America's Contingency Corps leverages data to advance joint force readiness

By Christopher Hurd, Army News Service and Spc. Osvaldo FuentesMay 23, 2023

U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division and soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment conduct pre-checks on M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems during exercise Scarlet Dragon in Dugway, Utah, Feb. 2, 2023. Scarlet Dragon is a joint exercise in which the U.S. military branches test their interoperability capability with joint units.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division and soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment conduct pre-checks on M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems during exercise Scarlet Dragon in Dugway, Utah, Feb. 2, 2023. Scarlet Dragon is a joint exercise in which the U.S. military branches test their interoperability capability with joint units. (Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Emma Gray, U.S. Marine Corps) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division and soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment conduct pre-checks on M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems during exercise Scarlet Dragon in Dugway, Utah, Feb. 2, 2023. Scarlet Dragon is a joint exercise in which the U.S. military branches test their interoperability capability with joint units.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division and soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment conduct pre-checks on M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems during exercise Scarlet Dragon in Dugway, Utah, Feb. 2, 2023. Scarlet Dragon is a joint exercise in which the U.S. military branches test their interoperability capability with joint units. (Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Emma Gray, U.S. Marine Corps) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — For the joint force to win battles in a rapidly changing landscape, they need to leverage technology and do it fast, said XVIII Airborne Corps’ commanding general.

“Every time I’ve ever deployed, any rank, every 60 to 90 days, [conflict is] going to change,” Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue said during a defense symposium last week. “If you cannot adapt, understand and integrate something very quickly, your adversary will do it faster than you.”

The XVIII Airborne Corps is America’s strategic response force, capable of deploying on short notice anywhere in the world by air, land, or sea to conduct unified land operations.

The need to quickly adapt has spurred the command, also known as America’s Contingency Corps, to use artificial intelligence and data-driven predictive models to help solve combatant command problems.

They’ve been doing this as part of exercise Scarlet Dragon, an ongoing series of training operations started by U.S. Central Command to increase the joint force’s warfighting skills. Here, they rapidly use data to inform the command and execute operations.

Two HIMARS are staged for a live-fire exercise in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise, called Scarlet Dragon, is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two HIMARS are staged for a live-fire exercise in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise, called Scarlet Dragon, is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Erin Conway, U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Two Soldiers from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade get grid coordinates for a live-fire exercise in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise, called Scarlet Dragon, is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two Soldiers from the 18th Field Artillery Brigade get grid coordinates for a live-fire exercise in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise, called Scarlet Dragon, is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Erin Conway, U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

During the sixth iteration earlier this year, called Scarlet Dragon Oasis, service members from across the Department of Defense participated in a live-fire target identification and execution exercise. The event showcased each service’s ability to apply this thinking in a multi-domain environment.

“We are using artificial intelligence to pull all actionable data from a scan, instead of having an extra delay from having a team measure it out,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Joseph Hamilton, a tactical air control party officer. “We’re significantly cutting the time it takes from detection until the point of the strike.”

Scarlet Dragon Oasis was held across multiple states, including North Carolina, Georgia, Utah and Florida. The teams used numerous platforms across all services to effectively hit specific targets.

The information gathered from the exercise, combined with information from current operations and new technologies, will be used to advance the next iteration in the coming months.

A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 "Silver Eagles" flies behind a U.S. Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker with New Jersey’s 141st Air Refueling Squadron “Tigers” during exercise Scarlet Dragon on Oct. 7, 2021. The Scarlet Dragon exercise was led by the XVIII (Airborne) Corps and included observers from the UK, Australia and Canada as well as participants from all six U.S. armed services.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 "Silver Eagles" flies behind a U.S. Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker with New Jersey’s 141st Air Refueling Squadron “Tigers” during exercise Scarlet Dragon on Oct. 7, 2021. The Scarlet Dragon exercise was led by the XVIII (Airborne) Corps and included observers from the UK, Australia and Canada as well as participants from all six U.S. armed services. (Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Matt Hecht, U.S. Air National Guard) VIEW ORIGINAL
A HIMARS shoots a rocket during live-fire exercise Scarlet Dragon in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A HIMARS shoots a rocket during live-fire exercise Scarlet Dragon in Utah Feb.2,2023. This reoccurring exercise is a continuation of each U.S. military branch’s plan to modernize and test systems to ensure we continue to be interoperable and maintain our lethality. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Erin Conway, U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The corps not only uses data for warfighting but for improving its people. They collect data and track progress for everyone at the command.

Then they apply that data to a variety of situations, including the Army Combat Fitness Test. Variations in performance help show how Soldiers adapt and change.

They also use data to further quality-of-life projects. During the command’s annual innovation series, a Soldier suggested placing mold sensors in Army barracks. The corps brought that idea to scale and now will be able to use the data from the sensors to help predict future problems.

In warfighting, the amount of data available continues to grow as artificial intelligence advances. This technology revolution has created a complex landscape the corps must maneuver to stay ahead of competition.

“The range, the speed and the ability to see everything has completely changed,” Donahue said. “What’s good for 30 days might not be for 35. Your ability to adapt and integrate is really important.”

The corps stays flexible, leveraging their data-driven models to provide the joint force with the information needed to make a difference.

RELATED LINKS:

Data-centric exercise showcases joint capabilities, lethality

Modernization leaders use Scarlet Dragon exercise to continue Project Convergence campaign of continuous learning

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