‘Wargame’ prioritizes Army’s infrastructure requirements

By Stefan AlfordJanuary 20, 2023

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Senior leaders representing all of the active Army’s major commands will converge on Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 23-27 for a different kind of wargame.

Instead of campaign planning against fictitious enemy forces, the real-world adversary is aging infrastructure. In addition, simulated surveillance and intelligence gathering tactics will be replaced by data-driven analytics collected over the last three months on all real property assets in the Army’s inventory – from barracks and work centers to quality of life facilities like child development centers, dining facilities, and gyms.

And, as opposed to formulating battle plans to bring down identified targets, this wargame focuses on building up infrastructure through a defined prioritization process to program funds toward construction and renovation projects.

The annual Army Materiel Command-led and Installation Management Command-hosted Facility Investment Plan wargame event began in 2020 to establish a cyclic and evolving process to strengthen installation readiness for the Army of 2030 and beyond.

“The Facility Investment Plan analyzes all active Army facility requirements over a 10-year period,” explained Paul Schaefer, FIP program manager and AMC’s Deputy Director of Facilities, Logistics and Environmental Management. “The FIP captures military construction, restoration, and modernization needs as identified by installations. These requirements are then prioritized by senior leaders at the FIP wargame.”

An integral part of that prioritization process was an Army-mandated, 100-percent inspection of all active Army facilities to assess current infrastructure and determine investment needs. Those senior leader walk-throughs began in mid-October and were extended through Jan. 18 to allow the most current data to reflect real-time requirements via comprehensive, specific checklists to capture building conditions.

The inspection process also transitioned from “an old clipboard and paper forms,” said Schaefer, to a more technical, electronic database. This change extended the assessment period to allow facility managers and public works officials in the midst of transitioning between systems to “conduct eyes-on inspections to alleviate any ambiguity.”

“We deliberately took the time needed to successfully complete the logistical challenge of inputting all of the information into a database of record to accurately inform us before the wargame,” said Schaefer. “That data ensures we make the best possible decisions to focus Army funding on the most pressing needs.”

The comprehensive tools for the FIP wargame were just developed in the last three months, added Schaefer. “These analytical tools help us see our facilities in ways we weren’t able to in the past, such as a modeling tool that helps show how fast a building would degrade over time if no money or fixes were put into it. The tools allow us to identify and get after the facilities that need the most help. They also assist us in taking into account the effects of climate change on our infrastructure, so we can pursue different construction technologies and renewable energy for resiliency.”

Victory in this wargame comes when the prioritized construction and modernization projects are submitted for Army senior leader approval. The approved FIP is then incorporated into the Army’s funding plans and submitted to the Secretary of Defense as part of the Army’s Budget Estimate Submission.

In FY22, restoration and modernization projects from previous FIP wargame efforts resulted in 222 awards totaling $1.2B, including 50 barracks projects at 17 installations; a cyber center of excellence; two child development centers; airfield, rail and pier repairs supporting deployment readiness; and utilities power substations and heat plants.

“The FIP is a living document and sometimes plans change based on a variety of factors, both internal and external,” said Schaefer. “This annual process lets us review our requirements and realign our efforts within a 10-year window to ensure we are getting after our biggest needs as prioritized by leaders at each installation.”