Military Begins Two-Week Training Exercise

A military exercise designed to prevent incidents of "friendly fire" is underway in South Mississippi.

The training includes a simulated "war zone" that stretches from Camp Shelby into the panhandle of Florida.

The war games include the latest technology with an emphasis on combat cooperation.

"And what they do is try out the applications in a war fighting sense so the guys can evaluate the tools and actually put them to the test," explained Robert Maddox, as he led members of the media on a tour.

The high-tech portion of these war games is set up in military tents at the Air Guard Base. Defense contractors get instant feedback about the potential application of the latest software and video displays.

All branches of the armed forces play a part in this joint evaluation.

Bob Dees is one of the staff members.

"The evaluation is looking at how well the group does identification. You have to identify a target before you can engage it. To knock it out before it can shoot at you. And you want to be sure you don't hit one of your own guys," Dees said.

An unmanned aircraft simulates an incoming cruise missile. It costs a quarter million dollars, but it's reusable.

Those who helped organize this Joint Combat Identification Evaluation Team say South Mississippi is ideally suited to stage a "latoral" battle.

"A latoral battle is basically we've got to come in from the sea, fight over water, fight into land. So we've got to control that air space and the ground space and the sea space getting us in there," explained Army spokesman Roger Jones.

Troops involved in the war games rely on the latest technology to do battle. Defense contractors compete for combat action and attention.

Today's warfare is driven by advanced technology. But leaders understand that technology can fail at times and they must be prepared to handle such problems.

"Will it fail sometimes? Absolutely. Then you fall back on those same people with plan "B", or as we say, get the stubby pencils back out. And we train to do that," Kevin Cosgriff said.

It's training that keeps the troops ready to respond to war game strategy or make critical decisions on the real battlefield.