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Positive Force

Positive Force is a bi-annual Joint Chiefs of Staff command-post exercise that evaluated Joint Staff and National Command Authority decision-making abilities in responding to worldwide contingencies during a major theater war.

The Chairman sponsors one major Command Post Exercises (CPX) each year (POSITIVE FORCE) to provide the Joint Staff, Military Services, appropriate unified commands, and combat support agencies the opportunity to train together. Participation by the NCA, OSD, federal civil departments and agencies, and subordinate organizations having significant roles in crisis situations is encouraged. The goal of these exercises is to provide major mobilization play every 2 years. POSITIVE FORCE CPXs may be preceded by briefings and seminars to fully prepare participants for issues that will be addressed in these exercises.

Exercise Positive Force (PF) is a command post exercise (CPX) designed to evaluate deployment of US forces to a major theater war (MTW), evacuation of non-combatants (NEO), relocation and continuity of operations (COOP) for the Joint Staff, and validation of a 72-hour TPFDD in support of a simultaneous small scale contingency (SSC). It is intended to evaluate doctrine, policy, and procedures in support of these events.

Exercise Positive Force 96 (PF 96) was a major JCS Command Post Exercise scheduled for March 1 - 14, 1996. Exercise play was to originate from the Army Operations Center. Exercise objectives included: assessing HQDA's role in crisis action procedures, exercising Army command and control during Operations Other Than War (OOTW), evaluating Army capability to simultaneously support a Major Regional Contingency (MRC) and large OOTW operation, testing Force XXI concepts during a MRC, implementing plans, policies, and procedures for providing rotation of forces during OOTW, and assessing Army demobilization plans and procedures. PF 96 was rescheduled due to Operation Joint Endeavor.

The Exercise Positive Force mobilization exercise was conducted in 1997.

Exercise Positive Force 98 was a Joint Chiefs of Staff, worldwide command post exercise. The exercise -- the first of its kind since 1989 -- was built around a two-major-theater war scenario and emphasized mobilization decision-making processes and procedures between national agencies, the military services and international allies. Exercise Positive Force provided training and tested crisis management systems along with procedures, doctrine and plans for large-scale military operations.

This was the first exercise since the Defense Logistics Agency [DLA] assumed its role as the provider of direct support to the warfighter. The DLA Joint Logistics Readiness Center looked for ways to incorporate all of DLA's emergency planners and improve the interface between the business areas. The Joint Logistics Readiness Center and the Crisis Action Team coordinated the efforts of DLA headquarters and field activities during the Oct. 15-24 exercise.

For most of the exercise, DLA fully staffed a six-member Crisis Action Team, or CAT, for a 24-hour operation with Materiel Management, Acquisition, Corporate Administration, and Defense Automated Printing and Support Center participants. General Counsel and the Comptroller also provided points of contact to the CAT. When the CAT began its operations, DLA activated the Primary Level Field Activity Command and Control Centers as well. There are four CAT levels; a fully-staffed CAT is at Level IV. When DLA is at a CAT Level IV, as during most of this exercise, the entire agency needs to be involved because that way everyone learns.

Positive Force 98 was the first time DLA's CAT ran a 24-hour operation since the last major exercise, which was in 1989. The Joint Logistics Readiness Center ran 12-hour shifts with three teams, rotating four chiefs: Army Col. Robert Pickett from Corporate Administration, Army Lt. Col. Allen Cleghorn from Materiel Management, Air Force Col. Jim McNulty from Acquisition, and Navy Reserve Capt. Fred Wong from Corporate Administration. The core of the CAT consists of the chief, an operations officer, an operations noncommissioned officer and an administrative worker; this core team interfaces with the business areas. A fully-manned CAT at a minimum includes a team member from Material Management, Acquisition and Corporate Administration, as well as an action officer from the Defense Automated Printing and Support Center for ADP support.

Months before the exercise begins, controllers design the exercise by setting the objectives, which in this case focused on testing mobilization procedures. Then, based on the objectives, synchronized scripted events called Master Scenario Events List items, or MSELs (pronounced "measles"), are developed to describe the changing world events in the war scenario and pose logistics problems for the players, according to the Joint Logistics Readiness Center's Mike Hilert, who was an Exercise Positive Force 98 project officer and controller. During the exercise, the controllers inject the scripted events into play, adjusting the timing and changing the tempo of activity as needed.

Exercise Positive Force 99 was a Command Post Exercise (CPX) that notionally exercised the deployment of a force in support of 2 nearly simultaneous Major Regional Wars (MRWs).

Exercise Positive Force 2001 was a JCS staff exercise designed to test, evaluate, and train the national defense community in decision making and execution of mobilization and force deployment in response to multiple crises. During Exercise Positive Force 2001, the NAVSEA Command Center (NSCC) served as NAVSEA's response cell and was integral in the overall navy crisis management structure. This was the first time the Command Center was activated since moving to its new location at the Washington Navy Yard.

During Exercise Positive Force 2001 which ran from 17 April 2001 through 26 April 2001, drilling Naval reservists on AT (annual training) had the opportunity to receive valuable "hands on" training. With access to SIPRNET (secret internet protocol routing network), STU's (secured telecommunication units), gate guard, and classified message receiving work stations, reservists interacted with their counterparts participating in the exercise at the CNO's logistics crisis action cell and at the crisis response cells at both CINCPAC and CINCPACFLT's. As messages and information requiring action were received at the NSCC, a determination was made as to which organization within NAVSEA HQ, PEO's, or NAVSEA field activities should be tasked to provide a response. Once a determination was made, the information was forwarded to the appropriate point of contact for action. Typically, responses were completed and returned to the originator within 48 hours of receipt of the original message.

During Exercise Positive Force 2001, the NSCC acted on a total of ten (10) exercise events. The events involved:

  • Mobilization/recall of drilling reservists to their gaining command within NAVSEA
  • Identification of key positions within NAVSEA vacated due to the recall of NAVSEA civilians to their mobilization billet
  • Equipment casualties onboard ships or submarines deployed
  • A catastrophic casualty to the IT infrastructure within NAVSEA.
  • Questions concerning shipyard support
  • Status of NAVSEA provided systems and ordnance

Exercise Positive Force 2001 provided an opportunity for drilling reservists to activate and man the command center at the Washington Navy Yard to function as the NAVSEA crisis response cell. Furthermore, the exercise provided reservists the chance to practice using the navy's latest message handling equipment and systems and to operate the equipment installed in command center.

HQ XP IMAs fully supported AFMC's heavy involvement in JCS Exercise Positive Force (PF) 01, over its entire 10-day duration, 17-26 Apr 01. From exercise planning through Battle Staff augmentation, IMA participation not only provided excellent training, but permitted 24/7 battle staff operation without excessive civilian overtime. All XP IMAs participated in planning and executing AFMC's portion of PF 01.

Exercise POSITIVE FORCE 2001 included the largest Computer Network Defense exercise to date--the players included nearly every CINC, all Services, and many Agencies. Quickly following participation in the global CND exercise "Positive Force" in April, real-world events caused a DOD wide INFOCON change. In concert with this action, COMMARFOR-CND directed additional MCEN wide CND measures to be implemented throughout the Marine Corps.

The Department of Transportation Crisis Management Center was activated to respond to a series of simulated attacks against the maritime, surface and aviation sectors of the national security transportation infrastructure. These attacks were staged as part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff exercise "Positive Force." DOT took action in response to hypothetical crises.

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