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Maneuver Battle Lab fights next conflict in computer exercise

In a cluster of buildings at Fort Benning, soldiers and civilian workers fight the next war against a mythical country in the Maneuver Battle Lab.

Results of the exercise will help shape key Army decisions of 2020 for the Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustic, Va.

 “This experiment is a tremendous opportunity to play a significant role in helping shape our future forces for what are as yet undefined challenges,” said Col. Rob Choppa, director of the Maneuver Battle Lab. “An event such as this requires significant investment so it is essential we ensure that the outputs meet our senior leadership’s requirements. 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.”

In the battle lab scenario, Elis gets a hostile response from its neighbor, Attica, after holding elections and making friendly overtures to the United States.  Attica makes demands of Elis to alter its policies after building a dam. Six years later, the larger nation Attica invades Elis, prompting a crisis response from the United States, Great Britain and Australia.

Col. Nic Nicoson, the commander of a heavy brigade in the exercise, said he’s looking for what benefits the Army best. “We have to learn to operate in any environment,” he said.

Benefits for the soldiers may include identifying the enemy, looking at new weapon systems and striking at greater distances.

“This simulation really allows us to test that,” Nicoson said. “It is basically a poor man’s way to get at what’s going to work in the future. We have a brigade working a wide area security mission like they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.”