By By John Harlow/TRADOC News ServiceMay 1, 2009
FORT MONROE, Va. (May 1, 2009) - Unified Quest is the not just a future game that concludes with a week-long exercise at the Army War College. It is a year-long campaign of learning with the theme in 2009 of Sustaining Balance in the Future Force.
Throughout the year, participants in the exercise have conducted small working group seminars in preparation for the final game in May.
"The demands of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed a significant strain on our force," said Col. H.R. McMaster, Director, Concept Development and Experimentation with the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC). "It is important for us to not only win the wars that we are in, but to ensure that in doing so, we preserve our ability to sustain the Army's effort in the long term in those wars but to remain prepared for future conflict."
Unified Quest is just one of the contributing tools that help devise the Army Capstone Concept.
"I think we have a great opportunity to contribute significantly to the Capstone Concept," said Col. Cecil Lewis, Future Warfare Division Chief for ARCIC. "We have an opportunity to contribute to the way the generating force supports the operating force. We can figure out ways and methods to make that support more efficient."
In the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and also in future conflicts, it takes more than the Army to win our Nations wars. It takes a multi-service, multi-national and whole of government approach to effectively win the battles between armed enemies, but also win the hearts and minds of the citizens of the country in which our troops are engaged in.
Unified Quest brings many minds together. Soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, members from many branches of the government, from think tanks, academia and former senior leaders, to collectively look at the problems and try to find solutions.
"We have put together a tremendous team to look at the key questions we are examining," said McMaster. "We need to be able to study recent and ongoing conflicts and understand their implications. To understand the broad range of experience, we need to be able to look at problems, challenges and opportunities in depth to really understand some of the details associated with those conflicts. We also need to study them in context. The expertise we bring in provides that context. We need to make sure the Army is integrated into the Joint force, multi-national and whole of government approach to the problems ahead. The all-star cast that is coming to Unified Quest helps put our thinking into the context of a wide ranging career of service experience for many of them and also a context through the different perspectives of national security that they bring to the game."
Through the experiences of OIF and OEF, the Army is competent in confronting irregular adversaries, a competency that must be maintained for the foreseeable future. In FM 3-0 Operations, the Army is expecting its Soldiers to be able to operate across the full-spectrum of conflict and Unified Quest is helping the Army achieve the appropriate balance of capabilities to do so.
Through the expertise assembled at Unified Quest, the study hopes to be able to examine the following issues.
Determine how to enhance the expeditionary quality of the generating force-the institutional component of the Army - so that it can lend its unique skills and expertise to the fight.
Determine how the Army can enhance unity of effort with its interagency partners (with a special emphasis on interagency planning at the JTF-country team level).
Determine how the Army can best enable, sustain and support diverse military and civilian partners without a large, conventional force footprint.
"The work at Unified Quest is immensely important," said McMaster. "A solid conceptual foundation for thinking about the future wars and identifying the problem sets that are associated with future armed conflict is important because it drives so much of what our Army does to prepare for future wars. Through UQ, we're getting it right. We are making a grounded projection into the near future and taking a step back from what we are doing today so we have time to think about the future."
Because of the work done in the Unified Quest campaign of learning, Army leaders will have the ability to make hard choices about the commitment of resources. The insights gained through Unified Quest enable policymakers to provide full-spectrum capabilities in a resource constrained ambiguous environment.
Unified Quest 09 concludes next week at the Army War College, in Carlisle, Pa.