AFRICOM Stands Up First Simulation Exercise

Major John J. Bailer Jr., AFRICOM Models and Simulations Officer wrote:

United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM as it is more commonly known, located in Stuttgart, Germany, is the newest geographic combatant command in the United States Department of Defense. The command is preparing to use computer simulations for the very first time in its three year old Joint Force Headquarters exercise program. “This is exciting stuff,” says Colonel John Oliver USAF, the Exercise Division Chief for AFRICOM, “we’re breaking new ground here.”

Exercise JUDICIOUS RESPONSE, which is designed to train the AFRICOM headquarters staff as well as its subordinate service component staffs, is the exercise in which the computer simulation will be employed. The exercise takes place in several different locations throughout Europe and the Continental United States. The exercise will be conducted in two parts, one this winter and the other in the Fall of 2011.

The exercise will be stimulated by a simulation called the Joint Theater Level Simulation (JTLS). It is an interactive, computer-assisted simulation tool used in joint training programs. U.S. Joint Forces Command’s (USJFCOM) Joint Warfighting Center manages the JTLS program.

“The JTLS models multi-sided air, ground, and naval activities, with logistical, special operation force (SOF), and intelligence in support.” says LtCol Charles P. Preston, USMC (United States Marine Corps), Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) Exercise Branch Chief at AFRICOM.

He continues by adding; “this simulation is just the right fit for this type of Joint exercise at the Combatant Command headquarters level. It’s just perfect for what we are trying to do with JUDICIOUS RESPONSE, a COCOM level exercise designed to ensure the readiness of United States Africa (USARAF) to be a Joint Task Force (JTF) capable service component Headquarters.”

“The idea is to help the headquarters better prepare and plan for contingency operations”, explains Col O’Halloran, the AFRICOM’s Director of Joint Force Development and Readiness. He goes on to add that “simulations are not used as a predictor of the future, but rather a tool to help planners and the leaders make an informed decision.”

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