The U.S. Joint Forces Command experiment MILLENIUM CHALLENGE 2002 (MC02) and the Army’s supporting experiment Army Transformation Experiment 2002 (ATEx02) combine large size unit operations occurring within computer simulations and selected small size unit operations being conducted by real units. Participating command and control headquarters will synchronize the movements of the real and computer simulated units just as they would if all forces were real.
ATEx02 is broken into battle periods. Each battle period is described in detail below. The descriptions provide a general outline of MC02 activities and then explain Army unit actions during the period.
(This experiment is unique when compared to most exercises the Army conducts. During most exercises, the actions of the Opposing Force (OPFOR) unit, representing the hostile force, are controlled to drive different events to occur within a specific time period. This predictability of events makes the coordination of media participation relatively easy. For example, during most Army exercises, the exercise planners know a battle will occur on a particular day, so coordinators can pre-position media on an overlook in time to observe the units engaged in mock conflict. ATEx02 presents a more complex challenge to coordinators. A planned airborne unit parachute assault of an airfield at the NTC is a good example of this challenge. The airborne unit will seek to conduct the airfield assault at night to take advantage of the superior night fighting capabilities of U.S. Army forces. Adverse weather may cause the airborne assault to be postponed for an hour, a day, or a couple of days. The air landing of IBCT elements, some of which will be planned to occur during daylight hours, cannot take place until the airfield is secure. The conduct of specific phases of the operation will be situationally dependent and will not be based on a prearranged schedule. One of the Army’s goals in conducting ATEx02 is to reproduce the battlefield as closely as possible. The Army cannot promise that media will see a particular event at a specific date and time.)
Battle Periods (BP)
1. 24 Jul – 29 Jul – Joint Shaping Operations:
During BP 1, Air Force and Navy forces conduct operations (primarily with computer simulated forces) to destroy or degrade OPFOR military capabilities. These operations also create a favorable situation for the introduction of Army and Marine ground forces. Selected real Army command and control and logistical elements move into the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA) and the National Training Center (Fort Irwin, CA) in preparation for the introduction of combat units.
2. 30 Jul – 1 Aug – Forced Entry / Early Entry:
The focus of this period is the introduction of Army and Marine
ground forces into REDLAND, the aggressor nation. Air Force and Navy forces support Army and Marine ground operations while continuing to destroy and degrade OPFOR military capabilities.
The Marines conduct a forced entry operation from ships offshore to an inland objective. A live Army airborne battalion conducts a night parachute drop on 30 July (weather permitting) to seize an airfield at the NTC. A computer simulated airborne battalion conducts a similar operation at the same time. Once an airfield is secure, the Army’s 1st Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) begins airlanding elements at the airfield. The IBCT airlands some Stryker vehicles and their crews at NTC during daylight hours on the morning of 31 July if the airborne unit is able to parachute in and secure the airfield on 30 July. The command and control headquarters will determine the exact date and time for all other operations occurring during ATEx02 after units arrive at the NTC.
3. 2 – 4 Aug – Destruction of Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) Arming Site / Deep Attack / Complex Terrain:
Air Force and Navy forces continue to support Army and Marine ground operations while condu