Academic journal article Naval War College Review

Global 2000

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

Global 2000

Article excerpt

The focus of the twenty-second Global Game, played at the U.S. Naval War College in the summer of 2000, was to explore ways to implement networkcentric operations.1 Since its inception in 1978, the annual Global Game in Newport, Rhode Island, has been among the preeminent analytic resources of the U.S. national security community. Throughout its history it has represented an opportunity to investigate ideas and concepts that may vary from current strategy or policy wisdom."2 From its inception, the game series has confronted defining issues: the first five years constituted a "test bed or crucible for an emerging maritime strategy," a strategy that was to be the U.S. Navy's fundamental concept of global warfare until the dissolution of the Soviet Union.3

Global 2000, conducted by some six hundred invited players and guests, plus gaming staff, in the College's new McCarty Little Hall from 14 to 25 August 2000, grappled with an issue-network-centric warfare-no less crucial to the Navy's future than was power projection in 1978-83, and it focused upon an "emerging" document likely to shape the twenty-first-century Navy as fundamentally as did the Maritime Strategy the fleet of the 1980s and nineties-the Capstone Concept for the Navy after Next, being prepared by the Navy Warfare Development Command, Newport, Rhode Island. This article will examine the observations that emerged from that exercise, the directions further research should take to assess those observations, and some more general issues that arose concerning the gaming of futuristic operational concepts and combat systems.


"Network-centric operations" are military activities undertaken by forces that are thoroughly interconnected, or netted. Such interconnection permits complete and rapid sharing of information, plans, and assessments. Given a fully functioning network, what one part of the force "knows" about the adversary or battlespace, the entire force knows; what one part "sees," all parts see; and what one part "thinks" is available to the whole force. This is not simply a matter of efficiency and convenience: the anticipated payoffs include greatly accelerated and rapidly adaptable military operations, indeed to such an extent as to render an adversary effectively paralyzed, "locked out" of the battle. Today, however, theater-level analysis of network-centric operations is at a rudimentary stage. Much has been written characterizing these operations, in a variety of aspects, but relatively little empirical data has been produced with which to test these predictions.

Global 2000 was intended to help meet that need. For this purpose it was necessary to permit as full an exploration of network-centric operations as possible. Therefore, the game design deliberately excluded almost entirely the political constraints that in the "real world" would almost certainly not allow network-centric operations to take their own course unchecked. This lack of constraint is clearly unrealistic, but it was a necessary "laboratory condition" if the game was to help players and analysts understand the full array of phenomena associated with network-centric operations. For example, the game-control cell permitted network-centric operations to set their own pace-which was as rapid as possible-even though in a more realistic framework a "national command authority" cell would have slowed the pace of events. Further, in Global 2000 the National Command Authority permitted BLUE-in effect, the United States and its allies-to strike a broader range of targets than likely would have been authorized. Most important, the game controllers permitted BLUE to behave much more aggressively than would have been the case in the "real world." These features of Global 2000 were deliberate and necessary artificialities, and they in no way reflect current U.S. policy or expectations of future intentions.

Global 2000 sought to address (but surely not completely) two primary questions. …

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