Simulated Ship Attack By Rumsfeld Sunk By Smart Low-Tech U.S. Marine General
THE PENTAGON couldn't very well allow Saddam Hussein to win--even if it was just a war game. So military officials re-floated the better part of the U.S. Navy, sunk in a simulated surprise attack--and essentially ordered the enemy to lose..The exercises were supposed to test experimental new tactics and doctrines championed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of his plan for "military transformation." But former U.S. Marine General Van Riper said that Rumsfeld's program amounted to a whole lot of hot air.
Pentagon orders the enemy to lose
August 30, 2002 | Page 2
THE PENTAGON couldn't very well allow Saddam Hussein to win--even if it was just a war game. So military officials re-floated the better part of the U.S. Navy, sunk in a simulated surprise attack--and essentially ordered the enemy to lose.
Paul Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps general who had commanded the enemy forces, blew the whistle on the rigged exercises, held in early August. The three-week-long war game--the biggest in Pentagon history, with a price tag of $250 million--was "almost entirely scripted to ensure a [U.S.] win," Van Riper told the Army Times.
Van Riper protested by quitting as head of the simulated armed forces of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, which happened to bear a strong resemblance to Iraq. "We were directed... to move air defenses so that the Army and Marine units could successfully land," Van Riper said. "We were simply directed to turn them off or move them... So it was scripted to be whatever the control group wanted it to be."
The Army Times concluded that, as commander of a low-tech army, Van Riper appeared to have repeatedly outwitted U.S. forces--for example, sending out orders with motorcycle couriers to evade sophisticated electronic eavesdropping equipment.
"When the U.S. fleet sailed into the Gulf, [Van Riper] instructed his small boats and planes to move around in apparently aimless circles--before launching a surprise attack which sank a substantial part of the U.S. Navy," Britain's Guardian newspaper reported. "The war game had to be stopped and the American ships 'refloated' so that U.S. forces stood a chance."
The exercises were supposed to test experimental new tactics and doctrines championed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of his plan for "military transformation." But Van Riper said that Rumsfeld's program amounted to a whole lot of hot air.
Ex-General: War Game Rigged
Saturday, August 17, 2002; Page A06
A retired general who commanded "enemy" forces in a recently concluded $250 million U.S. war game says the exercise was rigged so that it appeared to validate new war-fighting concepts it was supposed to test.
Paul Van Riper, who headed the Marine Corps Combat Development Command when he retired in 1997 as a three-star general, said he became so frustrated with undue constraints on his command of "enemy" forces that he quit the role midway through Millennium Challenge 2002, which ended Aug. 15.
His complaints were reported yesterday by the Army Times, a private newspaper that covers Army issues. The Times obtained a copy of an e-mail Van Riper sent to colleagues explaining why he had quit.
"It was in actuality an exercise that was almost entirely scripted to ensure a Blue [friendly forces] 'win,' " he wrote. Van Riper was in command of the Red force, meant to simulate the enemy.
Navy Capt. John Carman, chief spokesman at Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, which sponsored the war game, said there is no record of Van Riper having quit his role as "enemy" commander. He said the retired general is "held in high regard" and is entitled to his opinions.
"We don't agree with his conclusions," Carman said.
Van Riper, who participated as a contract employee, said he was concerned that the military would implement new war-fighting concepts on the basis of what he considers to be false conclusions from the three-week exercise.
Carman said that the results of the war game were being evaluated and that some concepts will require further experimentation.
Millennium Challenge 2002 involved a wide range of U.S. military commands across the country linked by computer networks to simulated troops, air and sea units with 13,500 military personnel fighting a classified war scenario.
Van Riper said exercise officials denied him the opportunity to use his own tactics and ideas against the Blue forces. He added that on several occasions the Red forces were directed not to use certain weapons against Blue.
Robert Oakley, a retired ambassador who played the role of civilian leader of the Red force, told the Times that Van Riper was outthinking the Blue force. He said, for example, that in the computer simulations, Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders, negating the Blue forces' high-tech eavesdropping capabilities. When the Blue naval forces sailed into the Persian Gulf early in the experiment, Van Riper's forces surrounded the ships with small boats and planes.
Much of the Blue force's ships ended up at the bottom of the ocean. Oakley said Joint Forces Command officials had to stop the exercise and "refloat" the fleet in order to continue.
Vice Adm. Marty Mayer, deputy commander of Joint Forces Command, defended the exercise.
"I want to disabuse anybody of any notion that somehow the books were cooked," Mayer told the Times. But he said "certain things are scripted" in any large war game. "You have to execute in a certain way or you'll never be able to bring it all together," he said.
Mayer said that in some parts of the exercise Van Riper was constrained "in order to facilitate the conduct of the experiment."
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