Since Aug. 8, Fort Benning’s Maneuver Battle Lab has been leading a nation-wide simulation experiment to assist the Army in decision making in support of the U.S. Army 2020 concept. The experiment, which ends Friday, precedes a war game that will be conducted by the Mission Command Battle Lab at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., later this year and will assist policymakers in how the Army can prevent conflict.
Fort Benning has 150 Soldiers and civilians participating in the experiment, along with more than 20 other organizations across the Army, including seven other centers of excellence from Fort Leavenworth; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Lee, Va.; Fort Monroe, Va.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Sill, Okla.; and the Space and Missile Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Redstone Arsenal, Ala.
“This experiment is a tremendous opportunity for those tasked to support from within the Fort Benning community, to play a significant role in helping shape our future forces for what are as yet undefined challenges,” said Col. Rob Choppa, the recently appointed director of the Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning. “In the short time I have been here, it has already been impressed upon me the high levels of commitment and professionalism being demonstrated by those participating.”
According to officials at the Maneuver Battle Lab headquarters, the simulation is centered on the mythical country Elis and will examine the ability of proposed force structures to conduct Combined Arms Maneuver and Wide Area Security while conducting full spectrum operations.
The scenario has the fictional country receiving various threats from its neighboring country, Attica. After six years of escalating threats, Attica attacks Elis. The United States, Great Britain and Australia respond to the crisis. Due to limited access to the country, the three countries conduct forcible entry operations in Diaz City, Elis.
The first portion of the experiment was conducted in March during the Joint Forcible Entry Warfighting Experiment. The current portion of the experiment continues with the scenario after coalitions were on the ground for 153 days.
Thomas Yanoschik, site manager for the contractors in the Experiment Environments Branch of the Maneuver Battle Lab, said the simulation exercise was similar to playing Xbox with friends except with thousands of people.
“What we’re looking at is the organization of different combat teams — comparing how lethal and survivable the different organizations will be,” he said.
Yanoschik said the experiment was less about the computer simulation and more about the analysts and combat developers and how military role players use the simulations to replicate future combat operations.
“The simulation helps combat developers by providing them an environment to experiment with alternate proposed forces structures of the future,” Yanoschik said. “In order for them to make a more informed decision concerning the composition of the brigade combat teams of the future, they can test different force structures under similar conditions, which is why we call them experiments.”
He said the impact of future wartime planning provides insight into the lethality and survivability of proposed brigade combat teams, as well as into how “doctrine is written that guides the employment of those future brigade combat teams.
“An event such as this requires significant investment so it is essential we ensure that the outputs meet our senior leadership’s requirements,” Choppa said. “I am confident, even at this early stage of the game, that we will achieve this and make an active contribution to the future force debate through our actions here.”