U.S. Joint Forces Command, Marines begin Joint Urban Warrior 07

The latest iteration of the Joint Urban Warrior series of wargames focuses on how actions in a tactical urban environment affect operations across the whole spectrum of conflict.

By Army Spc. Andrew Orillion
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(POTOMAC, Md. – May 18, 2007) - – As a squad of Marines engage in a firefight with insurgents on the streets of Baghdad, bullets fly and explosions rock the small the neighborhood as the firefight rages.

A young boy dies during the intense fight, as a bystander captures the entire incident on a cell phone camera.

Within hours the video is on the Internet. News organizations around the world are showing the video and reporting on the battle. Military leaders call for an immediate review of combat operations.

Welcome to the world of strategic compression, a new concept under examination during Joint Urban Warrior 07 (JUW 07), a wargame running beginning Saturday and running through May 24 here.

"Strategic compression is the graying of the strategic through the tactical levels of warfare, meaning that tactical actions taking place on the ground today may have strategic implications tomorrow," said Richard Calantropo, a USJFCOM experimentation planner in Suffolk, Va. "Strategic compression is a modern-day phenomenon of warfare."

JUW 07, the fourth wargame in the annual Joint Urban Warrior series, is co-sponsored by U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) in Norfolk, Va., and the U.S. Marine Corps. USJFCOM’s Joint Urban Operations Office and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Va. work together to plan and execute the annual JUW event.

"Urban operations still present a large challenge to the joint force,' said Air Force Lt. Col. Ron Rosenkranz, USJFCOM’s military lead for JUW 07. "The stakes are high and we continue to have challenges with respect to effective urban ops."

Previous events in the JUW series focused mostly on interoperability, general urban warfare, and humanitarian issues. JUW 07 will focus on strategic compression.

Calantropo said that during the Cold War, the strategic and tactical level actions were for the most part distinct and separate. The proliferation of cell phone cameras, video sharing Web sites and 24-hour news cycles have changed this.

"If you have an incident, such as a civilian being injured or killed, that is splashed all over CNN, that incident can affect your policy and your ability to operate in your region," said Calantropo. "Actions on the ground can have much more immediate and greater implications than in the past."

Rosenkranz said a camera on every corner and in every cell phone is a new situation for an urban operator. The result is that today’s urban operator is under tremendous scrutiny and the stakes are higher then ever before.

JUW 07 will test and review the strategic compression concept with a mix of briefings, discussion panels and wargames.

"It’s not going to be a classic wargame in the sense where it is a move-countermove," said Calantropo. "Rather it is going to be small teams who are given a vignette and are asked to evaluate the implications of strategic compression."

In addition to USJFCOM and Marine Corps players, representatives from all the armed services will attend. JUW 07 will also include representatives from NATO and other nations, Rosenkranz said.

Rosenkranz said urban operations are evolving all around the world and every nation is trying to adapt. He said it’s important to involve NATO and other partners in training, and multinational influence will be very high during JUW 07.

As with previous wargames in the series, JUW 07’s results will be analyzed and used to develop future warfighting concepts, capabilities and ideas for future wargames.

Ellie