By Scott Thompson/Fort Leavenworth LampSeptember 28, 2006
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (TRADOC News Service, September 26, 2006) - U.S. Joint Forces Command is directing its focus to the future urban warfighter, and the Battle Command Battle Lab here is on the frontline.
Urban Resolve 2015 is a series of major experiments designed to assess existing and possible future capability gaps the United States and a coalition partner could face in a major urban environment. The experiment involves multiple services and agencies.
"It's a series of experiments where JFCOM is focused on identifying and isolating the enemy to control battle space in a stability transition and reconstruction operation," said Col. Kevin Polcyznski, deputy director for the Battle Command Battle Lab.
There are two objectives associated with UR2015. First, the experiment is designed to assess current capabilities to determine where current gaps may exist. Second, the year 2015 is targeted to determine what capabilities need to be honed so forces can effectively quiet anticipated threats in the future.
The first phase of Urban Resolve began Aug. 3 and concluded Aug. 18. The second phase, currently in progress, began Sept. 7 and will end Sept. 22. A third phase begins in October.
The experiments consist of war games and workshops, constructive simulations and "Human in the Loop" trials. In HITL trials, orders are given to simulated forces that carry out the mission, parameters and variables are introduced and the outcomes are analyzed and discussed.
Experiments are being conducted at 15 other military bases throughout the country. Twelve coalition partners are also taking part in the experiment. Communication throughout the various experiment sites is constant.
By the nature of its name, Urban Resolve 2015 uses Iraq circa 2015 as its setting. Despite the use of current Baghdad operations as scenarios, experimenters are quick to point out that the scenarios are strictly hypothetical and not meant to be perceived as predicting future events.
The objective of those here at Fort Leavenworth working on UR2015 is the same as the Army objective: to determine how developing capabilities in the areas of doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel and facilities, or DOTMLPF, can improve the joint forces land component commander's ability to combat the urban enemy.
"We're trying to develop those kinds of capabilities for JFLCC and how to measurably improve that commander's ability to identify and isolate the adversary and control the urban battle space of 2015 and beyond," Polczynski said.
About 400 people are participating in the exercises on Fort Leavenworth. Their collective role is that of the JFLCC.
The majority of the forces in the experiment are Army components, Polczynski said.
"And it makes sense," he said. "If you think about what's going on in Baghdad today, it's pretty much a land component stability and reconstruction op."
Most of the other players in the experiment represent response cells. For example, the Air Force represents the joint force air component commander and the Marine Corps represents the joint force maritime component commander. But none are as crucial as JFLCC, Polczynski said.
"But the 'big Kahuna' playing is the JFLCC - we are the supported commander," Polczynski said. "In my opinion, us and probably the Joint Special Operations Task Force are the two major players supporting the JTF (Joint Task Force)."
The Army does experimentation every year, however this year is different, Polczynski said.
"We found that the best way to do a good portion of Army experimentation this year is by linking that with JFCOM's experiment," Polcyznski said.
The decision was partly based on economics, but access to otherwise unattainable resources made the experiment most enticing.
"JFCOM is providing a regional combat and command focus," Polcyznski said. "They are actually playing the joint task force for Iraq. They have all the links to the inner-agencies, the State Department - pieces that are so hard to get to come play in an experiment or an exercise."
Participants in UR2015 include JFCOM, Special Operations Command, the Joint Staff, the Institute for Defense Analysis, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, all branches of service and other U.S. and multinational agencies.
The collaboration has tightened up the mode of operation between the various participants, particularly with JTF, Polczynski said.
"The more you're in experiment, the better the staffs are going to get as far as coordination - who's playing with what and what the user's responsibilities, functions and roles are," Polczynski said.
He sees other results.
"We have, I believe, helped them refine the JUO (Joint Urban Operations) concept," Polcyznski said. "I already know that they're already rewriting that over."
In terms of immediacy, the services are learning things that could affect current operations, such as insurgent infiltration methods.
The lessons are ongoing and the results of the series of experiments may not be evident for years, Polczynski said.
"We are very much interested in getting a look at a future brigade combat team in stability, security, transition and reconstruction operations," Polczynski said.
The third phase of Urban Resolve 2015 is Oct. 12-27.