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Air University Catalog 

College of Aerospace Doctrine Research and Education  
Air Force Wargaming Institute  
Col Thomas Ardern, Director  

In 1975, the Clements Blue Ribbon Panel on Excellence in Professional Military Education cited a need for service schools to stress war fighting and decision making in combat. In 1976, the Air Force chief of staff's Constant Readiness Tasking directed Air University to "put more war in the War College." The concept for the Air Force Wargaming Institute (AFWI) evolved from these two initiatives. The facility was opened in 1986, at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The institute supports a broad range of war games and exercises to meet the needs of Air Force, DOD, and international sponsors.

Operations and War Game Support

AFWI is housed in a special-purpose, 56,000 square-foot facility. It can operate in whole or in part as a secure, classified working area. The building contains 22 seminar or game rooms and two conference rooms--all with audio and video capabilities.

The Wargaming Operations Division designs, develops, tests, and executes war games for Air Force, joint service, and international customers. During war games, the staff performs Control, Friendly, and Opposing team functions. The division has extensive hands-on experience in airpower doctrine, strategy, and tactics. Through continuous research and interaction with various DOD agencies, this division is able to ensure that war games reflect accurate and credible friendly and opposing force play. It provides the entire spectrum of support necessary for a full war-gaming calendar--event services, protocol, audiovisual, and facility management.

The Information Technical Division maintains the communications--computer infrastructure supporting war-gaming operations. The division designed and implemented a state-of-the-art local area network (LAN) that can be modified to accommodate a wide spectrum of war-gaming scenarios. The division operates this LAN and evaluates emerging technologies to ensure that AFWI's computing environment remains on the cutting edge. The division also develops, maintains, and operates models to support war games. AFWI is currently using the following models:

  1. The Air Force Command Exercise System (ACES)-a joint, theater campaign-level, combat simulation model
  2. The Joint Educational Mobility model--a theater logistics model used to generate time phased force deployment data (TPFDD) for war games
  3. The Atlantis model--a real time, tactical aerospace employment model
  4. The Bottom Line model, which simulates the impact of national budget decisions on the state of the nation

The Operations Analysis Division provides technical advice and critical analyses on all aspects of modeling and simulation (M&S) and war gaming. The division's staff members are masters in operational science as well as weapons employment, mobility, space operations, and information operations. These operations analysts provide course management and platform instruction for the formal Prime Warrior Course, which prepares Air Force participants for joint M&S-supported activities (war games, exer-cises, and analyses). Teamed with the Air Force Doctrine Center, the division analyzes the logic, mathematics, and algorithms of combat models to insure doctrinally sound outcomes at joint exercises.

War Games, Simulation Exercises, and Prime Warrior

In a typical year, AFWI plans, develops, and conducts more than 25 war games and exercises and 6 Prime Warrior courses for more than 6,000 participants. AFWI provides a "laboratory environment" in which current and future commanders and staffs study warfare to identify problems before they face them in combat.

Prairie Warrior. Prairie Warrior is a series of joint unclassified computer-assisted exercises held at the US Army's Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This series provides a valuable training and experimental venue for the CGSC student. Prime Warrior is a high-visibility forum in which the Air Force can showcase doctrinal issues and demonstrate aerospace capabilities to the future leadership of the US Army.

Tandem Challenge. Tandem Challenge (TC) is the capstone war game of the Air War College (AWC) and Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). It is the largest seminar-based war game at Air University, involving more than 850 AWC and ACSC students. AWC students fill top political and military decision-making positions serving in the roles of the national command authorities and chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as at the joint task force command (JTF) levels. They formulate NCA-level decisions into operational level guidance for JTF staffs. ACSC students fill positions on JTF staffs, thus enhancing their appreciation of the decision-making environment at the JTF level. During Tandem Challenge, players are forced to manage two ongoing crises while confronted with projected limits on force structure and overseas basing.

Joint Warrior/Cold Roof. Joint Warrior and Cold Roof are theater-level seminar war games conducted in conjunction with the Joint Flag Officer War-fighting Course (JFOWC). They focus on issues associated with joint and coalition warfare from the perspective of the theater commander in chief (CINC) and component commanders. Joint Warrior involves senior Air Force, Army, Marine, and Navy officers in deliberate planning. Cold Roof is a crisis action planning exercise.

Pegasus-Canada. Pegasus-Canada is a computer-assisted theater level war game used by the Canadian Forces College (CFC). Participants assume the role of the combined command staffs of two opposing alliances.

Pegasus-UK. Pegasus-UK is a computer-assisted theater war game for the United Kingdom's Joint Services Command and Staff College. The exercise models a war between two fictional alliances. The participants assume the role of the staffs of the opposing alliances.

Operation Atlantis. Operation Atlantis is the Squadron Officer School's capstone exercise. The exercise reinforces teachings of the principles of war, fundamentals of military force application, and basic concepts of tactical air operations. Students simulate operations from an air operations center (AOC). They conduct battle staff planning for an air campaign in the combat plans section, then execute their plan in an interactive computer exercise.

Blue Thunder. Blue Thunder involves officers in the Aerospace Basic Course in basic air operational and tactical warfare. It focuses on the employment of air forces, in concert with land and sea operations, at the operational and tactical levels of war. The officers apply the basic concepts of air campaign planning in a dynamic environment, which requires them to continually assess the effectiveness of their plan, and make changes as required.

Theater Campaign Warfare. Theater Campaign Warfare (TCW) is the capstone war game for the School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS). The war game is augmented by students from the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Naval War College (NAVWARCOL) at Newport, Rhode Island; and the USMC's School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW) at Quantico, Virginia. The game consists of planning and execution phases. Each team interprets national strategic guidance, develops a joint force commander's estimate, identifies possible courses of action (COA), performs an evaluative COA prioritization and selection, and executes their COA in a wartime scenario.

Joint Land, Aerospace, and Sea Simulation. The Joint Land, Aerospace, and Sea Simulation (JLASS) is the only jointly sponsored war-gaming exercise conducted by all the US military senior level colleges--Air War College, Naval War College, and Army War College. The primary focus in JLASS is on joint and combined warfare at the operational and strategic level. Its goal is to enhance joint professional military education by examining potential US military responses to regional crises.

Exercise in National Budgeting Priorities. Exercise in National Budgeting Priorities (XNBP) is an executive planning exercise addressing national budget priorities. During the exercise, students use the bottom line model to analyze the impact of presidential, economic, political, and military budget decisions on the state of the nation. XNBP allows participants to test their understanding of budgetary and economic relationships.

Prime Warrior Course

The Prime Warrior course prepares Air Force personnel to take part in joint war games. The course surveys

  • Operations research, combat probability, and statistics
  • Modeling and simulation, high- and low-resolution models, and related practical exercises
  • Measures of merit, scenarios, databases, and terrain
  • Operational staff procedures and operational planning tools
  • Eight primary DOD simulations and four practical war-game exercises

In addition, the students receive a review and update on doctrine and applications as well as hands-on training using real-world joint models.

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