Video simulation tests 2nd ID's warfighters
October 14, 2006
CAMP HOVEY, South Korea — Right now, the 2nd Infantry Division’s first brigade is fighting off a world-class opposing force in one of the most complex multiplayer video games ever made.
Since Monday, soldiers and commanders from the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team have been holed up in camouflage tents in a nonstop “Warfighter” battle simulation exercise overseen by soldiers from the Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Several hundred soldiers either are manning the division, brigade and battalion command posts or are making fighting decisions on the virtual ground as part of company cells.
The information flowing into the brigade tactical operations center is extensive; it’s designed to be fast and fluid. Company commanders also must make quick decisions based on an array of intelligence coming from unmanned aerial vehicles, radar, radio and other sources.
“If they’re in the middle of fighting, they will be overwhelmed as they would be in real life,” said Brigade Signal Officer Maj. Andre Abadie.
For the Warfighter exercise, the brigade built multiple networks, including a tactical communications network as it would be built in combat, along with the video game-like simulation network.
When an enemy tank rolls down the road, Abadie said, it’s an excellent depiction of what really occurs.
Other movements may be more subtle than rolling tanks or swarming soldiers; part of the soldiers’ evaluations will rely on whether they recognize what they see, Abadie said.
During it all, leaders will have to learn how to manage their soldiers through long periods without sleep, he added.
It’s just another piece to the accelerated operations tempo that a brigade could face if paired against a top-flight enemy, said brigade executive officer Maj. Jeff Chrisman.
“Do you see any hair left on my head?” Chrisman asked only half-jokingly. “It’s been fast — very fast tempo the past couple of days.”
Because one-year tours are most common in South Korea, Chrisman is zeroing in on the ability of different sections that may not know each other well to communicate under stress.
For example, the intelligence section may have a perfect read on an enemy position; however, it may not mean much if the section can’t relay that information the right way to the field artillery, Chrisman said.
The brigade Warfighter exercise is expected to wrap up sometime Sunday. The 2nd Infantry Division will take part in a division-level Warfighter exercise in December.