The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Unified Quest 04 focuses on joint capabilities

Army News Service

Release Date: 5/10/2004

By Spc. Lorie Jewell

CARLISLE BARRACKS, Pa. (Army News Service, May 10, 2004) - Faced with the challenge of moving two large units through a city surrounded and largely controlled by American and allied forces, the commander of a mock enemy army employed ingenuity and steely resolve to push his troops forward.

He arranged a parade, with thousands of civilian residents lining both sides of the main thoroughfare and children scurrying about, cheering as the enemy soldiers marched safely through the city. The victory was short-lived, though. Once the units were away from residents, America and friends hammered their foes with a joint wrath that destroyed at least 10 percent of the enemy force.

In Unified Quest 04, a war game co-sponsored by the Army and U.S. Joint Forces Command, tactical moves like the parade dreamed up by retired Army Col. Gary Phillips, a 'red' force commander, help shed light on what conflicts and combat may look like in the future.

The game, played out May 2-7 at Carlisle Barracks between 'blue' and 'red' forces, was set in the year 2016 with a major combat operation in a fictional middle-eastern country and a smaller contingency in a mythical country set in the real-world area of Indonesia.

The central question the game set out to answer was how to counteract an adversary relying on a combination of protracted, unconventional operations and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

For the second consecutive year, the game's focus was on the joint capabilities of war fighting. Along with the other U.S. service branches and commands, players also came from the armies of 13 foreign countries - Spain, Britain, France, Germany, and Turkey, for example - and representatives of universities, other government agencies such as the U.S. State Department and non-governmental organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

This year's game continued a global scenario that began two years ago, but with more emphasis on stabilization operations, said David Ozolek, assistant director of Experimentation at the Joint Forces Command.

Ozolek and others stressed that Unified Quest is not about war planning, but war gaming. Scenarios are created with input from experts in economics, social trends and scientists who try to replicate realistic global pictures of the future.

"It's about testing concepts, pushing them to failure,'' said Bill Rittenhouse, chief of war gaming for TRADOC. "It's about exploring problems and identifying solution strategies."

As a blue task force commander, retired Army Lt. Gen. Don Holder still faced stiff challenges after his troops took control over most of the fictional middle-eastern country. Although 'blue' surrounded the capital city of 17 million people, 'red' forces maintained a heavy presence inside. The main supply route was routinely disrupted.

With a future combat system that gave 'blue' easy weapons superiority, Holder found his strategy shifting from military might to relationship cultivation when trying to stabilize his forces in and around the capital city. In an effort to get the city's citizens to accept the 'blue' force, Holder and other leaders worked on spreading the message that residents would have their own government and getting media reports into the city that reported how well conditions were in other parts of the country.

Retired Vice Admiral Lyle Bien, a blue task force commander in the fictional Indonesia country, praised the multinational representation in the game. High-ranking officers from Israel, Australia and Germany, among others, worked with him in helping the country's government regain control over separatist forces.

"This gives us better insight into how the coalition thinks and their personal knowledge of the area,'' said Bien. "It brings a richness and realness that can't be replicated."

Brig. Gen. David Fastabend, game director, and Maj. Gen. James Dubik, director for joint experimentation with the Joint Forces Command, are encouraged with the success of the joint focus on the game.

"Having a venue where all the services can be together to think out problems is very powerful,'' Dubik said. "The concepts we're delivering are much richer as a result."

Join the mailing list