Netcentric warfare to use more sims

Training soldiers to take advantage of network-centric warfare will require more simulations, training sessions and war games in coming years, according to senior Defense Department leadership.

As the military becomes a more networked force, it will have to relearn how to fight, and simulations and war games will be the most effective and efficient means of doing so, said Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

"We need to increase the scope, speed, breadth and depth of our training operations," Giambastiani said at the IDGA Network Centric Warfare Conference this morning. "We have found it is very important to move as rapidly as possible on the battlefield, and [Operation Iraqi Freedom] is the most joint and combined operations we've ever experienced."

The services and Joint Forces Command are planning numerous training and war game operations this year. Giambastiani lauded the use of such facilities as the Joint National Training Capability, a global network of training facilities. He said JFCOM will conduct three war games this year to study more aspects of joint warfighting.

Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are two of the most closely scrutinized military actions in history, and the lessons learned are already being implemented as military doctrine.

"OEF and OIF are the largest battle lab experiments you can run," Giambastiani said.

Army. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Griffin, deputy chief of staff of the Army, said the two capabilities that had the most impact on troop readiness were the combat training centers and the network.

"But the battlefield is different than the lab, so we've got to keep pushing," Griffin said.

Rear Adm. Thomas Zelibor, the Navy's deputy chief information officer, said a big part of getting the theory right comes through simulation and training.

"You've got to get out there and try it," he said. "If you make mistakes in the lab, who cares? If it works, you get it out to the fleet."

The Marines will also conduct an experiment with the network in Iraq in March called Condor, said Marine Brig. Gen. Robert Schmidle.

Also, the Air Force will be running Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2004 in August. JEFX is a series of experiments that combine live-fly, live-play, ground and naval forces, simulations and technology insertion into a warfighting environment.

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