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Joint Training Image CollageCombined Joint Task Force Exercise 04-2 (CJTFEX 04-2) kicks off
Over the next two weeks, U.S. and multinational forces face realistic and dynamic exercise scenarios that closely replicate operational challenges military forces routinely encounter around the world.

By Jennifer Colaizzi
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(NORFOLK, Va. -- June 12, 2004) - Almost thirty thousand U.S., British, and other coalition forces kick-off a major live, virtual, and constructive (L-V-C) exercise today in Hampton Roads and along the U.S. Eastern seaboard that is intended to prepare troops for multinational interoperability and to certify the USS John F. Kennedy carrier strike group (CSG) for deployment.

Combined Joint Task Force Exercise 04-2 (CJTFEX 04-2), a U.S. Joint Forces Command directed and sponsored event, runs through June 21, and executes DoD's Joint National Training Capability (JNTC) operability priority, ensuring an initial operational capability by October 2004.

According to Marine Corps Lt. Col. Ben Sandlin, who was the exercise planner and project officer for 16 months, JNTC represents an enhanced way to train joint forces based on an L-V-C environment which uses manned simulators and computer models and blends existing operational and strategic exercise facets with live forces.

Training transformation efforts like JNTC enable the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines to train together even if they are not physically located in the same area. An Air Force pilot can target a blip on the screen - which can be someone sitting in a simulator in another part of the country. Training and targeting can be based on radar blips rather than live targets.

In the past, during joint exercises, large numbers of forces needed to be moved at great expense. The thing, according to a USJFCOM spokesman, that makes L-V-C remarkable is that forces, especially since so many troops are forward deployed, do not have to co-locate to interact.

Introducing JNTC into the exercise provides an increased ability for enemy forces to oppose blue (friendly) forces through the addition of more aircraft, decoys, and targets.

During a recent interview, CJTFEX 04-2 event planner William Johnson said that based on a global network, the idea is to eventually have an exercise with the capacity to integrate players from around the world. For example, people training in Korea could potentially be tied into a network that will include forces on the East Coast of the U.S. and in Europe.

"The idea is to eventually have a melding of live, virtual, and constructive forces on the battleground so that a player can not tell the difference between one and the other," said Johnson.

Concept developers are working toward this goal, but throughout the duration of CJTFEX 04-2, players in simulators could aim and shoot at simulated targets, but live forces would not be targeting simulated opposition forces.

"It's difficult for a live airplane to shoot at a simulated plane or ground target because there is no target to see visually and no immediate feedback. The pilot can't say 'we saw the target blow-up,'" said Johnson.

USJFCOM planners say CJTFEX 04-2 will focus on a couple of efforts to include:

• providing realistic combat training
• offering an adaptive and credible opposing force
• establishing common ground truth
• giving high quality feedback

All of these efforts play an important role in achieving forward deployed combatant commander requirements.

"Achieving and maintaining more agile, responsive and connected forces means we must train efficiently and effectively. We're challenging all assumption, and this advanced joint training does exactly that," said Vice Admiral Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Second Fleet and Striking Fleet Atlantic, and the joint task force commander for CJTFEX 04-2.

As a result of this enhanced training environment, participants will have a global, network-centric capability that strengthens military transformation efforts to promote warfighter effectiveness.

Some exercise objectives include: identifying transformation capability opportunities; validating and updating joint doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP); integrating the Joint Combat Identification Evaluation Team (JCIET) for the first time; assessing force ability to manage, exchange, and use digital information to support joint and combined fire support; and overall training for the joint warfighter.

The exercise, according to planners, serves as a major platform for testing major friendly fire prevention, to include joint and coalition forces.

"We will be evaluating systems for assessing combat identification," said Johnson, who stressed the importance of not only knowing U.S. friendly forces, but recognizing coalition friendlies as well.

Johnson said that as the 21st century progresses with increased coalition warfighting, like in Iraq and Afghanistan, warfighters need to be considering "who's friendly and who's not."

Coalition forces from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Denmark, Peru, the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and Norway, as well as U.S. troops returning from deployment and reserve units will be participating in the exercise.

"This exercise provides all participants with invaluable experience in joint and coalition operation, and I'm especially impressed with the innovation and technical acumen that is enabling this JNTC event," said Roughead.