Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Army "Future": Invade Azerbaijan

  1. #1
    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ft Leavenworth Kansas
    Posts
    168

    Default Army "Future": Invade Azerbaijan

    WIRED


    Observers give different reasons for why Azerbaijan was picked for the simulated invasion. Some say the country's varied terrain provided an excellent testing ground for the Army's $200 billion "Future Combat Systems." Others believe that the U.S. "now faces a new reality embodied in the Caspian Sea scenario," centered in Azerbaijan. No one suggests that the country is in any imminent danger of American attack.

  2. #2
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sgmgrumpy View Post

    This is a perennial problem with wargames. Game architects tell participants over and over that they are not planning or predicting an operation, but just need some venue to run the game. Then someone like this misses the point and our ambassadors end up having to waste a lot of time explaining to said countries that we are not getting ready to invade.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    This is a perennial problem with wargames. Game architects tell participants over and over that they are not planning or predicting an operation, but just need some venue to run the game. Then someone like this misses the point and our ambassadors end up having to waste a lot of time explaining to said countries that we are not getting ready to invade.
    Noah Shachtman, from WIRED, here.

    Steve: I'm sure what you say is true. But - just curious - what do you make of this? Is the guy just being ignorant? Or is there something to what he's saying?

    Azerbaijan was picked as the FCS model because "the nation now faces a new reality embodied in the Caspian Sea scenario," Army consultant Clyde T. Wilson in an Armor magazine article.
    The Caspian Sea scenario is not about fighting in the Caspian Sea area, but is all about the next most dangerous situation U.S. forces are likely to face. In many ways, it follows the 1950-53 Korean War scenario. Country A (South Korea) is attacked by Country B (North Korea). The U.S. comes to the assistance of Country A. The thrust of the scenario is how does the U.S. enter the battle area and build-up sufficient forces to achieve its national goals. The scenario is further complicated by Country C (China), which threatens to enter the conflict, especially during the buildup phase when the U.S. is most vulnerable.

    The Korean scenario provides national decisionmakers with significant geopolitical issues. The situation becomes more complicated when adding an asymmetric threat like we saw during Vietnam. The Caspian Sea scenario is about getting credible force into the area of operations and deterring aggression by Country C. In the scenario, the arrival of U.S. heavy forces represents endgame. At this point, we dominate the battlefield. After heavy forces arrive in the area, they must be prepared to conduct combat operations against the heavy threat presented by Country C while providing self-protection against an asymmetric threat that specifically targets U.S. vulnerabilities.

  4. #4
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NoahShachtman View Post
    Noah Shachtman, from WIRED, here.

    Steve: I'm sure what you say is true. But - just curious - what do you make of this? Is the guy just being ignorant? Or is there something to what he's saying?

    Azerbaijan was picked as the FCS model because "the nation now faces a new reality embodied in the Caspian Sea scenario," Army consultant Clyde T. Wilson in an Armor magazine article.

    It's certainly true that the Department of Defense in general sees that as an area of growing strategic concern. It has the combination of instability and growing economic importance. Plus, it's a region where a number of states have conventional military power, thus testing FCS. But wargames simply select regions that are illustrative of future challenges rather than ones in which U.S. military intervention is planned or even likely. It just makes wargaming a lot easier if you have existing geography, demographic, and other information rather than having to make it up.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    It's certainly true that the Department of Defense in general sees that as an area of growing strategic concern. It has the combination of instability and growing economic importance. Plus, it's a region where a number of states have conventional military power, thus testing FCS. But wargames simply select regions that are illustrative of future challenges rather than ones in which U.S. military intervention is planned or even likely. It just makes wargaming a lot easier if you have existing geography, demographic, and other information rather than having to make it up.
    Makes sense to me. Might there also be some value in picking a place as seemingly "off-the-wall" as Azerbaijan? I mean, is Iran or China discovered to be the model, the mess that gets stirred up is much bigger, right?

    Or do these political calculations never come into play...

  6. #6
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NoahShachtman View Post
    Makes sense to me. Might there also be some value in picking a place as seemingly "off-the-wall" as Azerbaijan? I mean, is Iran or China discovered to be the model, the mess that gets stirred up is much bigger, right?

    Or do these political calculations never come into play...
    I've participated in a billion of these things and I've never seen political calculations come in during the scenario development. Gamers are much more concerned with whether the country is "illustrative." Now, there may be real classified planning for operations in any number of places, but that's separate from wargaming which is designed to test concepts.

  7. #7
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Wargaming Scenarios

    This is always a headache - selecting a scenario that does not rile political sensitivities. For those of us that work major unclassified wargames the time and resources saved by using an existing place on our planet is immense.

    Creating a fictional country / regional / non-state actor scenario is a major - MAJOR - undertaking. Maps, military, cultural, political, economic, information, etc data all must be built from scratch. Then there is the BS factor. You just do not get the participant interest when wargaming against the Redorians in Redovia...

    While there are wargames that of course put contingencies through the wringer - the Title 10 and other concept-based wargames are simply using a spot on the earth to facilitate meeting wargame objectives - not real-world contingency objectives.

  8. #8
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Thanks Bill!. That's OT, thread continues below:

    Party pooper. You're telling the truth and absolutely ruining the conspiracy theorists day.

    In another life, I got so tired of answering the silly and assinine questions, I created Barfistan and the Barfistanian Armed Forces (BARF) plus our AlliesSouth Laudanum (and the South Laudanumunium Unified Field Force). Ran it over an area map of two States, turned upside down.

    Worked great 'til we got in a CG with no sense of humor...

    Give Bill a big hug and kiss for me; he got my computer glitch fixed/

  9. #9
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I created Barfistan
    I'm almost sure I had a flight connection there once. Isn't Hurl the capital city?

  10. #10
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Actually, it is. Hurl is also the

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I'm almost sure I had a flight connection there once. Isn't Hurl the capital city?
    location of the famous Spitadel of Hurl. SLUFF sluffed and was hurled fom Hurl. terrible debacle.

    Hurl is still recovering, they're only served by one airline now LINK.

  11. #11
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Wonderland
    Posts
    1,284

    Default

    CGSC students have been using Azerbaijan as the basis for their planning exercise for years, now. It's called the GAAT Scenario. I'd guess they picked it because of the planning headaches involved with that particular location.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Interesting discussion here...

    http://roboteconomist.blogspot.com/2...it-matter.html

    In my view, Azerbaijan was picked because its size, terrain, and political environment fit the assumptions that shape FCS. They picked a relatively small country to accentuate the ability of a single FCS Brigade Combat Team to rapidly achieve "decisive maneuver" against a larger opposing force in 48-60 hours. Azerbaijan is also a relatively remote, mountainous area bordered by few U.S. allies. This reflects the Army's emphasis on performing combat operations on short notice and without pre-positioned equipment. Finally, there is the potential (however remote) that the Army may be called upon to one day liberate the Azeris from an encroaching neighbor. Remind anyone of an incredibly successful "left-hook" the Army pulled off a little more than 15 years ago?

    My main concern with the Azerbaijan scenarios is that they highlight a fundamental flaw of FCS. This billion-dollar force recapitalization project is focused on refining existing capabilities at a time when the Army needs to develop entirely new capabilities. To me, being able to successfully conduct stability operations campaign the day after a 72 hour blitzkrieg is worth far more than shaving that blitzkrieg down to 48 hours. Does the Army honestly expect a brigade of 4000 troops trained and equipped for maneuver warfare against a modern opposing army to manage 8 million people spread over a country the size of Maine? We have multiple brigades in Baghdad (a city of 7 million) and they can't even keep the peace without support from the Iraqi military.

    At the very least, one would hope that as soon as images of the National Carpet Museum in Baku being looted by anonymous brigands are splashed across CNN the hypothetical Secretary of Defense overseeing one of these imagined combat operations would have something more conciliatory to say than 'Stuff happens.'

    I'm not saying the Army doesn't need to recapitalize the force and I'm not exactly opposed to the idea of network-centric warfare either. I'm just arguing that the Army's vision of the future force is shackled by a set of overly narrow assumptions about what kind of wars it will fight. As Colin Gray asked in a great monograph published by the Army War College back in 2005, if the Army is putting all of its development dollars into FCS, is FCS robust enough to counter the broadest set of future war scenarios? In terms of fighting a major urban counterinsurgency campaign (Iraq) or managing a fractured, poor state (Afghanistan), I think the evidence is pointing towards 'no.'

  13. #13
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DC
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Bill Lind coined a great phrase (at least I read it at d-n-i first):

    FCS - Future Contract System

  14. #14
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    1,488

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NoahShachtman View Post
    As Colin Gray asked in a great monograph published by the Army War College back in 2005, if the Army is putting all of its development dollars into FCS, is FCS robust enough to counter the broadest set of future war scenarios? In terms of fighting a major urban counterinsurgency campaign (Iraq) or managing a fractured, poor state (Afghanistan), I think the evidence is pointing towards 'no.'
    I'm neither a defender nor an opponent of FCS but as I told Colin Gray when that manuscript was in draft, I don't think that simply because the Army is putting most (not "all") of its development dollars into FCS that it ever intended for FCS to be optimized for every time of military operation. The general thinking is that counterinsurgency is not a mode of conflict where new technology is the answer. In other words, you might be able to get a sense of Army priorities by its spending, but you have to look at ALL spending, not just R&D.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I'm neither a defender nor an opponent of FCS but as I told Colin Gray when that manuscript was in draft, I don't think that simply because the Army is putting most (not "all") of its development dollars into FCS that it ever intended for FCS to be optimized for every time of military operation. The general thinking is that counterinsurgency is not a mode of conflict where new technology is the answer. In other words, you might be able to get a sense of Army priorities by its spending, but you have to look at ALL spending, not just R&D.
    Actually, FCS planners have been pretty explicit that it's "optimized for offensive operations in Major Combat Operations."

  16. #16
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Sales talk to buy capabilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by NoahShachtman View Post
    Actually, FCS planners have been pretty explicit that it's "optimized for offensive operations in Major Combat Operations."
    While that is true as stated, the operators as opposed to the planners (two quite different thought processes, thank goodness) will have to, as always, cobble together solutions that work for the mission at hand and they generally have done and will do that.

    One should also consider that a forced entry and a government toppled need not call for an extended stay. Powell's 'Pottery Barn Rule' is as flaky as were the Weinberger and Powell 'Doctrines.' All are platitudes (they were sales talk in their own way...) for an idealized state and none of the three cope with current realities.

    The same applies to FCS, is is an attempt to push the state of the art and obtain a capability that would be impressive in an ideal situation. Since most situations are never ideal, it will provide some utility and some useful capabilities. It is overpriced but this is the US, that's to be expected; since it is the US, FCS will also not do all that's advertised but it will do most of those thing to an acceptable degree as the new fielding bugs (ALWAYS present) get worked out.

    Anyone who looks at FCS as a panacea and the answer to prayers will be disappointed. So will those who predict its abject failure.

    None of which has anything to do with whether or not completing an assault in 38 or 72 hours mandates that the FCS Brigade should stay and pacify or whether someone else can move in and do that job. Nor does it have much to do with whether that job is even necessary.

  17. #17
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Fort Leavenworth, KS
    Posts
    1,512

    Default

    Ken is on the money. Prior to picking up the TT tasker I was one of the Ops officers in the FCS experimental element. We fought said excercises in simulation, but Steve and others are correct as well - the political situation was made to fit - it was really about other metrics such as geography/terrain, MOGs, common data bases, etc. In excercises these allow you to manipulate the other elements to get your different data points.

    There is some good and some bad to FCS (IMHO), but in the end soldiers will reshape what Industry hands them and shape it to the task. The biggest danger is in assuming that technology replaces the need for leadership and soldiers who can think, shoot, move & communicate. No platform or payload is worth much without good people to employ them and overcome the types of friction you can't find in the A/C'd, hard wired simulation bays where coffee and porclein latrines are always available.

    I'm not sure if it will be in the next SWJ but I submitted a piece for review awhile back that includes components of FCS into a JTF like organization. I wrote it about 2 years ago while I was thinking and working those type issues.
    Regards, Rob

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    This is a perennial problem with wargames. Game architects tell participants over and over that they are not planning or predicting an operation, but just need some venue to run the game. Then someone like this misses the point and our ambassadors end up having to waste a lot of time explaining to said countries that we are not getting ready to invade.
    Sorry to bring up an old thread but i was browsing the site and came across this and thought i'd checulk my 2 cents in

    Yeah there does seem that people consistently don't realise that we aren't invading and so much time is wasted, but no system is perfect i suppose!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •