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[] Wargame offers insight into future,
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Wargame offers insight into future

by Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
Air Force Print News

10/24/2003 - WASHINGTON -- An Air Force-sponsored wargame promises to be
not only leaner than similar events in the past, but more dynamic and
efficient as well.

The 2004 Future Capabilities Game is scheduled for Jan. 11 to 16 at the
Air Force Wargaming Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. It will
test four future Air Force capabilities, said Col. Allison Hickey, the
director of the future concepts and transformation division at the

"In the past, these games were often monolithic and very expensive
events, with up to 500 people participating," Hickey said. "We are
trying to make wargaming, from a strategic-planning perspective, more
dynamic and responsive. Our games in the future, to include this one,
will be leaner and faster. They will also require less spin-up time but
generate better results."

The Air Force's futures wargame is held every other year, Hickey said.
The wargame is a tabletop activity where war-planning strategists from
the Air Force, sister services and U.S. allies come together to play out
wartime scenarios as they might occur in 2020. In doing this, they use
future concepts and technology. 

In the first scenario, the blue team, which represents U.S. allies, is
given "baseline" capabilities the Air Force predicts it will have by
2020 based on the most current planning and transformation roadmaps. The
red team, representing a potential adversary, will be equipped based on
the Air Force's best predictions, said Lt. Col. Rand Miller, the
director of the wargame.

Miller said the two teams will independently plan their portion of a war
scenario, using only the capabilities they were assigned. Afterward,
they come together to do battle.

"After planning, the teams come face to face," Miller said. "The blue
team will brief red on what they plan on doing. The red team will brief
blue. It goes back and forth. What we are looking to get out of that is
the discussion itself. When the scenario assessor has heard enough
discussion, he will tell them how he saw that portion play out."

The second scenario is much like the first. The exception is that the
blue team will be equipped with "forward-leaning" capabilities the Air
Force does not currently have implemented, but may have in some stage of
development. For the 2004 wargame, that will include network-centric
operations, unmanned vehicles, persistence area dominance and directed
energy, Miller said.

Comparing the outcome of the first scenario to the outcome of the second
scenario is really the purpose of the futures wargame. By studying the
"what ifs" generated by an outcome based on possible future
capabilities, Air Force officials can decide if they need to rethink
their plans on how to invest their money, Miller said.

"The futures wargame is about 'what ifs,'" Miller said. "What if we
invested our money differently and came up with one force as opposed to
another? What if we really leaned forward and did some forward-reaching
things that changed the way we look in 2020? How would the enemy play
against us then? 

"If one concept plays much stronger, then maybe we need to reconsider it
-- or maybe not. That's what the wargame is for," he said.

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