Unified Pacific offers critical insights into the contribution of the theater army to common concepts of warfare in the Indo-Pacific | article

FORT SHAFTER, HAWAII – Gen. Charles Flynn, U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General, received Admiral John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and other senior Department of Defense and State Department officials for the capstone of the Unified Pacific Wargame Series event at Fort Shafter, dated May 9-13.

The Unified Pacific Wargame Series is a series of rigorous, strategic and operational computer-based wargames designed to provide critical insight into the theatrical army’s contribution to common concepts of warfare in the Indo-Pacific.

General James C. McConville, US Army Chief of Staff, sponsored Unified Pacific and attended virtually. McConville stressed the importance of the event. “The Army plays a critical role in the Indo-Pacific region and we will continue to deploy our strength as a credible fighting force and as a member of the combined force alongside strong allies and partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Unified Pacific Series was developed from January through May to help the Army, Indo-Pacific Command and Department of Defense refine resource and posture discussions and decisions.

Flynn highlighted the unique aspects and value of the lessons learned during the event. “This will be invaluable to the Joint Force,” Flynn said. “Wargaming is a way to test your plans. It’s a way to look at new concepts. It’s a way to identify skill gaps. From the concepts, the skills, and the gaps you identify, you can find ideas and ways to create advantages for warfare.”

Creating the complex, robust learning environment required for Unified Pacific, with depth and realism across the spectrum of strategic to tactical problems, has required tremendous effort from a team of experts. “The goal was to provide senior executives with an experiential learning environment to identify and better understand strategic and operational issues,” said Lt. Col. Tim Doyle, Lead Planner of the Unified Pacific Wargame Series.

“We also brought in people from the inter-agency agency, the State Department and the Department of Defense,” Flynn said. “Call the Center for Army Analysis because they have a very unique wargaming skill in this organization. You have truly created a very rich learning event for us here at Unified Pacific.”

Among the many high-ranking participants was the commanding general of the US Army’s First Corps at Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord Washington, Lt. Gen. Xavier T. Brunson, who noted that Unified Pacific was a great exercise for the First Corps. “The theater commander is counting on us to be the headquarters of operational warfare in the Indo-Pacific,” Brunson said. “To do that, it’s very important to understand the lessons learned and how these HQs will fight and win in the prevailing conflict.”

“For us, the value is in understanding a little more about common and cross-domain condition settings,” Brunson said. “It’s about thinking differently about our posture. It’s how we help the theater army gain a positional advantage in the Indo-Pacific.”

Flynn went on to describe how the unique design of Unified Pacific’s capstone event helped achieve overall goals. “One of the things about this wargame that I thought was unique was that in the third event we just completed, there were two parallel efforts. One effort was actual wargaming itself, which featured units, formations, and abilities across all domains running operations. They basically did the action, reaction, counter-action and then had a series of outcomes. This standard typical wargaming effort was played out in one track. The second parallel to this was that we had these seminars for senior executives and academics to talk about things like interoperability, joint and combined interoperability, to talk about operational endurance and the challenges with operational endurance, and to talk about things like integrated deterrence and common to speak election campaign. I think the idea of

Having these two parallel tracks where there was a combat element of wargame and a mind element of wargame was really invaluable. It was very innovative and a creative way of building the wargame. I think the combination of insights from both the thinking part and the fighting part will be really rich in the final analysis.”

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