-130s in its inventory. These would include upgrades of four LC-130 aircraft in-service with the unit plus three new aircraft and three that would be transferred from the U.S. Navy. Air National Guard estimates of the savings to be realized by consolidating the operation in the hands of the 109th Airlift Wing ranged from US $5 million to US $15 million a year. The actual transition to Air Guard control began in March, 1996.

By 1999 the United States Navy had transferred military support operations for Antarctica over to the United States Air Force and its contractor, Raytheon Polar Services. United States civilian and scientific operations on the Antarctica continent are overseen by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) as well as the National Science Foundation (NSF) These subsequent military support missions flown from Christchurch International Airport in Christchurch, New Zealand, to Antarctica are conducted during the late September to early March time frame (summer season in Antarctica) each year.

Missions from New Zealand to Antarctica are flown by large USAF C-17 Globemaster III aircraft of the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command (AMC), After the C-17 arrives and is unloaded, LC-130 Hercules aircraft provide the logistical movement of cargo to remote operating locations on the continent.

These aircraft augmented by the United States Coast Guard icebreakers, the Air Force Materiel Command, and the Military Sealift Command, are also known collectively as Operation Deep Freeze, which was managed from Christchurch, New Zealand, by a Detachment of the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard members of Air National Guard Detachment 13.

Detachment 13 was a subordinate unit which administratively reported directly to the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) at Andrews Air Force Base, in Maryland and operationally reported to United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Upon its deactivation in 2005, the detachment consisted of a Full-time Officer (Commander) and 4 Full-time Non-Commissioned Officers (Logistics, Communications, Security Forces, and Information Management) which remained in New Zealand year round.

Operational command now belongs to Commander, Thirteenth Air Force, as part of USPACOM. In 2005, through the office of the secretary of defense, the commander, U.S. Pacific Command was designated to support the Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica, Operation Deep Freeze. CDRUSPACOM delegated this joint operation to the Commander, Pacific Air Forces, who then delegated primary responsibility for execution of the JTF SFA operation to the commander, 13th Air Force. The United States Air Force deploys to Christchurch New Zealand as the 13th Air Expeditionary Group (AEG) during the operational season.

Courtesy Wikipedia.

Iraq Takes Aim at U.S.-Tied Sunni Groups’ Leaders

August 23, 2008
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The Shiite-dominated government in Iraq is driving out many leaders of Sunni citizen patrols, the groups of former insurgents who joined the American payroll and have been a major pillar in the decline in violence around the nation, reports the New York Times.

In restive Diyala Province, United States and Iraqi military officials say there were orders to arrest hundreds of members of what is known as the Awakening movement as part of large security operations by the Iraqi military. At least five senior members have been arrested there in recent weeks, leaders of the groups say.

West of Baghdad, former insurgent leaders contend that the Iraqi military is going after 650 Awakening members, many of whom have fled the once-violent area they had kept safe. While the crackdown appears to be focused on a relatively small number of leaders whom the Iraqi government considers the most dangerous, there are influential voices to dismantle the American backed movement entirely.

“The state cannot accept the Awakening,” said Sheik Jalaladeen al-Sagheer, a leading Shiite member of Parliament. “Their days are numbered.”

The government’s rising hostility toward the Awakening Councils amounts to a bet that its military, feeling increasingly strong, can provide security in former guerrilla strongholds without the support of these former Sunni fighters who once waged devastating attacks on United States and Iraqi targets. It also is occurring as Awakening members are eager to translate their influence and organization on the ground into political power.

But it is causing a rift with the American military, which contends that any significant diminution of the Awakening could result in renewed violence, jeopardizing the substantial security gains in the past year. United States commanders say that the practice, however unconventional, of paying the guerrillas has saved the lives of hundreds of American soldiers.

Read the entire article at the New York Times