All Service Combat Identification Evaluation Team

by Captain James R. Stone

Sir, both Aegis cruisers have checked in, we have comms with AWACS and Rivet Joint, both OPFOR and BLUFOR helicopters are in the area, the F-15s are ready to engage, and it's `Fight's On.' These words initiated the spin-up to the ASCIET 95, a live, joint evaluation held 4 through 15 September 1995 in the Gulf of Mexico near Gulfport, Mississippi.
ASCIET is a joint program designed to improve combat identification and thereby minimize fratricide among the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps while maintaining or increasing the lethality of our Services' weapons employment. The evaluation was designed to assess and improve the abilities of each of our Services' combat identification to operate effectively in a joint environment. In addition, they assessed various concepts of combat identification in a broad spectrum of areas to include doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP); combat systems; and training.

Evaluation Participants

Organizationally speaking, the ASCIET works directly for the General Officer Steering Committee for Combat Identification and reports to the Joint Requirements Oversight Counsel (JROC). The ASCIET program is lead by an Air Force colonel whose deputies are lieutenant colonels (or equivalents) from each of the four Services. The following list describes the makeup of the remainder of the ASCIET staff:
Additionally, ASCIET had contractor support from CAS, Inc., the Center for Naval Analysis, MEVATEC, and Science Applications International Corporation. Also, many of the participating weapon system groups comprise seasoned, tactically oriented NCOs.

Evaluation Operations

In preparation for the annual live exercise, ASCIET first conducts a simulation exercise (SimEx) where they connect the crews from the C2 platforms, such as Aegis, TAOC, CRC, HAWK, E-3 Hawkeye, ADA TSQ-73 Missile Minder, and Rivet Joint, and the crews from the fighters in a distributed interactive simulation of what happens during the actual exercise. Use of the SimEx verifies the scenario and TTP used during the live exercise and to conduct integrated joint crew training.
The air-to-air and surface-to-air battle took place in a littoral airspace over and around the Gulf of Mexico, while air-to-ground and ground-to-ground engagements occurred on the Camp Shelby, Mississippi, range complex. This environment created a realistic joint battlespace with very likely opportunities for fratricide. Here is a sample of a day's activities:

Off-Line Participants

To keep an eye toward the future, emerging technologies in ASCIET 95 participated as designated off-line and on-line systems. Some had subsystems with broad, expandable applications in the joint environment. The following list enumerates the off-line systems that participated in ASCIET 95:
Other systems had classifications that restrict them from being addressed in this paper. ASCIET staff evaluated some systems for future fratricide avoidance applications. Other systems were still in the embryonic development phase, brought by the individual program managers, and evaluated only by their internal program team.


ASCIET 95 was an unparalleled joint training event coupled with data collection in support of a combat identification evaluation. ASCIET was not evaluating the operators in this exercise; data was the product. This data will be analyzed and evaluated with the following questions in mind:
Our successful mission will provide the answers to these questions. The resulting ASCIET 95 Evaluation Report will go to JROC, evaluation participants, and will be available through the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC).
What is next? ASCIET 96 will be held in the fourth quarter of FY 96. The SimEx will be larger because it will include ground maneuver elements for the first time. This will prepare us for a larger Army slice with a bigger ground maneuver element consisting of M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley tanks, fire support team vehicles, and a Marine light armored vehicle platoon facing real Soviet T-72s and armored BMP-2s, BTR-70/80 personnel carriers, and BRDM reconnaissance vehicles. Distracter vehicles will include a "Gray Force" of M60 tanks, M113s personnel carriers, an M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle, and M9 Armored Combat Earthmover. In addition, AH-64, OH-58DKW, Marine AH-1W, and UH-60 helicopters will support this maneuver element while the fixed-wing fighters provide CAS and ground AD elements protect the force. The goal is to continue learning how to improve combat identification among all the Services so that fewer incidents of fratricide occur in future conflicts.
Captain Stone is currently attending the Georgia Institute of Technology to attain a graduate physics degree with a follow-on assignment at the U.S. Military Academy. His previous assignments include Engineer Operations Officer for the All-Service Combat Identification Evaluation Team at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Florida; Commander, Alpha Company, 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division; and Platoon Leader and Executive Officer of the 9th Engineer Battalion in Germany. He served in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. Captain Stone holds a bachelors degree in Applied Mathematics from Appalachian State University. Readers can contact his former unit at (904) 882-9046/7 or DSN 872-9046/7.