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NEWS | Feb. 1, 2023

Unified Pacific Intel Wargame “Pacific Winds” offers key insights to deter potential adversaries and address global challenges

By Lt. Col. Craig Childs

U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Gen. Charles A. Flynn hosted senior leaders from across the Department of Defense and several allied nations as part of the Unified Pacific Wargame Series intelligence-focused event “Pacific Winds” held at Schofield Barracks January 23 to 27.
The Unified Pacific Wargame Series is a series of rigorous, strategic and operational, computer-aided wargames designed to provide critical insights into the Theater Army’s contribution to joint warfighting concepts in the Indo-Pacific and support a DOD-wide campaign of learning. It builds upon lessons learned from previous wargames and provides crucial insights to improve the joint force’s ability to defend the U.S. homeland and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Pacific Winds was the first event this year in the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army-sponsored Unified Pacific Wargame Series,” said U.S. Army Pacific Deputy Commanding General Lt. Gen. James Jarrard, and wargame director. “It focused on the period leading up to conflict by testing and evaluating theater intelligence operations and explored the challenges, opportunities, activities and assumptions related to the detection of an adversary’s preparations for conflict.”
More than 175 intelligence experts, senior leaders and operators from five nations and more than 40 defense and intelligence organizations participated in Pacific Winds, establishing it as one of the most comprehensive intelligence wargames conducted.
“This wargame pulled together a robust team from across the Department of Defense and intelligence community, Indo-Pacific joint service components, allied nations, the total Army enterprise and academia.” said Jarrard. “Convening such a diverse team of experts provided the comprehensiveness and rigor needed to really look at this problem set from varying perspectives and identify the critical insights to help us better achieve integrated deterrence.”
In keeping with the Unified Pacific Wargame Series format, Pacific Winds was comprised of two distinct, but connected tracks, a senior leader discussion forum and an action-officer level, computer-aided wargame. The senior leader portion allowed for strategic level discussions and conclusions based on the outcomes of the action-officer level wargame.
Led by Flynn, and facilitated by the Center for Army Analysis, 17 generals, flag officers and members of the senior executive service from across the DOD,  joint service components, total Army enterprise and allied nations participated in the senior leader portion of Pacific Winds.
During her recent trip to the Indo-Pacific, Secretary of the U.S. Army, the Honorable Christine Wormuth, observed Pacific Winds and received updates from the players on site.
Admiral John Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, received a briefing January 27 on the initial results and insights from the wargame.
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Samuel Paparo, who also attended the Pacific Winds outbrief, lauded the value of the event.
"For my staff and I, this was an invaluable wargame to help us and the rest of the joint force, along with our allies, collectively identify and better understand strategic and operational problems, address capability gaps and leverage opportunities in support of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. The teamwork of USARPAC to integrate our team into the wargame is inspiring," said Paparo.
The Army’s Senior Intelligence Officer, Lt. Gen. Laura Potter, who attended the senior leader seminar portion of Pacific Winds, said, “The Unified Pacific Wargame Series is incredibly important in establishing a shared understanding across the joint, interagency, and allied intelligence community of the challenges we face in the Indo-Pacific, as well as the opportunities we have, and the actions we must take to address them.”
“This event will pay huge dividends in the future,” said Potter. “Lessons learned from this wargame, and others like it, will inform how our Army Intelligence and Security Enterprise invests in its force structure, modernization of capabilities, and reform of its intelligence processes and training. Integral to this campaign of learning is further investment in increasing our interoperability and collaboration with our regional allies and partners as we posture the intelligence warfighing function in support of all operations.”
A critical component to the event’s success was the inclusion of intelligence experts and senior leaders from U.S. allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“From my perspective, this event was incredibly important in establishing a shared understanding of the challenges we face in the Indo-Pacific and in further enhancing the already strong relationships and interoperability among the intelligence community of our closest allies,” said the Commanding Officer of the British Army’s Land Intelligence Fusion Center, who attended the event but could not be named as a matter of organizational policy.
Designed to help the Army, Indo-Pacific Command and DOD refine resourcing and posture discussions and decisions, the innaugral Unified Pacific Wargame Series ran from January through May 2022 and included participation from hundreds of people from across the U.S. defense, diplomatic and academic community.
U.S. Army Chief of Staff,  Gen. James C. McConville, sponsors Unified Pacific and attended the 2022 event virtually. McConville emphasized the importance of this wargame series.
“The Army plays a critical role in the Indo-Pacific region,” said McConville. “We will continue to exercise our strength as a combat credible force and as a member of the joint force alongside strong allies and partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Speaking at the conclusion of the 2022 wargame series, Flynn highlighted the unique aspects, lessons learned and value of Unified Pacific.
“This is going to be invaluable for the Joint Force,” he said. “Wargaming is a way to test your plans. It’s a way to look at new concepts. It’s a way to identify capability gaps. From the concepts and the capabilities and the gaps that you identify, you can come up with ideas and paths to creating warfighting advantages.”
In September, U.S. Army Pacific published the findings of the 2022 Unified Pacific Wargame Series which, offered key insights to build on and inform similar analytic efforts, such as the Joint Staff’s Globally Integrated Wargame, the U.S. Navy’s GLOBAL series, and Army Futures Command’s Indo-Pacific Threat Based Assessment.
The second event in the 2023 Unified Pacific Wargame Series will occur in spring and focuses on assessing the structure, processes, and capabilities for joint theater logistics at the scale and speed of war.
Units and organizations that participated in this year’s intelligence-focused wargame, Pacific Winds included: U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Headquarters Department of the Army, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific, Office of Director National Intelligence, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligenc Agency, U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Futures Command, U.S. Army Cyber Command, Mission Command Capability Development Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, U.S. Army National Guard, Hawaii National Guard, Intelligence Center of Excellence, National Ground Intelligence Center, U.S. Army First Corps, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 1st Multidomain Task Force, 3rd Multidomain Task Force, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade, 311th Signal Command, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, United Kingdom Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, United Kingdom Army Futures Force Development, the RAND Corporation and others.