Here’s the scenario they used: There’s been a chemical attack inside the United States and the terrorists responsible for the deadly attack are from a nuclear-armed landlocked nation surrounded by some less-than-supportive neighbors.
The U.S. military has strong ties with one of the enemy’s bordering neighbors, who also happens to have a port, and through a “coalition of willing” and a U.N. Security Council vote approving military action, others bordering nations offer access as well. The Marines swoop in, followed by several divisions of a now smaller Army. Navy ships steam toward the region.
The U.S. is still facing budget constraints in 2030 and the Army and is leaner, “doing more with less,” but there have been investments in new innovations on the battlefield in the Army’s “best-case” scenario. There are
* ground combat vehicles that weigh just 30 tons
* helicopters that can fly faster and longer
* extended-range missiles and ammunition with advanced sensors
* hybrid-powered rechargeable equipment and
* a massive vertical lift aircraft capable of moving an entire battalion.
It takes the Army just five days to get in. Their mission is to secure and stabilize the enemy’s cache of chemical weapons. There’s plenty of combat, but within 24 days, there’s a cease-fire and the WMDs are secured, yet the enemy regime remained in power. (The war game ended there and did not address whether U.S. soldiers stayed to hold their gains or do any post-conflict nation-building operations or simply turned around and went home.) There were major shortages of fuel, however, and being lighter and more maneuverable paid off at first, but the Army’s tail quickly became difficult to build and sustain.
That was one scenario.
But knowing that most of these imagined and costly new weapons and vehicles are unlikely to debut on the battlefield in the next years, the Army simultaneously war gamed a second 2030 scenario without their wish list. The results were markedly different. This time, the Army took four weeks to enter the imaginary country, and after 85 days of combat, the WMDs were lost.
What’s interesting to note is that the enemy the Army sees itself fighting at all. Despite the Pentagon’s much-touted pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, the Army’s future adversary resembles Syria and Pakistan
more than China or North Korea.
The Army wants to move faster at setting up secure communications without all the bulky equipment that comes with it. One official said he wants to find a way to harness private-sector capabilities with military-grade security, a future where a soldier can talk to his commanders with just an iPhone
Countries with Nuclear Weapons Now
The five nuclear-weapon states under the NPT
Non-NPT nuclear powers
Undeclared nuclear powers
Countries with NATO sharing of nuclear weapons
Background list of landlocked countries
Central African Republic