UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Internal Look

INTERNAL LOOK is a biennial JCS sponsored, CENTCOM coordinated, and Command Post Exercise (CPX) based on a real-world contingency plan. Its operational concept is focused on joint battle staff warfighting at the strategic and operational level. The primary training audience is CENTCOM's combatant commander and the USCENTCOM headquarters staff. The secondary training audience is composed of CENTCOM service and functional component commanders, their staffs and selected allied forces. INTERNAL LOOK is CENTCOM's major CPX and facilitates training the full battle staff for CENTCOM and its components. It also allows Third Army to exercise its deputy joint land forces command responsibilities.

Exercise Internal Look is designed to exercise the command, control and communications ability of Central Command Headquarters and all of its different component commands who are spread throughout its AOR (area of responsibility) in other parts of the world. The exercise tests and exercises CENTCOM's ability to communicate on the modern battlefield.

Internal Look 90

On November 23, 1988, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army, became USCENTCOM'S third commander-in-chief (USCINCCENT). Spurred by the rapid diminution of Soviet aggressiveness under Mikhail Gorbachev, Gen. Schwarzkopf worked to supplant USCENTCOM's primary war plan, which involved a war against the Soviets in Iran, with a more realistic scenario. The strategy of the original plan called for five and two-thirds divisions to march from the Arabian Gulf to the Zagros Mountains and prevent the Red Army from seizing the oil fields of Iran. Instead, Gen. Schwarzkopf began to plan for what he thought was a far more likely situation: Iraq, emerging from eight years of war against Iran with the world's fourth-largest and most battle-hardened army, moving south to capture the rich oil fields whose output was essential to the industrial world.

Gen. Schwarzkopf first tested this new strategy in INTERNAL LOOK, a command post exercise held from July 9 through August 4, 1990 at Fort Bragg and at Hurlburt and Duke Fields in Florida. The events that led to creation of a new joint air campaign target planning organization began in July 1990, when General Schwarzkopf conducted the large joint command post exercise, "Internal Look," at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The exercise tested aspects of the plan for the defense of the Arabian peninsula. General Schwarzkopf quickly determined that neither the CENTCOM nor the CENTAF staff was fully capable of planning large joint air operations for an Iraqi invasion scenario.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) and Third Army prudently anticipated the Gulf War crisis that occurred in 1990. The initial Third Army plans drawn up to support Internal Look and operations plan (OPLAN) 1002-90 for CENTCOM recommended a heavy armored force whose closure would be in question due to sea-lift limitations. However, this force offered more combat power and an offensive capability that Army planners believed previous planning forces lacked. This prudent planning by military professionals was reflected in the Army Desert Shield force deployments and closure through the end of October 1990. Internal Look showed Saudi Arabia could be defended against Iraqi invaders, but at great cost.

As the exercise unfolded, the real-world movements of Iraq's air and ground forces eerily paralleled the scripted scenario of the war game. So closely did actual intelligence reports resemble the fictional exercise messages, the latter had to be prominently stamped "Exercise Only." During the last few days of INTERNAL LOOK, Saddam Hussein's forces invaded and captured Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Suddenly in possession of Kuwait's oil fields, Iraq was poised to acquire the even more valuable prize of the Arabian Peninsula. General Schwarzkopf's immediate requirements were to develop a military strategy and courses of action to stop the potential Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia.

Internal Look 92

Internal Look 94

Internal Look 96

Despite having few permanently stationed forces in the Central region, ARCENT's posture improved in 1995. Headquarters programs standardized warfighting procedures, emphasizing unity of effort. Following Command guidance, ARCENT developed procedures to integrate land forces to execute a theater-level, multi-national coalition campaign. Working directly with MARCENT, a joint team published draft procedures that were evaluated in INTERNAL LOOK 96. These command relationships break new ground in the way ARCENT organized to fight and are validated during exercises and operations in the Central region.

The United States Central Command's (USCENTCOM) largest domestic training exercise, Internal Look 96, commenced March 20, 1996, at Camp Blanding, an Army National Guard facility near the town of Starke in northeast Florida. This eight-day exercise involved approximately 4,000 active duty and reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civilians from the Department of Defense and other supporting agencies. Last held in 1990, Internal Look is scheduled to become a biennial event.

This command post exercise was designed to enhance USCENTCOM and component joint warfighting capabilities by pitting their staffs against computer-simulated forces based on a contingency in the Arabian Gulf. This state-of-the-art technology enhanced the training experience by providing staff members and commanders with real-time interaction with personnel, supply, transportation, intelligence, operational and communications issues they would face in a wartime environment.

Internal Look 96 is one of many joint training exercises that allows USCENTCOM, component and supporting unit personnel to apply their training and expertise to accomplish their wartime missions and improve readiness. Most importantly, Internal Look 96 provides an avenue for the services to exercise the teamwork and inter-service coordination required in joint combat operations.

During 1996, Joint Theater Level Simulation [JTLS 2.0] was the exercise driver for a total of six exercises around the world: Keen Edge (Japan), Internal Look (Central Command), Ultimate Resolve (Kuwait), Cobra Gold (Thailand), Tempo Brave (PACOM), and Northern Trilogy (Australia). Among the functional upgrades that were part of these maintenance releases were a number of ATOT improvements, and the ability of a Controller to create a brand new unit while a JTLS game is in progress. These were the result of requirements defined in Internal Look 96. Other upgrades included the ability to host JTLS on an Hewlett Packard system, which proved the success of the open system architecture design.

The CINC TMD cells integrate existing intelligence information and analysis applications to provide situational awareness of current TMD activities on the battlefield. TMD cells augment the existing capability of each CWS Operations Center. Each cell is configured to meet the specific needs of each Theater. Each TMD cell consists of communications equipment and software applications that enable an operator to monitor the TMD related activity throughout a theater. In February 1996 the CENTCOM system was fielded at Internal Look '96, which took place in March 1996.

An Internal Look '96 exercise input gave the following scenario: HUMINT sources in theater identified a truck convoy being loaded with naval mines at a previously suspected, but as yet untargeted, weapons storage area. The convoy departed the area for a nearby port facility to transfer the mines to awaiting vessels. The situation led to the retargeting of missions against both the convoy and the naval vessels.

Internal Look 98

The U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) supported exercises for the SWA AOR included Internal Look 98 & 00. Because of the exercise schedule and the cancellation of the major Internal Look 98 exercise due to real-world events, the Joint Theater Level Simulation JTS 2.1.2 release was canceled. It was rolled into the JTLS 2.1.3 release, which was delivered in September of 1998.

Internal Look 00/01

In November of 2000, CENTCOM executed INTERNAL LOOK 01 (IL01), the premier battlestaff and coalition training exercise, by establishing a Contingency Forward Headquarters and simulating the execution of one of the principal plans.

The U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC) Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) supported exercises for the SWA AOR included Internal Look 98 & 00. The 609th Air Operations Group used theater battle management core systems [TBMCS] extensively during the the mid-November 2000 Central Command exercise called Internal Look 00. With this new system, air mission commanders, planners and warfighters have the integrated capabilities needed to manage air power in theater. They can create, assimilate, and manipulate data then quickly distribute those data to others through wide- and local-area networks, servers and workstations. This keeps those at all echelons in a theater environment connected and focused on a common picture. The Navy, Marines and British forces participating in Internal Look 00 all liked TBMCS.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was the first proving ground for DoD MGS organizational messaging, during the Internal Look exercise conducted 7-17 November 2000. CENTCOM wanted a simple but effective solution to enable security both on NIPRNET and SIPRNET. At the start, six different organizations were to be enabled for secure organizational messaging. By the end of Internal Look, ten organizations as well as several individuals were enabled with MGS.

Third U.S.Army/U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT's) command post operations have become increasingly digitized over the past few years. In garrison, local area networks (LANs) that access the internet and the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) serve as the primary communication tools for conducting daily business. ARCENT's strategically deployable command post, the LUCKY MAIN, takes advantage of the same computer networks. When deployed, the ARCENT headquarters is report or when sanitizing a U.S. Secret document from the SIPRNET. This FDR/FDO process was refined during CENTCOM's exercise Internal Look 01 and perfected during the 2001 Lucky Sentinel.

Internal Look 03

On Sept. 11, 2002 CENTCOM announced that a small portion of the combatant command will participate in Internal Look '03 in December 2002, CONUS elements are required to report for duty by 3 December. Roughly 1,000 personnel will take part in the exercise, 600 from Central Command and 400 from subordinate commands. Exercise Internal Look '03 will also test the standing deployable headquarters. The standing headquarters was one of the recommendations from the Quadrennial Defense Review released last year. CENTCOM officials stated that the exercise will last one week, but the deployment will last longer as set up and take down of the exercise will take some time.

The 600 officers under the command of Gen. Tommy R. Franks, about a quarter of the CENTCOM staff, will test the ability to deploy a headquarters rapidly in a crisis and to carry out a war game. Pentagon officials said it was likely that the staff members would remain in the Persian Gulf after the exercise is complete and form the basis of a planning group for a military campaign against Iraq.

Other CENTCOM subordinate commanders had already moved their headquarters to the region to help fight the war in Afghanistan. The Army has a forward headquarters in Kuwait, the Marines in Bahrain and the Air Force in Saudi Arabia. The Navy has long had a headquarters in Bahrain.

Initial reports indicated that the deployment might be to Qatar, but this was later denied by CENTCOM officials. As it turns out, the exercise is taking place at Camp As Sayliyah in Qatar.

The exercise is a very complex computer-based and assisted exercise that does not involve combat forces. CENTCOM battle staff and military personnel participate in realistic but fictitious military scenarios. The exercise is designed to hone the battle staff's ability to command from a forward-deployed location while maintaining seamless connectivity with personnel located back in Tampa, Florida, at the Central Command main headquarters.

For this exercise, CENTCOM deployed a CDHQ (CENTCOM Deployable Headquarters) at As Sayliyah in Qatar. A CDHQ consists of a number of modern and modular buildings equipped with cutting-edge technology, including advanced computer connectivity, and video conference capabilities for real-time communications with commanders in theater and back home in Florida. These buildings are built to provide a livable environment for military personnel manning them. The headquarters was physically built in St. Petersburg, Florida, by Raytheon

Phase One of the exercise started in November when Central Command moved the portable operations center to As Sayliyah military base near Qatar's capital, Doha. Phase Two begins December 9th and lasts through December 16-17th.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:24:55 Zulu