View Full Version : Counterinsurgency exercise, near Boston, 8 March

02-22-2009, 02:50 AM
Further to my course thread, here's a copy of part of the warno for the upcoming counterinsurgency exercise. More than 2/3 of participants are not from the class I'm teaching, so it's an event in its own right.

As far as I know, Ex Walter Mitty is the first of its kind (civilian, COIN-focused, with full immersion), but I'd prefer if it weren't. So, if you know of other such exercises, please let me know so that I can learn from those who've walked before me.

Please feel free to drop by (or even participate - there are still some civilian roles left and we can never have too many directing staff), if you can make it to Bridgewater on 8 March.



1. Situation. This field training exercise (FTX) focuses on platoon-level military operations during a complex emergency, as well as the ground level of an NGO-led humanitarian intervention in a refugee camp, using civilian and off-duty military role players who portray foreign peacekeepers, international aid workers, journalists, and indigenous soldiers, civilians and insurgents.

a. General. FTX Directing Staff will execute EXERCISE (EX) WALTER MITTY. During the execution phase, they will ensure scenarios solicit are executed efficiently and safely, offer feedback to participants and provide logistical support. This warning order will be referenced as the baseline for support-staff activities during the exercise. This scenario represents an amalgam of several real-world locations and circumstances through which the concepts of counterinsurgency and humanitarian operations may be examined. Care must be taken to emphasize the fictitious nature of the scenario to both exercise participants and those who are not involved with the exercise.

(1) Purpose. EX Walter Mitty was designed as a vehicle for the satisfaction of training needs, specifically,

(a) To familiarize exercise combatants with the tactical level of insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare, including civil-military and military-NGO relations.

(b) To provide select members of the Tufts/Harvard/MIT Humanitarian Studies Course (HSC) with an opportunity to hone the humanitarian emergency service delivery planning and execution skills they gained on the HSC. This is an informal opportunity not officially linked to the HSC.

b. Participants. 76 participants total. Groups represented include EXP:62 Counterinsurgency seminar (19 participants), the Institute for Global Leadership’s Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES – 9 participants), the Fletcher School (min. 7 participants) and the IGL’s Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) class of 2008-2009 (7 participants), with some overlap between groups. The participants are divided into the following categories for which they were explicitly recruited.

(1) Combatants. 32 participants, who will complete the entire exercise (7-9 March).

(a) Counterinsurgents. 22 participants total, divided into two Squads. 18 participants will be drawn from students enrolled in EXP-62: Counterinsurgency seminar. 2 participants will be undergraduates drawn from ALLIES. 2 participants will be drawn from senior Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (AROTC) cadets. These cadets will act as advisors, train the counterinsurgent squads in basic military teamwork and assist in the decision-making process during the FTX.

(b) Insurgents. 8 participants, led by a senior AROTC cadet. The remaining 7 will be a mixture of Tufts undergraduate and postgraduate students. They will occasionally play other roles, such as Host Nation Forces (HNF).

(c) Neutrals. 2 participants playing the roles of armed smugglers/traders. Both are Tufts undergraduates.

(2) Non-Combatants. 40 participants total, most of which will only be present on 8 March.

(a) Civilians. 32 total. 16 will be assigned roles as village inhabitants. A further 16 will be assigned as refugees. Composition is a mixture of Tufts undergraduates, postgraduates and employees, postgraduates at Harvard, and various friends and family of exercise participants. All will arrive on 8 March. 12 will be asked to stay on overnight through end of exercise (ENDEX). The rest will leave by 2000 on 8 March.

(b) NGO workers. 6 total. 5 Fletcher and Friedman School students who are enrolled in the HSC. 1 Master’s candidate at the Fletcher School with extensive humanitarian experience will act as an advisor to the NGO workers. All will arrive on 8 March and leave on 8 March.

(c) Journalists. 2 total. Composition TBD – ideally one member of the Tufts Daily and another of a larger newspaper. Possibly students at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Participants will play themselves.

(3) Directing Staff (DS). 4 persons with a military background, including Toby, will execute the exercise, briefing participants, acting as referees and delivering logistical support. DS will wear reflective vests to distinguish themselves from exercise participants. Two DS will be present throughout the exercise and two more while main body of non-combatants is present.

(4) Safety Staff. P&L Paintball will provide additional safety staff to ensure injury prevention (# TBC).

c. Location. The FTX will take place at P&L Paintball in Bridgewater, MA, less than 40 miles away from Tufts. Located on the edge of a forest, the location contains a mock village as well as a secondary site in the woods that can be easily transformed into a mock refugee camp with adjacent border fort. Tertiary sites will function as further locations for scenarios outside the village and refugee camp. EX Walter Mitty has exclusive use of the location for the duration of the exercise. Several P&L Paintball staff (# TBD) will be on hand to serve as safety advisors, which will allow the Directing Staff to focus on overall scenario execution. The location has sufficient access to hygiene and water facilities for up to 100 participants.

(1) Address. 1221 Bedford Street Rt 18/28, Bridgewater, MA 02324.

d. Background. EX Walter Mitty reflects events taking place in a fictitious part of Central Asia in the near future. The scenario takes places in the Border Region of two fictitious countries, KYRZTURKBAIJANISTAN and ANTEDE (pronounced Ann-Tee-Dee).

(1) Kyrzturkbaijanistan. Ten years ago, the country’s absolutist monarchy was overthrown by a spontaneous revolution in response to widespread repression and cronyism. Since then, the democratically elected government has fought a bloody campaign against royalist insurgents. Most violence has centered on the country’s main population centre and capital, KAPUTT. For the past five years, a multinational force of United States, Canadian, French and British forces has provided assistance to the government, which has gradually eroded most support for the royalist cause. Secret negotiations between the ousted king and the government led to a peace accord 96 hours ago. Following the peace accord, the king was exiled to Jordan and hard-line insurgents engaged in massive violence in defiance of the accord, to include mass murder in rural areas. Large numbers of these hard-liners and their families (including many more moderate family members) have begun fleeing over the border, on foot, into neighboring Antede.

(2) Antede. Contrary to its neighbor, Kyrzturkbaijanistan, which has remained urban and prosperous despite long periods of authoritarian oppression followed by civil conflict, the country of Antede is peaceful but also poor and rural. The BORDER REGION is almost completely isolated from the modestly prosperous Antedean heartland. Isolated villages are forced to fend for themselves, relying on traders (mostly smugglers) for essential supplies. A small band of extremists has consistently called for autonomy for “Greater Iconia”, an area they define to include territory on both sides of the border. The influx of refugees in the past 72 hours is expected to put massive strain on an area already barely at subsistence level and rapid humanitarian assistance will be required to avert a long-term complex humanitarian emergency.

2. Mission. From 7-9 March 2009, Directing Staff will execute EX Walter Mitty administration and logistics as per this warning order and utilize ref. a. in order to provide challenging and highly educational scenarios for all participants in a simulated complex emergency environment.

02-22-2009, 03:03 AM
3. Execution.

a. Concept of Operations.

(1) Intent. Provide exercise participants with a general feel for the experience their real-life counterparts would undergo. Provide a new frame of reference for the students on EXP-62, whose only experience with counterinsurgency is on paper, in order to enhance their understanding of the challenges of COIN operations, at the tactical level, for the second half of the course and beyond. Provide HSC course members with initial opportunity to practice their humanitarian operations skills prior to the April HSC exercise. Provide AROTC cadets with opportunity to practice mentoring and training skills. At the conclusion of EX Walter Mitty, participants will have successfully completed a rigorous COIN scenario, including frequent interactions between themselves and other stakeholders in the environment, including civilian, military and NGO actors. FTX will be conducted safely with greatest emphasis on reduction of injury risk. Participants will be fully briefed on all health and safety aspects from hygiene to hydration, and will sign a waiver to document their understanding (see ref. b).

(2) Scheme of Maneuver.

(a) 7 March, 2009. Counterinsurgents, insurgents and half of DS will arrive in exercise area at approx. 1700. Issued paintballing equipment. Health and safety brief. Insurgents will conduct independent training as they see fit until 1900. Neutrals will be attached to insurgents until 0900 the following morning. Counterinsurgents will have been previously told that they would deploy into the Kyrzturki capital. They will now be told that the situation has changed and that they have been re-tasked to the Border Area. Exercise briefing follows. After briefing, counterinsurgents will be divided into 2 squads and will receive instruction in basic patrolling skills from their designated advisors. At 1900, insurgents will be briefed on their tasks for the night, to include limited patrolling and occupation of an conspicuous encampment so that counterinsurgents may practice close target reconnaissance (CTR). At 1930, counterinsurgents will be briefed on their mission. They will then patrol and conduct CTRs, upon completion of which they will establish and guard a platoon harbor until 0800 on Sunday morning.

(b) 8 March, 2009. Non-combatants and remaining DS will arrive from 0800 through 0900. Health and safety brief at 0900. At 0930, participants will begin cycling through a series of scenarios (see encl. 1) in the village and refugee camp. Scenarios will be semi-dynamic. Participants will be encouraged to innovate, but care must be taken by DS to ensure that each scenario’s training objectives are met. DS must not be afraid to pause and, if necessary rewind, scenarios in order to guarantee satisfaction of training objectives. Every scenario will be followed by a thorough debrief involving all participants and DS. Daytime scenarios (11 total; could be lowered to as low as 6, depending on DS input) will be completed no later than (NLT) 2000. At this point, main body of non-combatants and two DS will leave with exception of approx. 12 volunteers who will remain in the village and refugee camp. Remaining participants will then conduct remaining scenarios throughout the night (again see encl. 1).

(c) 9 March, 2009. ENDEX NLT 0730, followed by rapid debrief, collection of equipment and litter sweep of exercise area. Participants will arrive at Tufts (or other destinations for non-Tufts participants) NLT 0930.

(3) Main Effort. Provide maximum training value for EXP-62 and HSC participants.

b. Task Org.

(1) DS 1 (Toby). Overall control of exercise. Act as platoon commander for counterinsurgents during pre-scenario briefings only. Point of contact (POC) for all combatants. Ensure smooth execution of village scenarios. Ensure delivery of all equipment and maintenance of water supplies. Provide motor transportation (MT) for FTX participants as needed. Ensure exercise area is left in an acceptable state upon ENDEX.

(2) DS 2. 2ic exercise. POC for all non-combatants. Ensure smooth execution of refugee camp scenarios. Distribute food to participants on 7 and 8 March. Conduct health and safety briefings.

(3) DS 3. Ensure smooth execution of village scenarios on 8 March.

(4) DS 4. Ensure smooth execution of refugee camp scenarios on 8 March.

c. Coordinating Instructions.

(2) Key Timings.

(a) 7 March, 2009.

(i.) Arrive exercise area. 1700 hrs (NLT 1745).
(ii.) Equipment distribution. 1730 hrs (NLT 1750).
(iii.) Scenario brief. 1800 hrs.
(iv.) Insurgent briefing. 1900 hrs.
(v.) Counterinsurgent briefing. 1930 hrs.
(vi.) Establish platoon harbor. NLT 2330 hrs.

(b) 8 March, 2009.

(i.) End recce patrols. NLT 0400 hrs.
(ii.) Reveille. 0800 hrs.
(iii.) Non-combatants arrive. 0800 – 0900 hrs.
(iv.) Health & safety brief. 0900 hrs.
(v.) Scenario 1 starts. 0930 hrs.
(vi.) Scenario 11 ends. NLT 1945 hrs.
(vii.) Non-combatants depart. NLT 2000 hrs.

(c) 9 March, 2009.

(i.) Final scenario. NLT 0400 hrs.
(ii.) Reveille/ENDEX. NLT 0730 hrs.
(iii.) Depart exercise area. NLT 0800.
(iv.) All participants at home. NLT 0930.