CONPLAN 4567 Caspian Guard - Common Training Scenario
In the new Century, Azerbaijan has become a persisten favoriate of American military writers of planning scenarios, surely reflecting actual planning concerns in Defense Planning Scenarios (DPS). Most TRADOC standard scenarios derive from classified DPS information and thus contain derivatively classified information. One TRADOC directed Common Training Scenario is in the Caucasus Region. CTS I is full spectrum operations (FSO) in the Caspian Sea Region. CTS II is stability/COIN operations in a South West Asia (SWA) Iraq/Afghanistan environment.
By the end of the 1990s the Caspian Basin - a region close to Afghanistan - was identified as one area of potential conflict that would challenge the Army to deploy its forces to. By 2003 on popular war-gaming scenario from United States Army Training and Doctrine Command [TRADOC] found the United States needing to gain and secure an airfield in Azerbaijan from Armenian forces.
TRADOC conducts war-gaming and simulations to assist in evaluating warfighting concepts, materiel systems, force designs, operational plans, and battlefield effectiveness (per Army Regulation (AR) 10-87, para 12-3d(2)). A scenario is a tool that supports the evaluation of Army doctrine, organizations, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF). It provides a framework for assessing the capabilities of U.S. forces and equipment under specified situations; identifying potential improvements to Army, joint, and multinational services DOTMLPF; and evaluating proposed concepts and changes to the Army.
An operational scenario is a graphic and narrative description of area, environment, means (political, economic, social, and military), and events of a future hypothetical conflict. An operational scenario describes the global conditions before and during armed conflict; friendly and threat forces, to include weapons, munitions, and sensors lists (WMSL); friendly and threat strategic and theater plans, including air, naval, and special purpose forces; friendly, unaligned, or independent and threat behavioral and cultural operational aspects and considerations; and operational and tactical orders and plans for friendly and threat forces involved in the conflict. It also includes considerations of geographic setting (weather, climate, topography, and vegetation), health hazards, transportation facilities, and other regional and operational elements. When appropriate, the operational scenarios will also address those unaligned or independent forces that may oppose threat, friendly, or both forces.
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The South Caucasus region is the bridge between Asia and Europe, physically linking the Caspian Sea region and central Asia with the Black Sea and Western Europe. The South Caucasus region is also vital to a global network of hydrocarbon production and distribution. Azerbaijan in particular serves as a critical link between East and West in the Caucasus. It is a key source of hydrocarbons as well as a strategic transportation and communications corridor between the landlocked Caspian Sea region and international markets. Maintaining Azerbaijan as a reliable source of and secure transit route for hydrocarbons is critical to maintaining stability in world energy markets. As a result, stability in the South Caucasus region and Azerbaijan in particular is in the national interest of the U.S. and its allies. Indeed, Azerbaijan is a key U.S. partner; critical to advancing U.S. economic and security interests in Eurasia.
The challenge to ensuring Azerbaijan remains a stable source of hydrocarbons and a safe transportation and communication corridor, lies in how its government is encouraged to make the political, social and economic reforms – programs necessary to promote good governance, rule of law, civil society and economic opportunity which would in turn trend to long term stability and prosperity for the Azerbaijani people. These challenges are all the more difficult in light of the apparent growing dissatisfaction of the Azerbaijani people with their government and the emergent insurgency in many of the rural provinces that has proven to be capable and credible. The majority of people in Azerbaijan perceive their government as ineffective, fraught with nepotism and endemic corruption. They perceive little to no tangible evidence of economic opportunity, nor have their lives have improved under the current regime despite increasing profits for the state run hydrocarbon industry.
The South Caucasus region and Azerbaijan, more specifically, lie very much at the heart of competing Eurasian energy corridor strategies. A resurgent Russia and states of the so-called “Near Abroad” that are allied with it, Iran, and now the breakaway provinces referred to as Ahurastan seek to check the U.S. presence and interests in the region. Russian, Iranian and Ahurastani interests countervail existing bilateral relations between the U.S. and Azerbaijan, which in turn must be strengthened if U.S. influence and access is be maintained. Azerbaijan is a secular, pro-western, majority Muslim state. As such, it has the potential to serve as a powerful regional model of reform and prosperity.
U.S. objectives are to coordinate and establish an effective force to deter and, if necessary, to counter aggression, prevent military coercion of friendly states, protect our resources and facilities in the region, deny enemy access to the same, and ensure access to the regional lines of communication and resources. The strategy of the U.S. is designed to: deter war, improve regional stability, demonstrate a commitment to the region, counter hostile expansion and influences, and conduct military operations if deterrence fails. Should deterrence fail, the strategy is to rapidly deploy U.S. forces to defend Azerbaijan. Once adequate combat power has been generated and an adequate defense has been conducted, the strategy is to mass forces and to counterattack to restore the territorial integrity and legitimate government of Azerbaijan as required.
In 2004 American and British commanders held “Hotspur 2004? staff trainings, where also the “Caspian scenario” was used. It is supposed that the matter concerned the preparation of a possible conflict with Iran, which borders Azerbaijan and has similar geographical and climate conditions.
The Digital Warfighter Experiment 2008 (DWE 08) was a Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) experiment co-hosted by the Command and General Staff School (CGSS) and the Battle Command Battle Lab (BCBL-L) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The experiment, conducted from 11-15 February, was embedded in a student exercise that was the culminating event for the Advanced Operations Warfighting Course (AOWC) Block II curriculum. The exercise/experiment was set in an unclassified Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey (GAAT) scenario. The classification level of the scenario allowed full participation by international student officers and coalition member representatives. The scenario depicted a coalition force intervention in a conflict between Azerbaijan and a fictional nation to the South named Ahuristan [a fictional breakaway from Iran, a usable placeholder for Iran]. The mission portrayed in the scenario is a U.S. division/U.K. brigade attack through central Azerbaijan to drive Ahuristani forces out of Azerbaijan to re-establish the pre-war borders in the region.
The Ahuristan scenario is used in Exercise CONPLAN 4567 used in the AY2010-2011 and AY 2012-2013 (AY13-01 and AY13-02) Scenario Reference Books at the Army Command and General Staff College. A Joint Task Force CASPIAN Concept Plan (CONPLAN) which provides for the Coalition defense of Azerbaijan against a conventional attack by Ahurastan (AH). European Command to deploy forces to the area of operations and take actions to deter and defend Azerbaijan territory against an Ahurastan attack; and if required conduct offensive operations to restore the pre-conflict international borders of Azerbaijan and neutralize Ahurastan’s WMD capability. This CONPLAN also provides for the security of US forces, citizens, installations, and resources in AZERBAIJAN and the region. Other NATO nations and allied forces may also participate in this operation.
As requested by the Government of Azerbaijan, JTF CASPIAN executes Flexible Deterrent Options to deter Ahurastan attack against Azerbaijan. On order, JTF CASPIAN deploys additional forces to the area of operations and takes actions to deter and defend Azerbaijan territory against an Ahurastan attack; and as required conduct offensive operations to restore the pre conflict international borders of Ahurastan and Azerbaijan. ICW the Government of Azerbaijan, conducts stability operations, and transitions operations back to Azerbaijan Defense Forces or other designated authority when directed.
There are persistent reports that the US is seeking access to three military air bases in Azerbaijan (Kurdamir, Nasosnaya and Guyullah). The existence of the close political and military relationship between Russia and Armenia, along with the presence of Russian military bases in Armenia, have been cited as a justification for Azerbaijan desiring American bases. Vafa Gulzade, state adviser to the Azeri president on foreign policy, in January 1999 discussed the possibility of Azerbaijan joining NATO.
Russian military sources claimed in December 2003 that the US may station up to 15,000 troops at several mobile bases in Azerbaijan as part of the redeployment of the 70,000-strong U.S. force from Germany to Eastern Europe. According to these sources, Washington planned to deploy F-16 fighters in Azerbaijan for use in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In a February 2004 visit to Uzbekistan, Rumsfeld had outlined the concept of "operating sites" in Asia that would allow the US and its allies "to periodically and intermittently have access and support" in times of crisis. The issue of stationing US military bases in Azerbaijan came into spotlight after US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld´s one-day visit to Azerbaijan at mid-August 2004. General Charles Wald, Deputy Commander of the US European Command Headquarters, had told Defense News that EUCOM planned to expand its presence in Africa and the Caspian region. Among the countries that could host US troops he cited Azerbaijan, Uganda and San Tome and Principe. He said the US troops stationed in Azerbaijan would guard the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.
General Wald told a press conference in Baku in February 2004 that the USA was not planning to station bases in Azerbaijan. "I want to put an end to rumors. We do not intend to station permanent or temporary bases in Azerbaijan. However, we are cooperating with Azerbaijan on some strategic issues... These are not military bases. This could be a temporary step as part of coordinating efforts in fighting global terrorism..."
In May 2005 there were reports that the US and Azerbaijani governments had agreed during US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's low-profile visit to the Azerbaijani capital on 12 April 2005 for the deployment of US military bases in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry on 21 May 2005 denied reports made by a number of media outlets that the US was planning to deploy military bases in the country. "This is false information, and nothing of the sort is planned," Defense Ministry spokesman Ramiz Melikov said. He was commenting on a report by the strategic analysis center Stratfor, which said the US will deploy bases in Azerbaijan in the near future.
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