Army looks at challenges of transition through 2020 and beyond

By Sonja Whittington, ARCICDecember 10, 2012

Army looks at challenges of transition though 2020 and beyond
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Retired Ambassador Lawrence Butler, foreign policy expert, Col. Ike Wilson,
U.S. Military Academy professor and director of American Politics, Public
Policy and Strategy program, Lt. Col. Alan Griesz from the Special Operations Forces Center of Excel... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
Army looks at challenges of transition though 2020 and beyond
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Clara Clark, a public affairs officer from the State Department, listens to
Maj. Robert Chamberlain explain a point in the Prevent/Shape cell of the
Unified Quest 2013 Winter Wargame Staff Exercise. Chamberlain is a
political-military expert at the U... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

The Army is undergoing a transition from a force primarily focused on execution of combat operations to one preparing for a complex future, and Unified Quest, the Army chief of staff's Title 10 wargame, will examine some of the challenges of this future operating environment.

As part of the Army Campaign of Learning, the Unified Quest joint-partnered Winter Wargame, scheduled for Feb. 9-14 at the Army war College, will provide an opportunity for Army, joint and civilian experts to challenge current and proposed doctrine and concepts using a scenario of a failed, nuclear-armed nation.

"During the wargame, we will be developing elements of the Army's new operating concept and how it helps the Army support the joint force and the central idea of globally integrated operations, as outlined in the new Capstone Concept for Joint Operations," explained Col. Kevin Felix, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capabilities Integration Center chief of the Future Warfare Division. The Future Warfare Division oversees both the Unified Quest program and the Army Campaign of Learning. "This will help our senior leaders make decisions as we look at what may be required from the Army and joint force in 2020 and beyond."

Planning for the wargame started in November with the staff planning exercise, known as the STAFFEX, where participants examined current and future challenges to national security that will be addressed during the wargame in February.

The exercise and wargame are part of an Army and Joint Staff partnership between ARCIC's Concept Development and Learning Directorate and the Joint Staff's Joint Development, Joint and Coalition Warfighting (J7) Division. The wargame will specifically examine joint and Army concepts and Army 2020 Transition initiatives.

To examine the challenges from different perspectives, STAFFEX participants were divided into five groups: two were operational working groups, fighting the same scenario by looking through the lens of either current doctrine or emerging concepts. A third group focused on preventable actions within the scenario and how the operational environment could have been shaped differently given those activities, and the fourth group, also referred to as a global force management cell, examined force management issues. The fifth group was called the strategic working group, which brought together senior leaders to discuss the group's findings and insights.

"Each group faced the same scenario but approached the concept of operations from a different perspective, either current doctrine or through recently released joint or emerging Army concepts," Felix explained.

Group members included Army strategists, joint experts, State Department representatives and former foreign service officers, with each expert bringing a different perspective to the group. The working groups wrestled with developing a course of action to respond to the crisis with the forces and capabilities inherent in the Army in 2020.

During the STAFFEX, the groups developed actions and operational plans, which were analyzed by a Unified Quest team for insights to be carried forward to the Winter Wargame. These insights include:

o Shaping the operational environment requires a deep understanding of potentially competing interests in a region. For example, a U.S. military partner might also be an economic partner of the adversary.

o Preventing and shaping requires a whole-of-government approach; during the past decade, the United States has developed interagency collaboration skills that must be retained.

o Military capabilities must be scalable and tailorable to meet requirements of "prevent" and "shape" roles.

o A future force management model must account for force packages other than brigade combat teams.

The STAFFEX postured the Unified Quest team to uncover additional insights in a strategic environment that continues to change in very unpredictable ways. These insights will be further examined in February, during this joint-partnered Army Winter Wargame, to continue to develop the future Army as part of Joint Force 2020.