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News > Air Force Wargaming Institute hosts CSAF wargame
Air Force Wargaming Institute hosts CSAF wargame

Posted 10/30/2009   Updated 11/2/2009 Email story   Print story


by Carl Bergquist
Air University Public Affairs

10/30/2009 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- More than 35 active-duty and retired generals, senior government leaders and allied military members joined about 150 individuals from the Department of Defense, other U.S. government organizations, allied nations and think tanks to participate in the 2009 Future Capabilities Game at Air University's Air Force Wargaming Institute, Oct. 18-23.

Established in 1996 by then Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Ronald Fogleman, who is a senior mentor for this year's event, the Future Game is one of two CSAF Title 10 wargames that help participants understand what capabilities and force structure the Air Force should possess in 25 years.

"The Future Game is not a wargame in the traditional sense, but is designed to develop insights that will support the joint force," said Brig. Gen. Richard Johnson, executive director of the game and director of strategic planning, deputy chief of staff for Strategic Planning and Programs at Air Force Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

The general said the game is not just about what is being developed now, but where the Air Force is going and what technology is going to be of service and interest in the future.

Col. Donald Drechsler, Air ForceFuture Concepts Division chief, said he and his staff have spent the last 12 to 18 months planning the 2009 Future Capabilities Game, and the goal is to look at force structure versus the objectives of the game.

"To see what challenges the Air Force has for the future, the group looks at two difficult scenarios in developing the game. They are conventional operations and warfare," he said. "We are discussing capabilities the Air Force Research Lab says are potentially operational, so this is science and technology mixed with air, space and cyberspace, and it is neat for the scientists to see some of the new technology."

Colonel Drechsler said the group spends a lot of time looking 20 to 25 years into the future to what the broad range of technology will be, and how that may influence and affect the future of the Air Force.

"I've learned a lot about cyberspace and how that figures into the big picture," he said. "Also, we don't focus on who wins the game, but more on what insight we gain from the game."

General Johnson said it is "really interesting" to listen to the dialog that develops during the Future Game, and that is a way to look at new technology and how it impacts the Air Force.
He said it allows participants to ask themselves if the Air Force needs to make changes or tweak some aspects of daily operations.

"Cyberspace is an area where we are learning a lot," he said. "Think about some individual sitting in his living room downloading new technology on his laptop. Is he going to use it for good or evil?"

The general said game participants will take some of what is learned and research it further to see what bearing it is going to have on the Air Force. He said he sees the Air Force and other services "continuing to entice" their members into the cyberspace field.

"The participants in this game are getting a better understanding of how air, space and cyberspace overlap in warfare," General Johnson said. "This is not just about what to develop now, but where the Air Force is going technologically."

Colonel Drechsler said the current Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, has been "very involved" in the 2009 Future Capabilities Game.

"General Schwartz was personally involved in some of the early games, when he held the position of director of Strategic Planning, deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, and has taken a lot of interest in this year's game," he said. "He paid game participants a visit on Friday, and all analysis of this Future Game will go back to him for review early next year."

Colonel Drechsler said Air University benefits from the Future Game not only by hosting the event, but also by what the university's academic members who are involved bring back to their organizations from the game.

"Some School of Advanced Air and Space Studies professors and some members of Blue Horizon, both organizations here at Maxwell, are involved in the game," he said. "So there is an effect on Air University."

General Johnson said participants are selected by invitation based on their expertise in areas of interest to those attending the Future Game. The participants come from many career fields and backgrounds.

"We are very selective, because we want to have the right people here for the discussions," Colonel Drechsler said. "We want to have people who have good insights into areas we need to cover, and we invite the people with those insights to come to the game."

General Johnson said everyone involved in this year's event wants to thank Air University, the Air Force Wargaming Institute and the local community for the support they have given the game and its participants.

"From the outstanding AFWI facility to the good food in Montgomery restaurants, we really appreciate all the great support we have received while here for the 2009 Future Capabilities Game," he said.

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