NEWPORT, R.I. - It is the year 2020 and there are terrorists detonating radioactive devices in Philadelphia, pandemic influenza is spreading eastward from California, war between a major power and NATO, a growing nuclear power in the Middle East ready to attack regional rivals, terrorists attacking shipping in the Strait of Malacca, a growing naval confrontation over disputed territories in the East China Sea, an accidental explosion of a weapon of mass destruction in Asia, and a armed confrontation brewing over scarce water resources in South East Asia.
While it is only a war game, it is the world that military and civilian students from five senior service schools (Naval War College (NWC), Air War College (AWC), Army War College (USAWC), Marine War College (MCWAR) and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF)) attempt to formulate responses that call upon all elements of the U.S. national power—Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economics—to bring order out of disorder.
The weeklong exercise is the annual Joint Land, Air, and Sea Simulation (JLASS) war game, held April 14-21, 2010, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., which has been educating officers and civilians from the military's senior Service colleges since 1984. This is also the first year that international officers attending the USAWC, MCWAR, and ICAF participated. Countries represented were: Canada, Denmark, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Netherlands, Pakistan, and Romania.
Set 10 years in the future, the goal for the NWC students, who role play the PACOM staff and subordinate commands, is to further develop theater strategic planners. Tasked with a “World on the Brink” scenario, they must prioritize finite assets, coordinate responses with other geographic combatant commanders, work through the interagency process, and finally articulate their plans and concerns to the National Security Council, role played ICAF students. Like years before, the students wrestle with how and when to best employ scarce military resources—U.S. and coalitions alike—in diffusing situations before they become full-blown armed conflict so that diplomatic solutions can take traction.
This year’s JLASS team consisted of:
COL Jim Barker, USA as the US Army Pacific Commander and US Korean Command Commander
LtCol Matt Crabill, USMC as the USPACOM Combatant Commander
LtCol Mike “Ski” Grischkowsky, USMC as the US Marine Force Pacific Commander
Lt Col John “Face” Hanna, USAF as the USPACOM J3 (Operations Directorate) and US Pacific Air Force Commander
CDR Elisabeth “Lis” Jones, USN as the USPACOM Staff Judge Advocate and Public Affairs Officer
CAPT Bob McCarty, USCG as the USPACFLT Commander and USPACOM J9 (Pacific Outreach Directorate)
COL Scott McKean, USA as the USPACOM J5 (Strategic Policy Planning Directorate)
LtCol Mark “Willie” Nelson, USMC as the USPACOM J2 (Intelligence Directorate)
CDR Cameron Ratkovic, USN as the US 7th Fleet Commander
Col Ed Rivera, USAF as the USPACOM J36 (C2 Systems Integration), and J39 (Information Operations) Commander
Lt Col Mark “Ferris” Schuler, ANG as the USPACOM POLAD (Foreign Policy Advisor)
Mr. Larry Stevens, DOS as the Special Operations J2, and Joint Interagency Coordination Group/Counterterrorism (JIACG/CT) Director
LTC Darren Werner, USA as the USPACOM J4 (Logistics, Engineering, and Security Assistance Directorate)
Lt Col Tim White, USAF, as the USPACOM Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander
CDR Eric Wirstrom, USN as the SOCPAC CDR (PACOM Special Operations Commander)
The JLASS exercise provides future decision-makers a taste of dealing with wicked problems before they are actually on the hot seat. And this year, the NWC JLASS team did just that!