The importance of joint training of allied forces

When it is difficult for the state to fight a war on its own‭, ‬it resorts to alliances with other states of common interests‭, ‬as‭ ‬well as states with high combat capabilities that possess advanced armament systems‭. ‬Alliances are usually created to address an‭ ‬imbalance of power‭, ‬and the history of major wars is linked to the history of large alliances‭, ‬as it appeared‭. ‬in the two world‭ ‬wars‭.‬

The phenomenon of military alliances is as old as history‭, ‬as there were alliances between tribes and population groups in the pre-state stage‭, ‬but the modern concept of military alliances is related to the state and international organizations‭, ‬and it means an agreement between two or more states on specific military and security measures to protect the allied states from a threat‭ ‬or an aggression‭, ‬and it may be in the form of a formal agreement‭, ‬declared or not‭, ‬whereby two states‭, ‬or a group of states‭, ‬pledge to cooperate with each other in the field of joint use of their military capabilities against a particular states or state‭.‬

Military operations in the conditions of modern war are characterized by the high speed of the development of events‭, ‬and the means and capabilities that are used to secure the attack‭, ‬are used at the same time to achieve the defense of friendly forces targeted by the enemy‭, ‬as well as the use of electronic warfare means‭, ‬whether for support or obstruction‭.‬

Joint operations depend on the basis of distributing offensive firepower among several units that participate in one formation‭, ‬and the combat group may be made up of ground‭, ‬air and sea forces‭, ‬and this distribution allows the commander of the combat group to choose the best weapon to attack any target‭, ‬and the automated command and control system helps the commander of this combat formation to a large extent‭, ‬as the response may not come from the platform on which he is on board‭, ‬but may be from any naval‭, ‬air or land units within the formation under his command‭.‬

Joint exercises

Joint training is one of the training tasks that are carried out jointly with friendly countries‭, ‬with the aim of uniting efforts in joint combat actions‭. ‬Joint exercises are divided into several types‭, ‬including‭:‬

Trainings are conducted between the forces of countries that do not have common interests or any political treaties‭, ‬but are linked by special cooperation protocols‭.‬

Trainings that take place between countries with common national interests‭, ‬or allied countries‭, ‬and this type of training is mainly concerned with issues of command‭, ‬control and management of joint operations‭, ‬with the purpose of unifying and homogenizing‭ ‬forces in terms of combat doctrines‭, ‬fighting methods‭, ‬armament‭, ‬and organizing cooperation‭, ‬to confront common threats‭, ‬and an‭ ‬example that is the exercises between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council‭, ‬or between the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization‭ (‬NATO‭).‬

‭ ‬Trainings between several countries that are not linked to common interests‭, ‬but cooperate together to serve one goal‭, ‬for example the joint exercises of peacekeeping forces‭.‬

The joint training process stages‭:‬

1-‭ ‬The stage of preparation‭, ‬preparation and planning‭, ‬as the main factor in the success of joint exercises is the preparation and good management of these exercises through coordination conferences between the parties participating in the exercises‭.‬

2-‭ ‬The stage of managing combat operations‭.‬

3-‭ ‬The stage of actual use of weapons‭.‬

4-‭ ‬The stage of evaluation and analysis‭.‬

Joint operations planning

There are many objectives of joint operations‭, ‬which differ according to the size of the forces‭, ‬the level of their training‭, ‬and the type of participating countries‭. ‬The most important of these objectives are‭:‬

‭-‬Training on tasks that are difficult to carry out with the available capabilities of one country‭, ‬for example‭, ‬confronting a hostile naval landing in light of air supremacy and hostile electronic warfare procedures‭, ‬carrying out naval landing operations in the enemy’s territory‭, ‬refueling at sea‭, ‬and how to aim at distant targets‭, ‬using the information of command-and-control aircraft‭.‬

Inventing new fighting methods‭, ‬as a result of the differing combat doctrines of the forces participating in the training‭.‬

Identifying new theaters of operations‭, ‬as joint exercises may take place outside the country‭.‬

Dealing with new weapons and equipment‭.‬

Adaptation to tactics of troops of other countries‭.‬

Gaining and exchanging practical experie nces in planning and managing hostilities‭.‬

Command and control

Modern command and control systems demonstrate the areas of operations in the planning stage of operations‭. ‬In the case of joint‭ ‬operations‭, ‬the risk of interference is high‭. ‬Units in the area of‭ ‬​​operations during the attack are at the highest levels of exposure‭, ‬as the specific points for docking of ships and aircraft‭, ‬areas of fire support and amphibious ships‭, ‬mine-sweeping areas‭, ‬and friendly no-fly zones are likely to change between a certain‭ ‬stage and another‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬the ability of the command-and-control system to display and maintain these areas‭, ‬along with previously planned variables‭, ‬is of utmost importance‭.‬

Also‭, ‬displaying patrol areas or lines effectively helps in planning and interception operations‭, ‬so that it can be carried out‭ ‬more accurately‭, ‬efficiently and effectively by modern command and control systems‭. ‬Also‭, ‬modern command and control systems choose the appropriate steps in the event of an imminent attack and provide the best options for the situation‭. ‬Such as spreading hoax targets‭, ‬or using electronic warfare devices‭.‬

Coordination of joint operations requires advanced command and control systems‭. ‬The US Central Field Battle Management System‭ (‬TBMCS‭), ‬which was operationally deployed in 2002‭, ‬provides a suite of software for managing‭, ‬planning‭, ‬and coordinating joint air‭ ‬campaigns‭, ‬including integrating tanker aircraft‭, ‬helicopters‭, ‬drones‭, ‬and even cruise missiles‭. ‬Several American companies have designed network-centric warfare simulation models that can be used in the field‭, ‬where airborne systems are linked to land and sea systems‭, ‬with the aim of providing a continuous and up-to-date picture of the battlefield‭, ‬not only for command-and-control centers‭, ‬but also for all field commanders‭, ‬at the same time‭.‬

One of the critical problems in the areas of detection and reconnaissance‭, ‬the armed forces face time-critical mobile targets‭, ‬especially when there is a need to detect valuable targets at a critical time‭, ‬such as ballistic missile launchers and mobile air‭ ‬defense systems‭. ‬This requires the integration of sensors with the weapon systems that will deal with these targets‭, ‬so that they can be destroyed by using precision guided projectiles‭, ‬within a time not exceeding several minutes from their detection‭.‬

It is noted that the networking process is limited‭, ‬as it is only‭ ‬possible to link the systems produced by the same company‭, ‬or at best‭, ‬the systems used by the forces of the same service‭ (‬for example‭, ‬the Air Force‭), ‬and this has led to an increased need to develop networking systems through standardization of different‭ ‬systems‭, ‬and the possibilities of interoperability between them in joint operations‭, ‬especially systems that provide information shared by different parties in the battlefield‭, ‬automated command and control systems‭, ‬and systems for assessing losses resulting from bombing operations‭. ‬Many of the current systems cannot interoperate with other systems‭, ‬especially reconnaissance aircraft‭, ‬satellites‭, ‬ground stations that provide intelligence services‭, ‬ground detection systems‭, ‬and digital data transmission systems‭.‬

Unified leadership role

The American General Dwight Eisenhower is one of the military leaders who excelled in leading the coalition forces‭. ‬During World‭ ‬War II‭, ‬he was the commander of more than three million coalition forces‭; ‬among the leaders of the coalition armies were very strong personalities‭, ‬such as the American General George Patton‭, ‬and the English Marshal Montgomery‭, ‬these were seasoned leaders‭ ‬in battles‭. ‬Leadership of the allied forces always needs caution‭, ‬because commanders of these forces are usually in direct contact with the leaders of their governments‭. ‬For example‭, ‬during the First World War‭, ‬General Pershing‭, ‬the commander of the American forces‭, ‬was under the command of French Marshal Foch‭. ‬Foch asked Pershing to divide the American units to replace the losses‭ ‬of the coalition forces‭, ‬but Pershing refused‭, ‬and insisted that the American forces fight as one unit‭, ‬otherwise they will not‭ ‬fight‭, ‬and President Wilson supported him in his decision‭. ‬This means that Eisenhower had to be very careful in his command style‭, ‬despite the fact that he enjoys the title of Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces‭. ‬What made his problem complicated was that he did not personally participate in the battles‭. ‬During World War I‭, ‬he was a trainer‭, ‬and his task was to equip Artillery‭ ‬forces to the battles in France‭. ‬Although he tried many times to go to France‭, ‬he spent the war period in America‭, ‬however‭, ‬Eisenhower was able to lead this huge number of soldiers of different nationalities in an unprecedented invasion‭. ‬The main reason for his success was his use of the negotiation method‭, ‬as this enabled him to obtain the support of the leaders of the second major country of the coalition‭. ‬He was able to influence the British by giving them the highest positions under his command‭.‬

Diversification of weapon sources‭ ‬

The unification of the source of weapons means the ability to exchange them between different parties of the coalition‭, ‬use them‭ ‬with ease and simplicity during joint training‭, ‬and the possibility of maintenance and repair‭. ‬During the Cold War‭, ‬all the planes‭, ‬tanks‭, ‬missiles‭, ‬cannons‭, ‬vehicles and ammunition used by all the Warsaw Pact countries were all built to Soviet specifications‭, ‬so there were no difficulties in exchanging them between the Allies‭.‬

Friendly fire

Due to the multiplicity of sources of armament‭, ‬joint training contributes‭, ‬to a large extent‭, ‬to providing an appropriate atmosphere for unifying capabilities between elements and equipment operating on one theater‭, ‬without necessarily having joint field‭ ‬or combat experience‭. ‬There is already a fundamental difference between drawing intervention scenarios and the field situation‭, ‬where answers are sometimes mixed with reactions‭, ‬and roles are distributed randomly‭, ‬with all the negatives that can result from that‭, ‬hence the importance of prior coordination between the approved training systems‭. ‬The danger in the absence of the necessary coordination may go beyond reducing combat effectiveness to exposing combatants to the loss of life on the part of‭ “‬friendly‭” ‬forces‭, ‬an issue that officials in the training sectors stress the need to avoid‭.‬

The common factor that preoccupies the thinking of military planners in modern joint wars is the complex scenario of the systems‭, ‬weapons‭, ‬and the abundance of equipment on the battlefield‭, ‬its skies and seas‭, ‬in a way that has complicated the problem of distinguishing the enemy from the friend‭, ‬due to the complexity and density of the electromagnetic spectrum‭, ‬and the short times‭ ‬available for reaction procedures‭, ‬which requires a high degree of response speed‭, ‬to achieve a successful confrontation‭. ‬If the‭ ‬concept was previously limited to identification systems between planes‭, ‬and between planes and naval vessels‭, ‬the lessons learned from modern wars imposed the necessity‭, ‬and even inevitability of the existence of systems of identification up to the level‭ ‬of the soldier‭, ‬where the term‭ ‬“friendly fire”‭ ‬appeared‭, ‬especially in the conditions of joint night operations‭. ‬For special forces‭, ‬where visibility is reduced‭, ‬details fade‭, ‬and backgrounds overlap‭, ‬these systems enhance self‭- ‬confidence of the soldier‭, ‬and rid him of fear‭.‬

Night battles have made it difficult to provide familiarity between friendly forces‭, ‬as there is confusion in distinguishing personnel and equipment‭, ‬hence the use of special thermal emitters operating on one side of the infrared spectrum‭, ‬known as the IR‭ ‬beacon‭, ‬which can be installed on soldiers’‭ ‬helmets‭, ‬and in the rear of vehicles and tanks‭, ‬and they use special filters that can be monitored by thermal devices‭, ‬so that‭ ‬soldiers and friendly targets can be identified to a significant degree‭, ‬so friendly fire injuries are greatly reduced‭, ‬and air‭ ‬strikes can be avoided‭, ‬as well as determining the locations of landings‭, ‬and targets that are designated‭, ‬even in the darkest periods of nights‭.‬

Among the effective uses of laser beacons‭, ‬which are sources of laser radiation at a specific wavelength‭, ‬is the possibility of‭ ‬providing identification between the missiles that ride the laser beam‭, ‬and between targets‭, ‬especially in urban warfare‭, ‬where‭ ‬agents or members of the special forces throw the laser beacon near the target to be destroyed‭, ‬which could be a gathering headquarters for fighters‭, ‬an ammunition store‭, ‬or a vehicle with a wanted person‭, ‬then friendly planes direct their missiles towards‭ ‬Target‭.‬

Given the problems of identification systems that distinguish between friendly and hostile targets‭, ‬and the inadequacy of these‭ ‬systems for use in some circumstances‭, ‬the new trend is to use the radar signature technology‭. ‬It is known that the signals reflected from the target include a lot of information about it‭. ‬By appropriate processing of these signals‭, ‬it is possible to extract enough information about the‭ ‬“shape of the target”‭ ‬so that it can be identified‭, ‬and this method was used in the program of the US space agency‭ ‬“NASA”‭ ‬to give a clear picture of the satellites‭. ‬By comparing the shape of the target with the radar signatures of the different targets kept in the‭ “‬library‭” ‬or‭ “‬memory‭” ‬of the radar device‭, ‬the target can be identified‭.‬

During the war to liberate Kuwait‭, ‬in 1991‭, ‬a large percentage of the casualties of American and British soldiers were caused by‭ ‬friendly forces fire‭, ‬and research in this field showed that the biggest reason for this was the wrong identification of the target by the weapon platform‭, ‬and then it was immediately revealed that‭  ‬the that‭  ‬reason behind engagement with friendly targets‭ ‬was the result of a lack of information about the locations and positions of the allied forces‭, ‬as well as the wrong directing‭ ‬of fire or the inability to circulate the change in plans or the change in the military situation‭.‬

The last American war on Iraq witnessed many accidents‭, ‬including what was the result of two planes colliding together‭, ‬or one of the planes being hit by a Patriot missile‭, ‬or one of the armored vehicles being hit by friendly aircraft fire‭. ‬The British and‭ ‬American armies opened an investigation in an attempt to uncover the circumstances of the accident that killed 3‭ ‬British soldiers‭, ‬and injured two others by friendly fire as a result of the bombing of a US plane in southern Afghanistan on August 23‭, ‬2007‭.‬‭ ‬The investigation focused on whether the American pilots were given wrong information about the British positions‭, ‬or they misread the information‭, ‬or they dropped the bomb by mistake‭. ‬An American F-15‭ ‬plane had struck the British soldiers while it was trying to help them in fierce fighting that broke out near the huge Kajaki Dam‭, ‬where these soldiers were fighting to secure it from Taliban militants‭. ‬After the combatant forces‭ – ‬tracking technology networks proved their usefulness in reducing the incidence of fire from friendly forces in Afghanistan and Iraq‭, ‬the Pentagon decided to expand the use of this technology in all branches of the American armed forces‭, ‬and this technology relies on satellite communication to provide tanks and ground command and control centers with the latest locations of American forces and allied forces‭. ‬The US forces have provided combat vehicles‭, ‬command centers and helicopters in their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with about 1,400‭ ‬friendly force tracking systems‭, ‬which have saved the lives of many members of friendly forces‭. ‬Commanders in the field have appreciated these systems‭.‬

‮«‬‭ ‬By‭: ‬Major General Dr‭. ‬Ali Muhammad Ali Ragab‭

(‬Military researcher and strategist‭)‬

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