CARLISLE BARRACKS, Pa. (Army News Service, Feb. 15, 2013) -- If one overarching theme came out of the Winter Wargame Unified Quest 2013, it was the need for greater "unity of effort" between the Army and its joint and coalition partners, according to one of the service's top planners.

That planner was Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, deputy commander, Futures and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC. He and about 100 leaders of joint/multinational forces, academia, think tanks and several government organizations came together this week for the TRADOC-sponsored exercise to plan for the future of the Army from 2020 to 2030.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 was designed to integrate the separate competencies of each of the armed services for effective joint war fighting and that was evident during the last 12 years of warfare, Walker said. However, the resident capabilities within each of the services will be even more critical to meeting the needs of the combatant commanders in the future, he said.

The wargame itself involved modeling and simulations of worst-case scenarios on a global scale including hostile forces, rough terrain, inclement weather and operations in remote and far-flung locations.

The players were divided into two teams: those who played by the rules of current doctrine and those who were given leeway to use future concepts.

Among the many findings that resulted from the game, three were of particular merit, according to Maj. Gen. Bill Hix, TRADOC's director of the Concepts Development and Learning Directorate. And the "jointness" thread wove them together.

First, future warfare requires the on-demand availability of long-range fires to provide greater agility to the force so commanders don't need to bring the fires with them, Hix said. Those "fires" could be rockets, artillery, air strikes and the game demonstrated that troops would be better served by including "fires" from the other services.

Second, the value of maritime mobility and maneuver became clearly evident, Hix said, adding that both Navy and Army platforms were needed to build combat power and extend the commander's reach. Those would be things like sea-basing, amphibious entry vehicles, high-speed transport vessels, causeways for getting vehicles and gear ashore where ports are unavailable and so on.

Third was the value of integrating air power from each of the services in areas where entry access is difficult. If multiple access points could be opened with the help of air power, it could split the enemy's focus, Hix said.

The game demonstrated the importance of those joint capabilities from the combatant commander's perspective down to the battalion and company levels, he said.

Hix provided an anecdote to illustrate the point about the need to have the right capability at the right time at any command level, irrespective of service. During the games, one of the British players said he overheard an Irish constable speaking to his military British counterpart, who said, "When I need the military I need to be looking at him, not for him."

The games demonstrated the need for the right capability at the right time, especially in the worst-case scenario of a collapsed nuclear state with unsecured weapons of mass destruction, according to Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, assistant deputy director, Joint Development, J-7, Joint Staff. He said the services would need to work a lot closer in coming years on counter-WMD approaches.

Another challenge emerging from the games, Beaudreault said, is command and control effectiveness at the various echelons of command across the services, where communications and data are being exchanged in high volumes. He said it is important to "gain a clear, situational understanding across the domains of air, cyber, intelligence and others without getting information overload."

Strategic planning and wargames like this are especially important to strengthening partnerships with America's allies, said Australian Brigadier Barry N. McManus, military attaché and assistant defence attaché, Embassy of Australia.

"We do these (wargames) quite comfortably together and have been for a number of years, exploring a wide range of concepts, ideas developments, solving interoperability and technical compatibility issues, McManus said.

Walker pointed out that "jointness" also means having interagency partners on the team. "We're blessed to have retired ambassadors, State Department officials and those from other agencies here" at the wargame, he said.

These partners bring a lot of value, especially in shaping the regions, where humanitarian and infrastructure assistance creates goodwill and helps to lessen the chances of conflict, he said.

Walker said the theme of "unity of effort" will be evident in the spring of 2014, with a joint network integration evaluation exercise, where the emphasis will be placed on integrating air and missile defense.

"The simulation and modeling we've done here," Walker said, "we'll be doing for real."