Wargaming: The Key to Planning Success

by Lieutenant Colonel Terry W. Beynon, Major Carl Bird, and Major Burt D. Moore, USAR
Logistics input is essential to success during the wargaming process. The authors discuss the logistician's part in wargaming and how it can be applied in operations other than war.

    A division-level logistics planner walks out of a course-of-action wargame session thinking about the many questions that were never considered or answered. The G3 never let him get a word in during the entire meeting. "They don't really care about logistics," the planner muses. "They just give lip service to the commander, but that's it. So what am I going to tell the G4 during the backbrief? He is not going to be happy about this."

If you think this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many logistics planners frequently experience the same thing and are frustrated by the wargaming process. Logistics planners can minimize, or even eliminate, their problems if they take the time to prepare themselves and if they understand how to participate actively in wargaming.

This article will focus on the division-level wargaming component of the military decision-making process (MDMP) and its application to planning operations in Bosnia. However, these techniques can be applied to the planning process at any level of command. Logisticians must be prepared to contribute to the wargaming process and must understand what they should learn from it. Finally, logisticians should be able to communicate their concerns to the maneuver planners, staff, and commanders.

Military Decision-Making Process

The MDMP is an adaptation of the Army's analytical approach to problem solving. The seven-step MDMP process, as described in Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, is a tool that assists the commander and staff in developing logistics estimates and a plan. However, logistics planners must know and understand the process to be truly effective.

Wargaming

Wargaming is a step-by-step process of action, reaction, and counteraction for visualizing the execution of each friendly course-of-action (COA) in relation to an enemy's COA and reactions. In the wargaming process, planners determine how to apply combat multipliers to the COA to improve the possibility of mission success and minimize risks to soldiers. The logistics planner must be prepared to examine the deep, close, and rear operations spectrum in a wargame. The rear area commander in the division is the assistant division commander for support (ADC-S). Therefore, it is critical for the logistics planner to take all aspects of rear operations into consideration.

Although the G3 has primary responsibility for security, terrain management, and tactical movements, the logistics planner must keep the rear area commander's interests in mind. The logistics planner normally is located in the division main command post. On many occasions, the logistics planner is the only representative of the rear area in the planning process. Therefore, it is essential for logistics planners to be prepared to wargame the entire rear operations spectrum. This includes security of the rear area, terrain management, movements, and sustainment operations.

Logistics Planner's Wargaming Process

Step 1: Gather the tools.
References: Operations Logistics Planner (OPLOGPLN) ; G1/G4 Battlebook; "smart" books (planning factors that you have accumulated over a career); density listings; support matrixes; status of supply stocks.
Current personnel and logistics estimates.
Personnel and maintenance attrition rates.
Tonnage and lift capabilities.
Consumption rates.
Time-distance factors.
Doctrinal relationships and distances between logistics activities.
Strength and operational readiness rates.
IPB (intelligence preparation of the battlefield) of the rear area. This includes an enemy template of the rear area.
Current unit locations.
Step 2: List all friendly forces.
Include all organic, assigned, attached, operational control, direct support, general support, and combat service support units. Include priorities of support for these units.
Step 3: List assumptions.
Include higher headquarters assumptions and assumptions from estimate process. Do not assume away problems. An assumption is appropriate if it meets the tests of validity and necessity.
Step 4: List known critical events and decision points.
Critical events are those that directly influence mission accomplishment. Examples are--
Essential, specified, and implied tasks from mission analysis.
Possible movement of the division support area.
Named areas of interest (NAI's) and targeted areas of interest (TAI's) in the rear area.
Brigade and division boundaries.
Air defense coverage.
Step 5: Determine evaluation criteria.
Include those factors the staff uses to measure the relative effectiveness and efficiency of one course of action (COA) relative to other COA's. Criteria may include specific items from the commander's intent or critical events. Criteria also should include what may be important to the assistant division commander for support or division support command commander.
Step 6: Select the wargame method.
Logistics planners have little impact on which method is used. This normally is selected by the G3. However, logistics planners must understand each method.
Step 7: Record and display results.
Many planners do not realize the importance of this step. Recording the wargame results gives the planner a fully analyzed record on which to build a task organization and synchronization matrix and to prepare operations plans. Recording results also provides information for the concept of support, logistics overlay, and logistics synchronization matrix.
Step 8: Wargame the battle and assess the results.

Wargaming is actually an element of COA analysis in the MDMP. But an adequate COA analysis is only as good as the staff input and the resulting output, or COA products. FM 101-5 fully describes the input and output of COA analysis (wargaming).

What does this mean to logisticians? Wargaming synchronizes sustainment with the operation concept. The main input from the logistician is based on a complete and comprehensive mission analysis. The logistics planner must have a combat service support (CSS) plan for the COA before he attends the G3 wargame. The CSS plan should support any COA and should require only small changes during the actual wargame. In most instances, CSS actions need to be placed into motion upon reaching decision points (trigger points) because of the lead time they require.

A senior observer for the Battle Command Training Program frequently has said, "The logistician draws the line that the tactician dares not cross." Unfortunately, logistics planners are rarely prepared to draw that line. The logistics estimate provides the basis for the wargame. Thorough estimates provide the information needed for effective wargaming participation.

Regrettably, planners typically do not have thorough estimates going into the wargame. Estimates should include--

Unit capabilities versus unit requirements and any identified unit shortfalls.

Planning down two levels; i.e., division to battalion.

Personnel and class VII (major end items) replacement flow.

Host and foreign nation support.

Road and rail networks.

Airlift, airdrop, and airfield capabilities and availability.

Water locations for reverse osmosis water purification unit operations.

Nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination sites.

FM 101-5 lists the eight doctrinal wargaming steps. Logistics planners must ensure that each of these steps is considered and used in the wargaming process.

Wargaming is indeed personality driven. Many times the wargame leader does not want the logistics planner to take an integral part in the wargame planning process. Therefore, once the logistician has prepared fully for the wargame, he must be tenacious, diligent, and professionally ruthless.

Logisticians can be most effective by ensuring that all logistics and synchronization issues are met. If the logistician is fully prepared and has the tools available, he can contribute immeasurably to the process. For example, loss estimates are critical to a wargame. Do the G3's losses track with those of the logistics estimate? If not, the logistician must inform the wargamer of the difference, and the estimate should be adjusted accordingly.

Throughout the wargame, planners identify specific tasks that must be performed by certain times to ensure mission accomplishment. The advantages and disadvantages of each COA will become apparent during the wargame. Logistics estimates require continuous updating throughout the MDMP to remain valid and viable.

Post Wargame Products

Several products result from the wargame process. The logistician should be aware of these products to maximize his effectiveness in supporting the maneuver commander. The checklist will assist logisticians in preparing post wargame products.

Logistician's Checklist For Preparing Post Wargame Products
Concept of support. How the division is going to weight the main effort logistically. The logistics culmination point. Defining the line that maneuver commanders dare not cross.
Other logistics units in the area of responsibility, which may include multinational units.
Logistics overlay. Placement of logistics units and corps plugs. Time and distance factors influence the placement of units to provide support.
Logistics synchronization matrix. This is in concert with battle duration of each event as well as the duration of the entire operation.
Logistics task organization.
Identification of tasks for subordinate units.
Refined loss estimates.
Sufficiency of main supply routes and space.
Throughput capability
Movement times and table.
Movement program requirements.
External support requirements.
Priorities of support. This is not just 1st, 2d, and 3d brigades, but to what strength level and by what timeframe.
Priorities of maintenance and movement.
Reconstitution requirements for the next phase of the operation.
Obstacle and barrier plans. Friendly FASCAM (family of scatterable mines) usage and affected areas. (You may have to traffic this same area later.)
Barrier material requirements.
Required supply rate development factors. What quantities and types of ammunition were fired?
Were there any preparatory fires? Pre-positioning of ammunition may be in order.
Casualty evacuation plan.
Mortuary affairs plan.
Enemy prisoner of war and civilian refugee requirements.
Deception plan and impact on logistics.
Force protection plan for the rear area.
Rear area fires and control.
Reconnaissance and security plans.
Named areas of interest for the rear area.
Rear area air defense plans.
Bypass criteria and impact on rear area.
Critical protection points and high-value targets in the rear.
Decision points.

G4 Backbrief

After completing the analysis and post wargame products, the logistician is prepared to demonstrate how the support concept will meet the commander's intent. But the logistician's job is not yet complete.

Logisticians should conduct parallel planning with subordinate and higher headquarters' planners. Often the division support command (DISCOM) commander is the last one to see the plan. This is a recipe for failure. It is also a good indication that the DISCOM planners have not been involved in the planning process. The G4 planner cannot do the planning alone. The DISCOM planners must be involved from the start of the MDMP and must backbrief the DISCOM commander as appropriate.

Bosnia: A Practical Application

The wargaming process is not limited to combat operations. Logistics planners engaged in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia have learned the need to synchronize G3 operational plans with the support concept on a daily basis.

The 1st Cavalry Division presently is ensuring compliance with the Dayton Peace Accords. Part of that agreement calls for a binding arbitration decision on which of the three former warring factions would control the city of Brcko. The decision was announced recently that the city would be a neutral district not controlled by any one faction. The 1st Cavalry Division is responsible for ensuring that this decision is implemented. To do so, the division required plans to support contingency operations and wargaming of the logistics requirements for the operation.

The typical combat operations wargame process takes into consideration the battlefield operating systems, including the deep, close, and rear area operational requirements. But in operations other than war, especially in the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, logisticians also must consider other aspects of the synchronization matrix. One example would be information operations (IO), which are key players in ensuring that factual information is disseminated. Thus, instead of fire support, the logistician takes IO operations in a peacekeeping environment into consideration. High-value targets must be identified using a high-value target list and attack matrix.

Radio Mir, an Army-operated radio station near Brcko, played a key role in the successful Brcko IO campaign. However, the station required significant equipment upgrades before it was able to accomplish its intended mission of providing the local populace with accurate information. The G4 was responsible for ensuring that the required equipment got to the right location at the right time to support the IO operation. Logisticians played a key role in making that happen.

Planning considerations for supporting the arbitration decision included ordering food, water, and fuel to increase base camp stockage. The need to pre-position ammunition and rig sling loads also was identified during the wargaming process. Likewise, the development of the CSS synchronization matrix, the logistics estimate, an analysis of assets required versus what was actually on hand, routes and alternate routes, and movement options if roads were blocked was facilitated by properly preparing for the wargaming process.

Another consideration in peacekeeping operations is the involvement of the staff judge advocate, who plays an important role in deciding what actions are in accordance with the General Framework for Peace Agreement that governs the conduct of military operations in Bosnia. The planner must consult with the staff judge advocate so that any legal issues affecting support to other nations are addressed early in the wargame process.

Logisticians also must take into account current missions when planning the concept of support for future missions. At the time of the Brcko decision, the 1st Cavalry Division was in the middle of a relief-in-place operation between its 1st and 2d Brigades. The crucial issue facing logisticians was whether or not there would be enough supplies and materials to support the Brcko mission as well as the relief-in-place operation. By understanding how the flow of forces worked and how forces were deploying and redeploying during the Brcko decision time period, the 1st Cavalry logisticians were able to focus their efforts on determining realistic support capabilities for both missions.

Ultimately, the concept of support addressed additional housing, the transportation and movement of key civilians if the situation became unstable, food, water, fuel, alternate route identification, cots, sleeping bags, and sanitation facilities. Fortunately, the G3 planners in the 1st Cavalry Division do listen to what their logisticians have to say. They consider logisticians to be an integral part of the planning process. The staff works hand-in-hand to ensure that logistics requirements are synchronized to every operation.

Having the proper tools for wargaming makes the process less tedious. Logistics planners can play an integral role in the success of effective operation plans by using the methods and tools described in this article. Be prepared and get the answers your boss deserves and the maneuver commander requires to accomplish their missions. ALOG

Lieutenant Colonel Terry W. Beynon is the G4 for the 1st Cavalry Division and Multinational Division (North) in Bosnia. He has a B.S. degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State University and an M.S. degree in personnel management and administration from Central Michigan University.

Major Carl Bird is the G4 Planner for the 1st Cavalry Division and Multinational Division (North). He has a B.S. degree in business administration from Longwood College, Virginia, a master's degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology, and a master's degree in military arts and sciences from the School of Advanced Military Studies.

Major Burt D. Moore, USAR, is the Division Support Operations Officer for the 1st Cavalry Division and Multinational Division (North). He has a B.A. degree in criminal justice from the University of South Florida, a juris doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in Florida, a master's degree in public administration from Century University in New Mexico, and a master's degree in business administration from California Coast University.