The Air Force, Navy, and Marines are the second group of critical stakeholders who will be active participants (to varying degrees) in the upcoming experiments. As the warfighting experts in their respective mission domains––air, sea, and the littorals––the Army’s sister services rightfully believe they bring critical capabilities to Multi-Domain Battle. But, will their capabilities become organic to the multi-domain task force structure—making the task force more joint than U.S. Army-centric? To what degree will multi-domain task force commanders be able to leverage Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps assets presently forward deployed/forward based overseas to create the desired effects? Will a laborious and time-consuming request for forces process be necessary before these assets are placed at the disposal of multi-domain task force commanders or will they be permanently “on-call”?
In this decision game, you play either a Joint Task Force (JTF) tasked to seize a lodgment in Lebanon or a Lebanese Hezbollah unit tasked to defend the area. The game is designed to help you think through 21st century Joint Forcible Entry (JFEO). Get creative and experiment with Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUMT), seeing where you could either use an optionally-manned vehicle or add a new unmanned system (but think cheap and off-the-shelve vice exquisite and expensive Terminators).
Over the last eighteen months, the Australian podcast the Dead Prussian has asked each of its guests a simple yet deeply contested question: “What is war?” Answers have ranged from Professor Hal Brand’s insightful “war is a tragic but inescapable aspect of international politics” to my own citation of John Keegan’s “war is collective killing for some collective purpose.”Nobody so far has said that war is a “game”. Thankfully this isn’t surprising; anyone who has fought in war, or just studied it, will be aware that this would trivialise the destruction that can lie within. But it is also of note that nobody so far has labeled war as a duel.
Wargaming has a perfect home in military education, where officers blend their operational experiences with new methods and fresh approaches. Wargames can provide budding leaders with venues to practice decision-making, support innovation as part of a greater cycle of research, and ultimately encourage initiative and adaptability. Games cannot address all problems and must be tailored to fit the problems under examination. However, gaming has helped past military leaders prepare for daunting threats in future, uncertain environments. This tool may serve Americans well again ahead of the next conflict.
If conventional war was suspect prior to the GWOT, the possible outcome of the Crimea conflict could almost cement the impossibility of such a war occurring again in the future. It may sound sick when I say that this current dynamic is actually a healthy exercise, as it should provide our government with a wake-up call concerning what a possible conventional war could look like.