|Is it possible that our military is being ill served by some of it leadership? I just got through reading an article in the Air Force Times (August 26, 2002 edition, page 30, by “Times” writer Sean D. Naylor) titled “WAR-GAME RESULTS WERE RIGGED, OPPOSING FORCE COMMANDER SAYS”.
Evidently, the OPFOR commander (a contractor for TRW), retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general Paul Van Ripper, got so fed up with HOW the Millennium Challenge 02 (MC02), a $250 million dollar war-game (spent over the last two years to prep the three week exercise) which ended 15 August, 2002, was “ordered” to be played, he quit as the OPFOR commander half-way through the exercise.
Army general William “Buck” Kernan, head of the Joint Forces Command (the sponsoring, organizing, and directing command) said “MC02”, with over 13,500 participants conducting the war-game from 17 simulation sites as well as nine live force location, was nothing less than “the key to military transformation”.
According to this Air Force Times article, General Kernan said the central scenario was to have the Blue Force (the good guys, i.e.: the US forces) fight a “committed and unrestrained opposing force (the bad guys, OPFOR or Red Force)”. He said, “This is free play, the OPFOR has the opportunity to win here.”
Again, according to this article, the former OPFOR commander, Van Riper, told an interviewer from the Air Force Times, “Not so. Instead of a free-play, two-sided game as the Joint Forces commander advertised it was going to be, it simply became a scripted exercise. They had a predetermined end, and they scripted the exercise to that end.”
According the article, Van Riper (a 1997 three star retiree and former head of the USMC Marine Corps Combat Development Command) “is a frequent player in military war-games.” He is regarded as a specialist in OPFOR. The article states, “He said the constraints placed on the opposing force in Millennium Challenge were the most restrictive he has ever experienced in an ostensibly free-play experiment.”
Evidently, Van Riper quit when he ordered one of his senior subordinate OPFOR commanders (a retired US Army colonel and Joint Task Force (JTF) civilian employee) to direct the forces under the subordinate’s command to conduct certain actions, only to have MC02’s exercise director (the subordinate’s immediate supervisor in the JTF), an Air Force brigadier general, countermand Van Riper’s orders.