Military in Korea Expands Use of Simulations in War Games
By Jude Shea, Lt. Col. Don Willadsen and J. David Lashlee
More so than in most other places, modeling and simulation are critical to training in Korea. Units in Korea do not have access to live combat training centers such as those found in the United States and Europe. Large-scale maneuver training areas, for example, are limited. Environmental and political restrictions severely limit training and traffic congestion curtails the ability of units to get to training areas.
Modeling and simulations are a cost-effective means of overcoming these obstacles.
Exercise Key Resolve is an annual training event that is designed to ensure that the Combined Forces Command (CFC) is ready to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK) if required. “These exercises are designed to help teach, coach, and mentor military members from both the ROK and U.S. while exercising senior leaders’ decision-making capabilities,” said Gen. Walter Sharp, CFC commander and Key Resolve 2009 exercise director.
Key Resolve 2009 took place in March 2009 at locations throughout the ROK, Japan, Hawaii, and Ft. Hood, Texas. The first part was defensive in nature and included non-combatant evacuation operations. The second piece simulated full combat operations in a mature theater.
The primary training audience was commanders and their staffs who were located in command posts and operating in as realistic a manner as possible.
Other participants included gamers, who were located in simulation centers to interact with models. Gamers represented all echelons below the training audience by translating operational plans and orders into simulation inputs and providing simulated battlefield information, such as movement and disposition of forces, as well as the results of combat, including casualties and battle damage. Observers were located with the training audience, and provided feedback to assist in preparation of after-action reviews.
The opposing force (OPFOR) was a fight-to-win, free play organization whose mission was to provide a realistic and tough representation of the enemy. It consisted of 650 ROK and U.S. military personnel.
The Korea Battle Simulation Center (KBSC) has missions beyond the Korean Peninsula, but its priority is to support forces that are charged with defending the ROK.
The KBSC and its ROK-U.S. counterpart organization, the combined battle simulation center, support 20 to 25 training exercises annually. These exercises include joint and combined theater level exercises, such as Ulchi Freedom Guardian and Key Resolve (the largest simulation-driven exercises in the world) and Yama Sakura (a large bilateral Japan-U.S. exercise); Eighth Army exercises for 2nd Infantry Division and Eighth Army non-divisional units, and exercises with the ROK Navy and Marine Corps.
KBSC has facilities at two locations. The Walker Center, located at Yongsan Army Garrison, is the headquarters of KBSC and responsible for division and higher exercises. The Warrior Training Center, located at Camp Casey in Dongduchon, provides simulation support to the 2nd Infantry Division, including Warrior Focus, the most advanced live-virtual-constructive exercise series in the U.S. Army today.
Other simulation centers located in the region are part of the KBSC federation. The Korea Air Simulation Center is a U.S. 7th Air Force organization that routinely supports large-scale exercises in Korea and Japan. The ROK Army battle command training program provides realistic and stressful exercises to all ROK Army corps and divisions. The Third Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) tactical exercise control group supports U.S. Marine forces located in East Asia and the Western Pacific. The group regularly collaborates in the conduct of CFC major exercises, Yama Sakura in Japan, and exercises for the ROK Marine Corps.
Providing the right mix of simulations to maintain realistic operational environments during an exercise is not a trivial task. Key Resolve is complex because it‘s joint, combined and kinetic. It has many moving parts involving ROK and U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and special operations forces.
Executing one of the largest training exercises in the world requires KBSC to maintain sophisticated, secure simulation architectures, including the computer networks required to distribute simulations to various sites throughout the peninsula and elsewhere. This simulation wide area network consists of many communications circuits that are operated by KBSC that link all simulation centers and other key control nodes. All nodes are connected to the network by at least two circuits, which provide redundancy needed to ensure connectivity even if an occasional circuit stops working.
Two different suites of models were used in Key Resolve 2009. The first was the entity resolution federation of the Army’s Joint Land Component Constructive Training Capability. JLCCTC-ERF is able to model forces at the individual soldier or weapons system level of resolution. It is capable of modeling various forms of warfare. In general, ERF is used for brigade and lower level exercises. The second suite of models employed was the Joint Training Transformation Initiative, which aggregates forces at a lower level of resolution, is used to drive division and higher exercises.
A great deal of information was fed by simulations to command-and-control (C2) systems, which provided realistic displays to the training audience. Data generated by models were used to generate the “common operating picture” at the headquarters of CFC and its components. A significant feature of this linkage to C2 systems is the virtual downlink network over which various unmanned-aircraft ground stations, J-STARS workstations, and other similar systems were stimulated. This enabled trainees to use their workstations for intelligence and targeting just as they would in actual warfare.
To mitigate the training restrictions present in Korea, theater exercises are conducted as multi-echelon events. This presents unique challenges and requires a complex federation of models to portray all forms of warfare and related activities. Theater counterfire and amphibious operations require high levels of resolution in replicating both platforms and logistics to provide appropriate training value to the ground, air, and naval units involved. The greatest challenge is modeling the 55 friendly and 153 opposing divisions and separate brigades that comprise the land forces.
Growing requirements for interoperability between simulations and command-and-control, intelligence and communications systems, the complexity of the exercises, and large training audiences created by the multi-echelon environment mean that any faults in the simulation are instantly noticed. This can create “negative training” in which the audience must change its behavior to accommodate some unrealistic training conditions. For that reason, KBSC requires federation models to remain available and on time 95 percent of the time. Likewise, the networks and connections to C4I systems must remain 99 percent available during an exercise, which is achieved through dynamic routing and system redundancy.
More than 26,000 personnel participated in Key Resolve 2009, half of whom were located off-peninsula. Jude Shea is director of the Korea Battle Simulation Center, U.S. Army Garrison – Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Army Lt. Col. Don Willadsen has just completed a tour of duty in Korea at KBSC and now serves in the Third Army G6 in Atlanta, Ga. David Lashlee, Ph.D., is a certified modeling and simulation professional at the Army Geospatial Center’s Geospatial Acquisition Support Directorate in Alexandria, Va. He was KBSC assistant operations officer for Key Resolve 2009.