Foreign Policy

Navy Plays Fantasy Game Guaranteed to Embolden America's Enemies

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U.S. Navy prepares for 21st-century battlespace where victory will depend as much on technology as on brute force.

Tremble for your nation when you reflect how the leaner, smarter, more adaptable military gets into fighting trim. The 50-year-old carrier USS Enterprise will start its final deployment with a training exercise against a bunch of made-up civilizations Gene Roddenberry himself would have found hard to dramatize. From Navy Times

The carrier and its entourage of support ships are in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere east of Florida, with land completely out of sight. But for the purposes of the drill, they're cruising near the fictitious Treasure Coast. Maps displayed on the bridge's monitors show the contours of the Eastern Seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and a good chunk of the Midwest, but all state borders have been removed and replaced with a handful of countries that come with their own boundaries and political allegiances.

Enterprise and its strike group are focused on Garnet and North Garnet, countries that support terrorism on the Treasure Coast. They're fundamentalist Shahida states — a faux-theocracy — and they want to reunite with Pyrope, one of the nine other made-up countries.

On Enterprise, intelligence analysts evaluate the situation, fighter squadrons plan sorties, and the ship's newspaper, "The Shuttle," prints an extra section that details the international political situation. It's a novella set at sea that grows more complex as hours past.

"Those pesky Garnetians," strike group commander Rear Adm. Walter Carter Jr. told sailors after a day packed with maneuvers, launches and landings.

The Navy says the training isn't specifically tailored to a possible U.S.-Iran scenario.

"We're training for all the mission areas," said Rear Adm. Dennis FitzPatrick, commander of Strike Force Training Atlantic. Those include anti-submarine warfare and counterpiracy missions.

The drills do have applications for potential tension with Iran, however. Treasure Coast includes a fake strait about 200 miles east of Orlando that, like the Strait of Hormuz, is about 35 miles wide at its narrowest point.

"There obviously is an emphasis on where we think the ship will go," FitzPatrick said.

Thanks, Admiral. You might even put a little more emphasis on where the ship will go. Is there some pattern of revanchist governments looking to form a Bismarckian superstate in the Persian Gulf that the liberal media haven't been reporting on? (And wouldn't that be just like the liberal media?) 

I'm no supporter of U.S. policy in the Middle East, but the situation there is pretty clear: A country (Iran) led by a demagogue with dwindling popular and political support may or may not be making the necessary effort to develop nuclear weapons while at the same time meddling in the affairs of one country (Syria) whose dictator appears to be on his last legs, solidifying its gains in another country (Iraq) whose hostile dictator was helpfully removed by force of American arms, and supporting a militia in another country (Lebanon) nobody cares much about. 

Bonus points for blurring the distinctions between U.S. territory and that of other nations, however. That will certainly come in handy when the Navy finally cracks down on Occupy Guam. 

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge, who writes: "[T]he farcism that has defined capital markets for the past 3 years is slowly migrating to military planning."

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  1. Basically, all this article imparts is your ignorance of wargaming.

    1. Hello, Professor Falken. Would you like to play a game?

    2. Seriously, these are commonplace exercises. I am actually kinda shocked that educated people don’t know about this.

      1. Me too. In the Army they always involved Cortina and the Peoples Democratic Republic of Atlantica.

        1. My boat once launched tomahawks at “Whocaresistan”!

          1. My boat didn’t have any Tomahawks back then. You kids got much cooler toys than we ever had.

            1. You guys had Harpoons back on the “use-ta-fish”, right?

              1. Pre 1977 – so no Harpoons yet. SUBROC or ASROC.

      2. This and this

    3. looking for the bilover?—datebi*cO’m— is a site for bisexual and bicurious singles and friends.Here you can find hundreds of thousands of open-minded singles & couples looking to explore their bisexuality.sign up for free.

      1. Not this, though

  2. ZeroHedge? Alex Jones is next then?

    The “fascism in capital markets” = FAZ cost me 80% of my savings.

    1. “[T]he farcism that has defined capital markets for the past 3 years is slowly migrating to military planning.”

      Too busy being a troll to learn how to read.

      1. The Doomers at ZeroHedge have been shorting the market from 700 to 1340 (S&P) and especially the financials.

        They are full of shit anyway – its all “the plunge protection team” or the “secret bankers”.

        Either way they are dripping with Bircher CT (and quite the RP fan club).

        1. You are still an illiterate toad, shriek.

        2. You made a mistake, and instead of owning it, you double down on douchebaggery.

          1. Shut up troll before Reason bans you again.

  3. Plus, North Garnet has been engaged in the Orion slave trade for years now.

    1. Orion “slave” women aren’t really slaves. Their pheromones are powerful enough that they themselves actually dominate their society.

      1. Uhggg.

        Oh yeah.

      2. You’re either an apologist for the Orion Syndicate or woefully ignorant of facts.

  4. Tim,

    If they called the countries by their names, you would be on here screaming they “preparing for war with Iran” and how provocative it is.

    Yeah, they are preparing for war. That is their job. But it is not like they will launch a unilateral attack. Whether they go to war is up to the President and Congress. But you really can’t blame them for preparing for the eventuality can you?

    1. ^^^^ This!

      See my comment below about preparing to attack China Country Orange

    2. Whether they go to war is up to the President and Congress.

      And Congress? That’s some 19th century thinking right there.

  5. We have always been at war with North Garnet.

    1. I thought we were at war with Eurasia? Or is it Eastasia?

  6. In 97, as we prepared for WESTPAC, the Lincoln battle group went through a similar set of exercises. The esercises were put together by the battle group commander’s staff (bunch of LCDR’s LT’s and the occasional CDR)

    At first, our putative enemy was China. Then someone outside the battlegroup started squacking about the effect it would have on U.S. chinese relations if the word got around that we were gaming a U.S. Chinese naval war. So very hastily, the word China was lined out and replaced with ‘Country Orange’.

    The wargame didn’t go well, BTW: our ASW screen got pulled off prosecuting a contact, and a few seconds after I realized and commented to the OOD that we had nothing covering our our port bow, a sub put three simulated torpedoes into us from a bearing of 45 degrees off of our nose.

    The purpose of these exercises is not to train in tactics. Often it’s designed to shake out all the stupid coordination issues involving making sure the right people are in the right places at the right times should a battle occur.

    And often it’s the Admiral’s staff, in a vacuum coming up with some scenario that is fun and interesting and meets Navy requirements.

    1. Interesting that in this exercise, they’re attacking County Orange. Sort of.

      1. Goddamn it. And there was no excuse. I wasn’t even close!

    2. In the Army they do war games with Blue Land, which rules the northern half of a peninsula that looks just like an other peninsula that is divided and half and militarized.

    3. ‘Country Orange’.

      If they’d have called it “County Orange”, then that would have been worth a million lulz.

      1. During the Kosovo “War”, some pervert was the one handing out call signs for our battle group.

        Listening to the creepy digitally encrypted coms calling everyone Violator, Satin, Horndog, Sheik, Trojan, Silky, and Prom Dress still makes me giggle to this day!

        1. Prom Dress one, this is Horndog actual…

          I like that.

          1. My watch group used to amuse ourselves for the entire shift making jokes on those call signs.

  7. Does this mean that they may be attacking Florida? If so, I must most strenuously object.

    1. It’s about time.

      1. After they take us out, Washington state is next. It’s all part of the plan.

        1. Then Maine, then California… they hate the four corners of the lower 48 and they’re going to diagonally take us out one by one. A plan of staggering evil.

          1. I was thinking Maine was next, too! My God, is there something to this?

            1. Your lobster hate is strong.

              1. I like lobster, but you may be on to something. They have lobster in all three of those states.

                Quick, has Obama made any public statements about lobster?

                1. When you trace the lines of destruction across the map they form an hourglass (let’s say they zag back over to FL as it will probably require a double-tap). What does it mean, and how is the Illuminati involved?

                  1. If you draw lines from Washington to Florida and from Maine to Baja California, where do those lines intersect? That is the key.

                    1. hmm Cheney, Kansas. Coincidence? I think not.

                    2. Kansas City?

                    3. Kansas.
                      More Satanists per sq. mile than any other part of the nation.

                      /True fact.

                    4. Kansas.
                      More Satanists per sq. mile than any other part of the nation.

                      Well, yeah. With such low population density, that’s an easy target.

                      Another true fact:

                      Kansas is in fact, flatter than a pancake.

                2. “Some say ____________ lobsters, but I reject that false choice. Let me be clear, ________________ lobsters. Failure is not a choice. Together we will __________ usher in a new era __________ lobsters.”

                  Just fill in the blanks.

                  1. Will no one stand up for the Lobster Slut Girl?

                    1. They’re attacking the lobster states. Libertarians like the Lobster Girl.

                      I’m sure that’s all a coincidence.

          2. Then Maine, then California… they hate the four corners of the lower 48 and they’re going to diagonally take us out one by one. A plan of staggering evil.

            Center square for the block please.

    2. What if they only attacked Miami?

      1. Oh, that’s okay then.

        1. They are just making war on pythons.

          1. No more Miami and no more pythons? Carry on, men!

            1. Pythons are lawful targets. Miami is just necessary collateral damage.

              1. Though I’d prefer that they relocate the Burn Notice cast and crew first, especially Lord Campbell.

                1. They actually shoot that in Vancouver.

                  1. No, they shoot it in Miami.

                    1. No way, it’s shot in Vancouver. The Florida sun is emulated with filters and Movie Magic. The handful of hispanics that occasionally make it into an episode are imported.

                    2. For once, that’s not true. I find it hard to believe, too, trust me.

                      Pisses me off that they don’t film any TV shows in Tampa (movies are a different matter). I don’t know why, as it probably is best that they don’t.

    3. Isn’t Florida where 95% of American seniors* live? Maybe this is how Obama plans to solve the deficit. No more Social Security and Medicare problems if Florida gets wiped out.

      *-Statistic may be totally made up.

      1. We’re all old here. Nineteen million old people. No kids, no young pets, no young nothing. Cocoon was a documentary, except that the young people were actually not that young.

        1. And you do nothing else but get in your cars and drive really slowly.

          1. Really slowly. Like not moving slow.

          2. And in the left lane with the blinker on!

            1. Wearing a hat.

              1. You got a problem with hats?

                1. Don’t forget the blue hair just barely peeking above the steering wheel!

                2. Worst driver in the world is an old man wearing a hat.

    4. California – really should be taking out California.

      1. With technology the way that it is I’m sure they can surgically destroy the Bay Area and LA county while sparing Orange and San Diego counties.

        1. Couldn’t they figure out a way to destroy only the people in the bay area?

          1. I simple IQ test for voting would take care of them.

          2. Couldn’t they figure out a way to destroy only the people in the bay area?

            Neutron bomb?

            1. Don’t need our help, they’re destroying themselves just fine.

  8. The benefit of all of these fictitious enemies is that the Navy can’t be called racist or genocidal when they pretend to annihilate all of those slanted eyed Garnetians or their heretical Shahida fundamentalist allies since they don’t really exist.

    1. That is exactly why they do it. I participated in a war game once where a pass in the mythical country of blue land was known as “Point Umpa”. That of course lead to endless speculation about how the place was defended by umpalumpas and what tightly disciplined and mean little bastards they were.

      1. Maybe the whole point of the exercise was to free the Umpalumpas from the drug addict dictator Willie “The Candy Man” Wonka? It’s been suggested that the sign above his Factory (gulag) reads:

        “Umpa-lumpa-diddle-dee-dee!”
        “Sing-out-loud-for-Work-Makes-You-Free!”

  9. What’s long hard and full of seamen again?

    Oh, doesn’t work when written out, does it. 🙁

    1. Why do they call camels the ships of the desert?

      1. They’re just mispronouncing sheep.

  10. So, did anyone at Reason ever play Risk, or was it just Monopoly and Scrabble?

    Better a bunch of fictional names to avoid the wrath of the PC police.

    1. Never play Risk with people you want to keep as friends.

      1. One day a couple friends got together for a “quick” game of Risk. I think all told it only took us 6 hours.

      2. That would explain a lot about me and my stepfather…

        Seriously, anybody hear about the new version called Risk Legacy? The gist of this one is that actions from previous play-throughs become PERMANENT for each subsequent game. Risk now has a “memory” to act as an “X” factor!

        1. I saw a version that came out not too long ago that included stickers to place on the board. I’m guessing that’s the version you’re talking about. Seemed like an interesting concept but since we’re not huge Risk fans we skipped it.

          1. Always liked Axis and Allies better anyhow!

            1. My quartet of HS friends in our A&A plays, it always came down to Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor. Dice go Japan’s way, Axis wins. US’ way, Allied victory.

            2. Axis and Allies was the only game that made Risk and Monopoly seem quick.

              1. try Diplomacy

        2. I’ve been playing Risk Legacy. They got rid of all the annoying stuff about Risk (the interminable endgame, for example) and kept the good stuff, then added even more good stuff. I can actually recommend the game now!

  11. The Bosch is a nice touch, btw.

  12. “Farcism” – I am so using that. Our kleptocratic authoritarians so inept they sully the good name of “fascism”, so I think its appropriate.

    “Shahida” – c’mon, Navy guys. You’re not even trying with that one.

    1. Why not a fictional country like, say, Persia?

      1. Why not Palestine?

        1. No, no, you’re doing it wrong.

          1. No, no, you’re doing it wrong.

            That’s the first time I’ve heard that statement outside the bedroom.

            1. Consider yourself lucky. I don’t even get to hear it inside the bedroom anymore.

              1. I thought that was the whole point of a ball gag?

                1. I’d be too afraid of having them bitten off…

                  1. *sigh*

                    You didn’t read the manual, did you?

  13. As several others already commented ( I know, I am redundant), those wargames are standard practice for decades. You can look up old plans where a theoretical war with Canada is discussed ffs. There is nothing wrong with it.

    1. Not only that but the old hex-and-counter games are a lot of fun to play.

      1. Yes, I was about to harsh on you for conflating Risk with serious wargaming (above) until I read this.

        1. Mock Risk at your own peril. For he who controls Australia controls the world.

          1. ^^^This

            1. Only if you have a toe-hold in Asia.

              1. You can acquire that from Australia.

          2. The appropriate strategy is to either start in Australia or to ignore it until the very end. The Siam-Indonesia link is the only choke point on the map. Anyone trying to take Australia midgame will have their armies stuck there for a few turns. Elsewhere, if you plan your attacks right, there is always another territory to attack.

            World conquest begins or ends in Australia, but it most certainly does not make pit stops there.

            Only useful thing I learned from graph theory: how to take over the world in one turn.

        2. By some stroke of miraculous luck my son made friends with twins whose dad is an old hex-and-coutner wargamer and we’ve been playing Third Reich and Waterloo. Squad Leader is next. We’ve also been bidding on other games on ebay. Definately a lot of fun.

    2. Don’t think Plan Red is ever shelved, Direwolf. We must remain vigilant against threats from the North. Who knows what kind of perfidy lurks Beyond the Wall in Canada?

      Oh, OT and for those of you who can’t afford ivory: monocles.

      1. Maple-scented villainy.

      2. Ivory is nice, especially if you can find a genuine alligator skin chain wrapped in bloody seal fur to go with it.

  14. Where can you find pleasure, search the world for treasure,
    learn science and technology?
    Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true
    on the land or on the sea?
    Where can you learn to fly, play in sports or skindive,
    study oceanography?
    Sign up for the big band or sit in the grand stand
    when your team and others meet.

  15. This is the Navy making easy money by participating in a publicity stunt for Battleship.

    1. I would pay $10 just to watch Liam Neeson look into the camera and glower: “You sunk my battleship.”

      1. That trailer filled me with the urge to defecate.

        1. Just the urge?

  16. So Cavanaugh, was there a fucking point? I read the article three times in case I was missing something. Granted, I’m not the smartest tack in the box but what I get from this is you don’t feel the military should be training for what they may very well be called on to do?

    Or is your hang-up that they made up cute little names for the potential adversary?

    Or are you simply anti-military?

    You do understand that the military doesn’t set policy and they don’t get to choose who they are sent to fight next right?

    If you don’t like where US foreign policy is heading, fine, no one here does, but place the blame where it is due. At the feet of the policy makers. Don’t belittle the Navy for doing its job.

    Or did I misunderstand you?

    1. “If you don’t like where US foreign policy is heading, fine, no one here does, but place the blame where it is due. At the feet of the policy makers. Don’t belittle the Navy for doing its job.”

      According to several posters here, we MUST belittle service members. Without them, there would be no fodder for the baby-raping machine..or something..

    2. I concur. For instance, when the Navy Seals went to go get Osama bin Laden, I’m guessing they trained in a mock compound that looked a lot like (even startlingly so!) the actual for-reals compound where bin Laden was eventually found.

      If you’re the military and you’re training up, you want the scenario to look as much like the scenario is likely to look when the yahoo in the white house decides to goose democracy in the next hellhole.

    3. I think the point was that you shouldn’t vote for Ron Paul because after four years of him, what’s left of the U.S. military is going to have to defend Florida and other southeastern states from the Moooslim invasion!

      1. Like any force on Earth would dare to fuck with Mickey Mouse!

  17. For many years we battled the Krasnovians in the wastelands surrounding Bakersfield. Oddly enough, the Krasnovian Army was equipped will M60s and M113s modified to look like T-72s and BMPs, weird.

  18. Pitting the Enterprise in wargames is practically begging for Ferengi to take over the ship.

    1. If not the Ferengi, then definitely Q.

    2. Either that or the vessel will be infested by a previously unknown species of creatures that who’s appearance is uncannily similar to footballs covered in shag carpet.

      1. We still sing songs about the Great Tribble Hunt!

    1. Good God man! They’re encroaching!

  19. I’d prefer some privateers, will disposed courts for spoilation claims and a fair wind. A daily rum ration wouldn’t hurt either.

    1. We don’t really need to go back to “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash”, do we?

      1. I’m advocating for a private navy. What you do in your own home with your spouse/life partner/livestock is your own business.

        1. I walked into that one but I was quoting Winston Churchill:

          “Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

          1. I always loved that quote. Sounds like a Saturday night at Paul’s house!

  20. It really bothers me that this is allowed to slide on Reason’s side. A thinly disguised hit piece on the military that displays a great lack of knowledge of the topic and great lack of common sense as well.

    I wont repeat what many have said but I will say that I am actually currently participating in the exercise, although not on the “Big E”. The Treasure Coast scenario has been around for a long time, pretty sure since even before Ahmadinejad ever took power.

    As a loyal Reason reader, I’m saddened by the fact that this piece is considered worthy of posting and that the first occasion Ive been motivated to post was because of the poor quality of this article.

    1. As a loyal Reason reader, I’m saddened by the fact that this piece is considered worthy of posting and that the first occasion Ive been motivated to post was because of the poor quality of this article.

      Cancel your subscription?

      1. This article made me subscribe just so I could cancel it!

    2. Don’t let it get you down. The occasional foray into Cluelessland is just a helpful reminder that sometimes the Reason staff is as full of it as anyone else.

      1. I thought it was evidence that they spend the occasional lunch break getting fucking HAMMERED like everyone else!

  21. The “Stupid” in Tim’s screed “burns!”

  22. I’m no supporter of U.S. policy in the Middle East, but the situation there is pretty clear: A country (Iran) led by a demagogue with dwindling popular and political support may or may not be making the necessary effort to develop nuclear weapons while at the same time meddling in the affairs of one country (Syria) whose dictator appears to be on his last legs, solidifying its gains in another country (Iraq) whose hostile dictator was helpfully removed by force of American arms, and supporting a militia in another country (Lebanon) nobody cares much about.

    That’s one way of looking at it, but you could just as easily say: a country (Iran) is surrounded on all sides by nations invaded and occupied by another country (the US) that clearly hates it.

    I know Iran’s been meddling in Lebanon and Syria et al., but look at all the meddling the US has done in other countries, all the vile murderous dictators we’ve propped up … and we didn’t even have the excuse of saying “We are legitimately terrified because Canada and Mexico are both occupied by a powerful foreign army that makes no bones about utterly hating us, a foreign army whose government overthrew our own democratically elected leader a couple generations ago and replaced him with a loathsome puppet dictator.”

    1. …and replaced him with a loathsome puppet dictator.

      The Shah was certainly no choir boy, but at least he tried to bring Iran into the 20th century. Bad as he was, he wasn’t as bad as the atavistic psychopath who replaced him. And as far as “all the vile murderous dictators we’ve propped up” goes – how is it worse that those countries are ruled by someone we like rather than some “vile murderous dictator” of their own choosing who won’t cooperate with us – particularly if we must have dealings with those countries for one reason or another?

      1. If the only possible option for a nation’s government is that it be a vile, murderous dictator, of course it would be better that that thug be someone who cooperates with us. But it’s pretty hard to be sure that that’s the only possible option– especially to the people of the country in question, who see only that they’re being oppressed and that we’re helping their oppressor to stay in power.

        And I don’t think historical US foreign policy has made it especially clear that we only support vile dictators when we think they’re the only possible option. It would be easy to conclude from the record that we actually prefer dictators to democracies, since the former are easier to bribe.

  23. So how, exactly, is this “guaranteed to embolden America’s enemies?”

    1. Our enemies (Iran) now think we plan to go to war with the Garnetians and can catch us unawares!

  24. “Bonus points for blurring the distinctions between U.S. territory and that of other nations, however.”

    Where do you think they should to their exercise – off the coast of the nation they’re actually training to fight? I can see that going well.

  25. Showing off our increasingly automatic offensive capability, Enterprise will be fitted with the M-5 multitronic CnC computer during these war games. The M5 has been endowed with the “engrams” of our greatest naval strategists and tactical experts — Captain Crunch (TM), Captain Morgan (TM), and Sailor Jerry (TM), just to name a few. In auto-pilot command of the Enterprise, M5 should be able to make quick work of his … er … its … er … OUR enemies. That is all.

    1. You forgot ShipWreck!

      Yo Joe!

    2. I actually met Sailor Jerry once.

  26. Other names for CVN-65 are “The Pig” and “Building sixty-five.”

    1. We used to refer to her as the USS Intercourse – primarily because whenever there was a crisis somewhere in the world within a week’s steaming range we were the ones who got screwed with responding.

  27. Soudns like its time to get on down dude.

    http://www.Be-Anon.tk

  28. I came to the comments page intending to ask what exactly was supposed to be wrong with the wargame described and maybe say something snide about vague sarcasm too easily becoming a substitute for having a clear point. And I find 150 comments already saying the same thing, only in more detail! Y’all give me hope for the Internet.

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