Joint Exercise Support System - JESS

U.S. REDCOM; MacDill AFB, Florida

Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Pasadena, CA

The Joint Exercise Support System (JESS) is a computerized battle simulation system. It is designed to drive a Joint Readiness Exercise (JRX), which is a joint task force command post exercise (CPX). The heart of the system is an interactive computer model of military field operations. Simulated battle results from JESS are used in real time to provide realistic data to train commanders and staffs in JRXs. This system replaces the manual battle boards that have previously been used in training exercises.

JESS fulfills three major requirements as an exercise driver:

1. Realistic combat effects, combined with the operative aspects of logistics, maintenance and other real-world functions, are coordinated within the model and provided to commanders and staffs being exercised. JESS provides the same information that they would receive from units engaged in actual combat.

2. Efficient exercise control is obtained through the computer simulation. The automated system replaces the labor-intensive manual map boards currently used, and gives the Senior Controller tighter control over the exercise.

3. Enhanced post-exercise analysis can be realized by using the automated system to gather consolidate, and manage the large amounts of data involved in a typical exercise.

A CPX using JESS includes three interacting groups: Blue force controllers, command post personnel undergoing training, and opposing force (OPPFOR) controllers.

The Blue force controllers operate the Blue workstations, interfacing with the combat simulation via the workstation input devices, printers and graphics. The controllers also interface with the command post via unit organic communications. The ability of the controller to portray a combat environment through his reports and responses to orders provides a key element in the realism perceived by the command posts.

The command post units staff their respective tactical operations centers, execute operations plans, and respond to contingencies by communicating with Blue force controllers, who represent their subordinate units.

Under the direction of the Senior Controller, the OPPFOR controllers also interact with the combat simulation. They maneuver and control Red forces to provide active opposition to the Blue forces in a way that contributes to the training objectives of the exercise.

The first use of JESS to drive a U.S Readiness Command exercise was planned for BOLD VENTURE 87. Beyond BOLD VENTURE 87, a number of major new functions will be added, including air and ground combat enhancements, engineer effects, multicorps play, and amphibious and naval/maritime operations. When completed, JESS will be capable of driving joint exercises relating to most conventional missions of the unified commands.