USJFCOM: Joint Warfighting Center History
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Joint Warfighting Center History

Origins of Joint Warfighting
By the end of World War II, the American military realized that interoperability of force capabilities was vital to success. However, formal “joint” (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard) doctrine that integrated communications, procurement programs, tactics and training was overlooked during the next three decades of sporadic conflict. War fighting doctrine continued to be published by the individual services.

The Need for Joint Doctrine & Joint Training
In 1983, forces in Operation Urgent Fury successfully rescued American medical students, removed the communist-led government and restored the legitimate governor in Grenada.

Despite general operational success, a Congressional investigation revealed the services were hindered by inability to integrate during the operation, suggesting a need for joint doctrine. The Senate Armed Services Committee recommended the establishment of a joint warfighting center to develop joint doctrine, tactics and procedures and to exercise joint operations through extensive simulation. Within 18 months, sweeping changes profoundly affected the way the Armed Forces conducted joint operations.

In April 1986, the Joint Warfare Center (JWC) was commissioned as part of the United States Readiness Command at MacDill AFB, Fla. The mission of the JWC was to support the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all combatant commanders’ joint exercises and training programs with computer simulations.

Establishing Joint Planning & Training
In October 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols National Security Act centralized operational authority of the armed forces through the chairman, as opposed to the service chiefs. This streamlined command authority, moving it from the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to combatant commanders. This encouraged joint assignments for officers; thereby creating a professional cadre that understood the requirements for joint operations.

In January 1987, the first Joint Staff director for operational plans and interoperability (J7) was appointed. The Joint Staff’s J7 assumed responsibility for war plans of all unified commands and provided for improved interoperability among the services. This new directorate created a means to analyze joint mission-essential tasks, which became the basis for the yearly joint exercise programs, and implemented a formal joint doctrine program.

In September 1987, the Joint Warfare Center (JWC) relocated to Hurlburt Field, Fla., under the operational control of the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) with U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) overseeing all JWC activities.

Creating the Joint Warfighting Center
The 1990-1991 Gulf War in Southwest Asia provided valuable lessons learned towards formulating this new joint doctrine. A separate agency, distinct from service control, was required. Thus ensuring joint analysis of lessons learned, with the goal of applying this information towards training of U.S. forces in joint operations.

Additionally, a command needed to ensure integration of this joint training. In 1991, JWC became fully integrated into the Joint Staff by the signing of a charter. The charter established the JWC as a separate agency under the supervision of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reporting directly to the Joint Staff J-7.

In early 1993, Congress approved the fiscal year 1993 authorization bill that allowed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to establish the Joint Warfighting Center, combining the old JWC at Hurlburt Field, Fla., with the Joint Doctrine Center at the Norfolk Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved Fort Monroe, Va., as the new home for the Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC).

JWFC became operational on October 1, 1994, as the centerpiece for joint doctrine, lessons learned, improvements in computer war gaming using modeling and simulations (M&S), and theater commander training.

Creating a Joint Vision
In October 1993, the secretary of defense designated the U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM) in Norfolk, Va., as the joint force provider, trainer, and integrator of the vast majority of continental U.S. (CONUS) based general-purpose forces. USACOM’s director for joint training (J7) was responsible for coordinating the training of these forces.

During the same period while the JWFC and USACOM were developing their roles and responsibilities, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff developed a roadmap for the improvement of joint operations. “Joint Vision 2010” was developed as part of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s desire to assist the president and secretary of defense in providing for the strategic direction of the armed forces.

The vision was designed to provide a common direction to harmonize service views, guide force development efforts and advance joint warfighting capability as intended by the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act. Joint Vision 2010 represented a conceptual template for how the Department of Defense would channel the vitality of its members and leverage technological opportunities to achieve new levels of effectiveness in joint warfighting.

Over the next several years, there was dramatic development in the way exercises were conducted to support the continued development of joint warfighting. In April 1994, USACOM sponsored exercise Agile Provider, which tested these emerging concepts in one of the largest field events held on the U.S. East Coast. At the same time, USACOM combined U.S. Navy and Marine Corps readiness exercises to form a “joint” package for biannual deployments to the Mediterranean area of operations. Joint Task Force Exercise 95 (JTFEX 95) was the first iteration of this exercise series, which continues to this day.

JTFEX 95 was not conducted the way planners initially intended, since the bulk of the Joint Task Force (JTF) staff were diverted to form the cadre for JTF 180 during Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, September-October 1994. The success of that operation indicated that the Joint Staff, JWFC, and USACOM were on track towards providing a quality joint warfighting program.

While 1994 provided an important benchmark in joint training development, the expense of large field training programs indicated a need for a more inexpensive solution to train joint staffs in JTF operations.

Enhancing Training with Modeling & Simulation
Computer war gaming had been used successfully since the early 1980s by the Army and provided potential cost-savings strategy for training joint staffs. To that end, USACOM established the Joint Training, Analysis, and Simulations Center (JTASC) in Suffolk, Va.

JTASC would provide the infrastructure and support for high-level computer war gaming using state of the art modeling and simulation (M&S) equipment.

The USACOM J7 utilized this facility to develop the Unified Endeavor series of exercises. Designed to train a JTF commander, Unified Endeavor only required the JTF staff and representatives from each of the services. Actual forces in the field were simulated.

The first Unified Endeavor, a “joint” activity of the JWFC and the JTASC, was held in 1995, and established a program for JTF commander training, which continues to this day. The cost savings are astronomical. Previous exercises, similar to Unified Endeavor, cost in excess of $37 million. Unified Endeavor 95 cost $3.4 million.

By 1996, USACOM J7 had moved to JTASC, and was joined by Joint C4ISR Battle Center (JBC), a Joint Staff analysis center that identifies improvements in joint interoperability. From 1996 to 1998, the Coherent Defense exercise series targeted component staff training. This series specifically focused on theater missile defense in an effort to address interoperability issues as a step towards joint capability.

Based on the success of USACOM joint training programs, the Joint Staff expanded the roles and responsibilities of that command to include control of the JWFC. In October 1998, control of both JWFC and JBC were transferred from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to USACOM.

The JWFC commander would also serve as the USACOM J7. Most elements of the Fort Monroe-based JWFC moved to USACOM J7 at JTASC.

Shaping Training
The new JWFC now supported theater commander training and enhanced JTF commander training, joint interoperability training, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) training as part of its overall curriculum.

In October 1999, the changing roles and missions of USACOM were acknowledged by a change to the command’s name.

The new name, U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), accurately captured the command's role to lead the transformation of the U.S. armed forces and to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. The JWFC provides both the faculty and the campus to meet these objectives.

Transforming Training & Transforming the Forces
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and emergence of the global war on terrorism, transforming the military was put on a fast track. One important change was the creation of the office of force transformation within the department of defense, and the creation of new policies to guide critical decisions.

In 2002, USJFCOM was directed through the Unified Command Plan 2002 to “…focus on its exceedingly important mission to help transform our military, including experimentation; innovation; improving interoperability; reviewing, validating and writing joint doctrine; preparing battle-ready joint forces and coordinating joint training simulations and modeling.”

USJFCOM responded to the call for action through reinforcing the rigor of future concept development and experimentation, as well as enhancing joint training efforts. This new emphasis on transforming training is designed to sharpen warfighting capability development. It also is designed, through the transformation of training, to broaden and deepen the joint training environment.

The heart of this training transformation is the joint national training capability, an initiative being developed and implemented through USJFCOM’s JWFC. This enhanced training capability is one of three focal points in the secretary of defense’s Training Transformation Plan. It covers the full spectrum of warfighter decision-making – from the strategic and operational to tactical levels of war – and helps the Department of Defense identify and correct potential gaps and seams before real military operations commence.

This enhanced training environment creates joint warfighting conditions through a collection of networked training sites linked to real-world command and control systems. It involves a mix of live, virtual and constructive tools to provide the most realistic joint mission experience possible in a training situation.

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