FORT STEWART, Ga. — The 3rd Infantry Division supported Bold Quest 2022, a premier coalition demonstration event, between July 25 and Aug. 18 at Fort Stewart. Bold Quest aims at improving digital interoperability and building trust between the U.S. and partner nations to increase lethality through joint and combined fires in multi-domain operations.
Sponsored by the Joint Staff J6 Directorate for Command, Control, Communications and Computer/Cyber, Bold Quest is a joint and multinational demonstration and assessment helping to develop and deliver joint all-domain command and control, or JADC2, capabilities at the tactical level.
“The modern battlefield does not allow us the luxury of working interoperability issues during conflict,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, director for Command, Control, Communications and Computer/Cyber, and chief information officer, J6, Joint Staff.
“We’ve proven warfighter demonstrations such as Bold Quest provide opportunities to address [command and control] interoperability challenges between U.S. military services and our partner nations. By putting theory and technology into practice during these events, we learn the advantages and potential shortcomings of new tools and approaches while honing doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures. The result is a more capable, responsive joint and combined force to support our combatant commanders.”
Since Bold Quest’s inception in 2003 with six total nations participating, this “coalition of the willing” event has grown to 23 participants that range from NATO allies to Middle Eastern partners to soon-to-be NATO members, such as Sweden and Finland.
“[Interoperability] is really, really important for us because we want to have the possibility to help others … or if we do missions together,” said Swedish Sgt. Maj. Robert Andersson, sergeant major of research and development at the Swedish Artillery School. “It’s really important that we can use the fire support from other countries and that we can support other countries with fire support.”
Air assets from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, and the U.S. Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina, were used as sensors to identify and detect targets throughout the event.
The “BattleKings Battalion,” 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, executed the call for fire missions for the Bold Quest demonstration on Aug. 16 in real-time as part of the sensor-to-shooter kill chain.
“Bold Quest 2022 is a small but meaningful step toward building a coalition that will deter threats,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Maher, commander of the 1st Battalion, 9th Field Artillery, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “For true interoperability, you need to move beyond the technical means and build an authentic human connection. We have a lot to learn from our NATO allies and partner nations, and with each exercise we do together, we move closer to building experts in all our formations.”
According to the Joint Staff J6 office, Bold Quest provides a large, live command and control testing environment across air, land and sea for the U.S. and partner nations to experiment with interoperability in an operational context.
“The Joint Fire Support Joint Mission Thread in Bold Quest is the only venue in the world that I know of that allows national and military service program offices, agencies and organizations to bench test their systems with other national fire support command and control systems in a lab environment,” said Michael Shifflett, operation manager for the Joint Fire Support Joint Mission Thread. “This ability cannot be understated in that cross national system deficiencies are identified prior to deployment and in turn resolved to enhance multinational all-domain interoperability before needed in combat.”
Additional Bold Quest events are planned for the future.