Arlington, VA -- Today, Naval ships and forces are likely the first on-the-scene in response to crises overseas. But, getting U.S. ships quickly to where they're needed in a crisis around the world is relatively easy compared to getting large amount of equipment, supplies, and personnel to these operating areas once those ships are in place. This past summer, the Navy held an intense 2-day "wargame" to look at
— how naval forces around the world might be supplied at a moment's notice.The wargame used the concept of the evolving "sea-bases" – no footprint onshore but platform bases on the open seas – which will give the Navy unimpeded maneuver space, reduced vulnerability and increased agility and speed. Sea basing is a concept that allows the U.S. to circumvent access limitations and diplomatic entanglements (such as those posed when Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to invade from its soil) and also precludes the necessity of a buildup of large logistical establishments ashore. The
Littoral Combat Power Projection Future Naval Capabilities (FNC)* Expeditionary Logistics (ExLog) Wargame
took place in July 2003. Over 100 participants studied adequate distribution and lift capability at future sea bases. They intensely scrutinized coordination and information management. They thoroughly examined logistics capability gaps for those forces engaged in expeditionary operations. They researched how distribution operations in rough seas – where conditions might reach sea state five (waves up to 13 feet) – might take place. They looked at enabling faster and more efficient handling of materials, lifting heavier loads than are currently allowed by both doctrine and equipment, and providing better tactical information exchange.The wargame involved nearly 100 participants representing key elements of the Navy Research, Development, and Acquisition community including the Office of Naval Research, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Naval Research Laboratory, and systems commands, warfare centers, and industry. "This was the sixth in a series of gaming simulations that address the challenge of transferring technology from the labs, and the Science and Technology and Industrial communities to the acquisition community and the Fleet," says Tom Tesch, ONR Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) Manager of the Littoral Combat Power Projection initiative. "The game allowed members of the wargame's Integrated Product Team and their subordinate Technical Working Groups to exercise planning and transition processes as they interacted with stakeholders from other Navy communities and representatives of industry. It aimed at developing a strategy framework for the transition of selected ship-to-ship transfer technologies into future acquisition programs."One feature of the game was a mock broad agency announcement (BAA) response and assessment phase, where industry teams were required to respond to a deliberately broad BAA for two challenge area technologies: predictive relative motion sensing, and tracking and motion compensation. The working groups assessed responses and then incorporated the proposed technology solutions into their transition strategies. Key findings were the significant gap between the necessary systems level demonstrations for adequate acquisition risk reduction, and the high risk component technology work often offered by the scientific community. The forum also provided an opportunity to identify cultural and budgeting practice changes which may be necessary to move future doctrine forward.From a programmatic perspective, potential major acquisition program beneficiaries of Sea Basing and the At-sea transfer technology include the Maritime Preposition Force Seabase (Future) or MPF (F), the replacement fleet oil tanker or T-AOE(X), the Combat Logistics Force (CLF), the next-generation aircraft carrier (CVN21), the next-generation destroyer (DD(X)), the littoral combatant ship (LCS), and the Navy's high-speed vessel (HSV) programs."The ExLog Wargame was an important opportunity for the acquisition, scientific, engineering, and operational communities to discover at-sea transfer challenge capabilities, technologies, concepts and issues. Bringing recognized experts together provides an environment where real innovation is possible, timelines can be shortened, and the complex programmatics of seabasing can be discussed." says ONR's Lynn Torres, Science and Technology Lead on the Expeditionary Logistics Integrated Process Team.*In 1999 the Department of the Navy adopted a new process for concentrating its scientific and technological resources to achieve specific Future Naval Capabilities (FNCs). In May 2001, the Board approved twelve FNCs to include the Littoral Combat & Power Projection FNC—with a portion of its charter devoted to enhancement of capabilities in Expeditionary Logistics.