Military Review May-June 1998

Changing How We Change

by Major Jon J. Peterson, US Army

The revolutionary forces that are transforming the fabric of global society require that the Army restructure the process by which it fields new equipment, modifies doctrine and trains the force. Dramatic conceptual and operational change is difficult for any organization - the Army is no exception. Faced with a new set of dynamics regarding missions, technology, manpower and force deployment, the Army's smaller, Continental United States-based force must rapidly deploy to fight and win in any environment with the fewest number of casualties.

Leveraging the exponential increases in computer technology - both in military application and simulation capability - and the promising agility and lethality of developing systems, is the Army's significant response to those challenges. An additional challenge is to ensure those systems and capabilities are evaluated and integrated at a rate that meets or exceeds the rate of change in global technology and military development. The Army is using the Force XXI process to apply simulation technology, weapon system capabilities, computer information distribution and management capabilities to accomplish these goals within the constraints of broader missions, reduced manpower, changing technology and increased deployability.

But once the necessity for change has been identified, how do we do it? What are the criteria for change, and at what level do we institute change? These questions and many others define the analytic challenges that face the Army. Under the Force XXI process "umbrella," the division was targeted as the basis for change because: "Divisions create combat power throughout the commander's area of operations by combining maneuver, firepower, protection and leadership. Division commanders seek to apply overwhelming combat power, bringing all these elements quickly and violently to bear and giving the enemy no opportunity to respond with an effective opposition."1

The key to the 21st-century division lies in leveraging technology and warfighting ability, through the patterns of operation, to maximize the synergistic effects of maneuver, firepower, protection and leadership:

This analysis was conducted across doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, materiel and soldier systems to produce an overall understanding of a new division design's potential.

When developing new systems for the force, time is an ever-present difficulty that must be managed. New system or software upgrades often occur faster than we can integrate them into the force. This has the potential to stall the modernization effort in a never-ending loop of waiting for the next generation of software and hardware, which promises to be much better than today's version. The systems must be developed, tested and fielded much faster than ever before to address the rapidly changing global military environment.

The solution, in part, is the spiral development process depicted in Figure 1. This process puts prototype instruments in the hands of soldiers - with contractors and analysts alongside the soldiers - where suggestions or difficulties are incorporated or fixed as they are revealed. The systems and employment concepts are modeled in simulations, analyzed for performance and adjusted where warranted. Armed with the simulation's results, the systems are employed in a live exercise, where observations are made on the performance and utility of the systems and concepts. The live exercise results are used to refine the model, and the simulation is run again to gain insights. Exhaustive final analysis and review by senior Army leaders produce the guidance for the next design.

The traditional approach differs markedly from the methodology described above. In the past, an equipment upgrade meant several months of development and testing before the operators ever got their hands on the machine. There was little soldier involvement, and the end results sometimes produced equipment that did not perform to the required standards once it was fielded. The spiral development process is designed to mitigate those problems by simultaneously testing and developing in the actual operating environment.

As depicted in Figure 1, the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Experimental Force) [EXFOR] was fully integrated into the spiral development and analysis process. The process allowed simultaneous analysis and feedback on several force aspects and how those aspects were correlated. This was a key difference from previous force development methods. Product development does not rely solely on a specifications sheet; it should be based upon soldier experiences using the systems in various environments, as intended.

Joint Venture Analysis

The US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) established the Joint Venture office to oversee and provide guidance for development of the concepts, equipment, organization, procedures and training for the Force XXI division. The overall plan for Army XXI Division analysis consisted of four primary elements:

Division Advanced Warfighting Experiment (DAWE) Analysis. Approach: One-time experiment using subject-matter expert (SME) observers and survey techniques. Focus: Battle Command, Army Battle Command System (ABCS), command post (CP) design.

Divisional Design Analysis. Approach: Constructive analysis designed to compare the Army of Excellence (AOE) to other alternatives in a variety of scenarios. Focus: Division design, performance, division combat service support (CSS).

Task Force (TF) XXI AWE Analysis. Approach: Combination of constructive analysis and experimentation using the Model-Exercise-Model (M-E-M) paradigm. Focus: Digitization

CSS Evaluation. Approach: Variety of analytical efforts, primarily constructive, to examine the new CSS concepts and enablers. Focus: CSS Concept.

The intent, which resulted in the Joint Venture Capstone Report, was to look at a possible division design from many sides to gain a complete understanding of the proposed changes' benefits and consequences.

These events were conducted at different times, with lessons learned applied to subsequent events, but more important, the separate analyses concentrated on different aspects of the effort without losing focus of the whole. The analytic methods used and environment created for each effort were developed to gain the information desired from the effort. However, as shown in Figure 2, there are several related experiments - using constructive simulation, live exercises and warfighter tools - to gain insights into specific division design aspects that complement the insights gained in other efforts. As General Gary E. Luck stated, "We must not be so analytical in our approach that we forget to fully use the intuition of our warfighters and their vast experience. . . 30-plus years of warfighting skills should count as much as analytics."2

The CSS redesign is one of the most significant departures from the current organization. It represents a dramatic shift in concept, organization and capability from the AOE division. The CSS analysis used constructive simulation and computer-aided map exercise (CAMEX) seminars to examine the CSS concepts and enablers. This effort provided insights into the concepts' strength and enablers' significance. Extensive study through the simulations and CAMEX in the CSS analysis and continuing effort during the Division Design Analysis (DDA) has helped refine the concept.

The TF XXI event was an M-E-M experiment focused on digitization. It provided information on the "value added" through digitization, then tested the reality of the different concepts and systems through live exercises at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. The learning curve turned out to be steep as soldiers discovered the system's capabilities and limits. Tactics, techniques and procedures were developed from only the sketchiest employment concepts. The man-machine interface and developing software sometimes required workarounds, but the event provided a wealth of information that was used to update and modify the systems, simulations and procedures. The final step included modifying and re-running the simulation based upon insights gained in the live exercise and applying those insights to the next effort.


The DDA was the primary effort aimed at determining the effectiveness of various division designs in several theaters. The Vector in Command simulation model was used in an analytical simulation that employed classified data to realistically evaluate effectiveness. As shown in Figure 2, the DDA process started well before the DAWE, and excursions to test specific division design aspects continued to provide meaningful information.

The DDA has served as the common thread throughout the course of the Joint Venture Axis from its initial planning in March 1995, through its final analytic efforts in January 1998. Throughout this analytic process, the division design evolution has held to the fundamental operational concept questions:

The latter question gets to the heart of the design problem. If there are tasks the division is to do all or most of the time, then it needs to have those assets organic to its structure. If the tasks are occasional, "once in a while" missions, then the assets can be put at echelons above division and provided to the division as required.

The notion of 21st-century warfighting developed over this same period, as guided by the TRADOC commander and deputy commander, with the proponent school commandants providing information for the early concept development. The direct byproduct of that vision is the division operational concept, which created the requirements the division design is to satisfy.

The Force XXI DDA provided the definitive analysis for the division design aspects of the Joint Venture Axis. The DDA's various phases and the major focus of each phase follow:

These phases depict the analytic path the DDA followed, with the theme that the entire process has been a careful blending of traditional and nontraditional techniques, flavored with substantial quantities of professional military judgment. Two significant points in this process are the intensity of effort and rapid progress in obtaining results. Many prominent retired and active duty general officers contributed their expertise and experience during the DDA phases. That expertise, combined with modern analytic methods, resulted in less than four years from study directive to design decision. The culminating, and perhaps most visible, event in the analysis was the DAWE. While there were certainly many systems involved - and data was collected on them - the DAWE's purpose was not to validate specific systems or evaluate the lethality of new or proposed munitions, but rather to test the battle command ability of a redesigned division equipped with enhanced communication, destruction and intelligence sensor systems. One could describe the DDA process as determining "how sharp and strong the sword is," while the DAWE determined whether a warrior could "pick it up and wield it in battle."

The DAWE development began almost two years prior to execution, during DDA Phase I. As the division designs were being tested for lethality, survivability and supportability, the decision was made to determine how these increases in mobility, lethality, information collection and other improvements actually helped or hindered the commander during an intense conflict. The Exercise PRAIRIE WARRIOR 96 scenario was briefed as a possible vehicle for the AWE, and fictional Lantica was approved as the theater of conflict.

Joint Venture provided eight overarching issues to examine during the AWE. These issues and initiatives, solicited from the various TRADOC schools and agencies and nominated for examination during the AWE, represented specific proponent concerns. Unfortunately, not every issue could be included or formulated within the approved scenario. Some were not truly relevant to the DAWE's eight overarching issues. For others, the DAWE was just not the right venue. The approved issues became the DAWE study plan focus.

The issues' incorporation within the scenario's context, the modifications to the suite of simulation models used and the concepts to be explored during the experiment were all discussed and approved during monthly process action team meetings chaired by Joint Venture staff and attended by all involved parties. The first actual player event was a Battle Command Training Program (BCTP)-hosted warfighting seminar, where the EXFOR tested its emerging "how-to-fight" concepts against a notional opposing force (OPFOR) in the Lantica theater. The lessons learned from that seminar led to additional, focused training seminars using the patterns of operation as a guide. These training seminars were hosted by III Corps - specifically for the training of 4th ID - but were attended by members of all major agencies involved in writing and scripting scenario portions. This helped clarify Force XXI concepts and the latest notions on how they apply in battle.

The TRADOC deputy commander provided the "distilled" guidance concerning the DAWE focus. These questions, later labeled "the primary questions," were direct, cut right to the point and relatively simple to understand but, as it turned out, very hard to answer directly. The TRADOC Analysis Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, began to develop a method to address the questions, specifically looking across the existing issue categories. A team of military analysts was formed to address these questions and to integrate information from SME observers; issue leads; BCTP observers; "ground truth," as determined by the simulation; and the unit itself, through direct observations and questions.

This team, called the capabilities and potential (CAP) team, developed insights and observations by analyzing the scenario and operations orders for events that appeared to contain the elements which would lend insights into the primary questions. The team's analysis focused on the capabilities that the Force XXI systems, concepts and organization provided the division, as well as the potential those systems display, considering they are currently not the objective systems. Since battle command is the main focus of BCTP personnel, they are viewed as the SMEs on evaluating battle command. The CAP team worked closely with BCTP to develop the events and focus the analysis.

The DAWE put the division's operations under a microscope. There were SMEs observing events and systems in support of the study plan issues, BCTP observers gathering insights on battle command, contractors gathering training insights and CAP team members observing the events and synthesizing the insights and observations of all parties. In addition, system proponents were present, taking notes on how to improve their objective systems and working to keep the prototype systems operating as advertised.

Conducted 5 to 13 November 1997, at Fort Hood, Texas, the DAWE employed a free-play, CP warfighter exercise with digitized division and brigade tactical operations centers (TOCs) in the field. The 4th ID operated as the EXFOR in the DAWE, representing the armor variant conservative heavy division design, to include the new centralized CSS concept, portraying force year 2003. The DAWE was driven using the Joint Training Confederation of models, modified to the degree possible, to represent the modernized division and its operational concept. The 4th ID employed the current suite of ABCS systems. They included: the Maneuver Control System; All-Source Analysis System; Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System; CSS Control System; and Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control and Intelligence.

During the DAWE, the world-class OPFOR was modified to present a viable opponent for the 4th ID. The experiment design required a force of differing technologies-one portion with roughly 1998 technology, the other 2003, to provide an appropriate match to the year played by 4th ID. The OPFOR consisted of three combined arms armies (CAAs) and two tank armies (TAs). The 1st CAA was the less advanced force, while the 2d CAA and 3d CAA, as well as the 4th TA and 9th TA, were fully modernized forces with systems and capabilities projected to be available in the world market in 2003.

This integration of analysis methods for the DAWE resulted in significant and credible insights. The "vertical" analysis portion was designed to address the systems and concepts issues. The issue analysis plans identified elements that could be answered with observation data from an SME. BCTP gathered observations on the effect of those systems and concepts upon battle command. These observations and insights assisted the CAP team in the "horizontal" analysis portion, where the cause and effect of an event were crosswalked between battle command actions and the issue database. The third point of the triangulation is simulation ground truth. Through a system called Vision 21, CAP analysts could go back to any point in the battle and compare ground truth to perceptions and decisions that were made. The ability to reference these three sources allows a holistic description of the DAWE events and their causes and effects.

The methods used to evaluate concepts, systems and capabilities have evolved. We have changed the way in which we effect change in the force. The Force XXI division redesign process remains an exhaustive effort along many axes as follows:

While each of these major efforts is focused in a specific direction, collectively they provide a broad yet detailed analysis of the division design's effectiveness. The Force XXI division design was built around a warfighting concept - enabled by certain technologies - with a view to future missions, organization, pace and capabilities. While some areas still require further study, the simulations and analyses results indicate the Force XXI division is a capable, highly lethal organization that can conduct a broad range of operations. Throughout the process, the analytic efforts have proved to be credible, relevant and suitable for application to the next division modernization, as well as the development of the first digitized corps. MR

1. US Army Field Manual 71-100, Division Operations (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1996), vi.
2. Remark made following a TRADOC prebriefing for the Winter Commanders' Conference; subject: Force XXI experimental division design, 26 February 1996.

Major Jon J. Peterson is S3, 2d Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Hanau, Germany. He received a B.S. from Dickinson College and an M.S. from Kansas State University. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Continental United States, Germany and Korea, including combat analyst, TRADOC Analysis Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; assistant S3, 2d Aviation Battalion, and assistant G3 Air (Haiti operations/plans team), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; assault helicopter battalion S1 and aviation liaison officer to 2d Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord, California; and assistant operations officer, 128th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Page, Korea.