By Jonathan (Jay) KoesterDecember 4, 2019
As the Rose Barracks Theater on Rose Barracks, Germany, filled up to standing-room only status, it became clear that the Army is excited and ready for Joint Warfighting Assessment 2020.
More than 300 Soldiers, civilians and contractors attended the mid-planning conference for JWA 20 from Nov. 12-15 in Germany. The conference helped clarify the assessments and training that will happen during JWA 20 from April 25 to May 23, 2020, in Germany and Poland. JWA 20 is the Army's largest annual live, multinational experiment, focused on Multi-Domain Operations. JWAs focus on refining concepts, capabilities and formations through soldier and leader feedback at live experiments.
During JWA 20, personnel from the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command will assess more than 40 concepts and capabilities to help the Army's future fight. JWA 20 is nested with Defender 2020, which is an exercise that will include 37,000 allied and U.S. service members. About 20,000 U.S. service members will deploy from the continental U.S. to Europe for the exercises, including active-duty units from multiple Army divisions, National Guard units from 11 states, and seven U.S. Army Reserve units, making Defender 20 the largest deployment of U.S.-based Army forces to Europe in 25 years.
Douglas Fletcher, chief of JMC, said that interest in the Army's largest exercise employing the Multi-Domain Operations concept was exemplified by the large turnout for JWA 20's mid-planning conference.
"I think having all the right people made a big difference," Fletcher said. "The important thing is all the major commands and agencies were present, starting with United States Army-Europe, both of the multinational corps -- NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and Multinational Corps Northeast -- and the key divisions -- Poland's 12th Mechanized Division and the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division.
"We had all the right schools and centers present to really look at the organizational structures that are new to the Army," Fletcher said. "Decisions will be made this year about things like the Theater Fires Command or Theater Information Command, which are pretty key organizations, particularly when you start to think about Multi-Domain Operations."
Because MDO is inherently joint and multinational, so was the JWA mid-planning conference, with joint service members and multinational partners attending to help plan JWA 20.
"We accomplished all the mid-planning conference objectives we went to Europe to do," Fletcher said. "Particularly with all 18 of the partner nations participating, including from Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France."
Key outcomes from the JWA 20 mid-planning conference included aligning unit training objectives with the approved JWA 20 exercise objectives; aligning units at all echelons with the assessments needed of Force Package One, which is a collection of new formations (or units) the Army anticipates it requires to implement MDO; and finalization of the JWA 20 academics, which will prepare participating units for the coming assessments.
"We certainly talked about the importance of Force Package One experimentation," Fletcher said. "JWA 20 will be the large-scale, live experiment for the Army to take a look at Force Package One for Europe in support of Multi-Domain Operations."
U.S. supremacy is increasingly contested in the land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains, and electromagnetic spectrum as rivals innovate and leverage technology. Multi-Domain Operations will ensure the Army's overmatch and build flexible and resilient formations. JWA 20 will evaluate MDO-focused future concepts, capabilities, and formations in a 2028 operational environment.