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Marine Corps, Joint Forces Command host international war game

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 20056294133
Story by Staff Sgt. Brandon Swenson

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va (June 2, 2005) -- Military officials from around the globe gathered in Potomac, Md., May 22-26, to conduct a seminar-style urban war game with coalition force representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Canada, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and NATO.

The representatives met for Joint Urban Warrior 2005 to discuss current issues and future plans regarding urban warfare practices and policies.

Over the duration of the war game, several phases of discussion were held to address current urban warfare issues in a coalition environment culminating in a multiple-sided war game with attendees divided into several red, blue, and green cells.

Red cells represented opposing forces in the 2007 and 2015 urban battlefields. Blue cells portrayed coalition forces also covering the 2007 and 2015 combat environments. Green cells represented all noncombatants in the urban battlefield.

“That’s what makes this exercise unique,” said retired Marine Maj. Gen. John Admire, Blue Cell-3 leader. “It’s different from the traditional ‘red’ versus ‘blue’ cell war games. We’ve added a ‘green’ cell to represent the influences of noncombatants -- even media -- in the urban environment.”

Each cell contained an analyst to report the data discussed within the cell, which will be combined with all of the reports from the other cells, and then made available to the senior military leaders of the participants.

Even though it was a war game designed to address current issues and forecast potential areas of concern in the Three Block War -- the name given to war fighting, peace keeping, and humanitarian operations conducted in close proximity -- the focus on war fighting was not the main concern.

“The focus is not on war fighting, but on supporting phases of joint coordination issues,” said British Army Col. Nick Borwell, Blue Cell-2 leader.

The coordination, integration and interoperability of coalition and interagency forces led discussions, with Admire comparing the Three Block War environment to jungle warfare.

“Urban warfare is nothing new when you look at it like jungle warfare, with a conventional force fighting an asymmetrical enemy within close proximity, which strips away our ability to see farther, more clearly, maneuver faster, or engage more precisely,” Admire said.

Admire said that in such a close combat environment, new weapons, command and control, and communication technologies are needed to assist the small unit leaders in that environment.

“But we don’t believe in technology for technology’s sake,” he said. “We believe we have drilled down to a point where we know how we want to operate in an urban area and add those select technologies to enhance our capabilities.”

Some of these technologies include improving urban intelligence gathering, which has become more difficult with the increase of asymmetrical enemies which puts a greater importance on human intelligence gathering.

Retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson, 2015 Red Cell leader, added that better understanding the role of local governments and militias will play a crucial role in urban warfare. “Understanding the local militias and governments and their agendas – what they stand to gain – can equate to greater support and cooperation.”

The value of Joint Urban Warrior 2005 may not be immediately realized, but the importance of having this war game and including coalition and interagency representatives is clearly apparent.

“Ensuring the international involvement is vital,” Admire said. “We’d be fooling ourselves by trying to hold a war game like this with just (United States) representatives.”

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