Dynamic Move 2016: 154 people from 20 countries.
Monday March 7th: The first days are dedicated to develop the plan.
It is under wintry showers that the participants of the exercise Dynamic Move 2016 have arrived in Oostende. 154 people from 20 NATO and partner countries have joined the exercise.
The first day is dedicated to participants check-in and briefings on naval mine warfare. The aim is to provide all participants with information on the coming exercise days and the latest developments in naval mine countermeasures. The agenda is intense, but the atmosphere is good. And when the briefings ended, a welcome drink in the evening gave the opportunity to all participants to meet the other participants
Tuesday and Wednesday are important days for the lower command level. They have received the inputs from the higher level and are now in possession of all elements to develop their own course of action. On Wednesday evening all initial tasks for the simulated mine countermeasures units are imported in the simulation software. We are now ready to start the second phase of the exercise, the actual wargaming.
Monday March 14th: Execution of the plan in full force.
After three days dedicated to planning, the participants have begun to execute their operation on Thursday March 10th. Three different plans in three simultaneous wargames are competing for the best outcome. Each operation is executed by 3 groups of about 10 naval mine countermeasures units, manned and unmanned. During a wargame the participants live in real time but the plan is executed according to the game time clock. At 08h00 the simulation starts in simultanuously mode , whilst gametime is 00h00, with a speed factor 3 or 4. The aim of the simulation is the arrive at 24h00 by 16h30 the same day.
On Thursday morning all units are tasked and from than on the results start to appear: mines are found, vessels are damaged by mine explosions, commercial shipping transits through sensible areas, amphibious units are getting ready for action, etc. The outcome of the operation is not always according to the commander’s plan, but that is something to be expected. Plans are continuously updated with the latest information.
Besides all that, the players need a little time getting used to the simulation software. But the 3 games went smoothly. And outside the weather conditions were to the Belgian standards.
Thursday March 17th: Was the plan effective?
The first high value units arrive in the Area op Operations on Wednesday afternoon. They should be able to reach their destination without being damaged by mines. Initially all looks good. The units transit as scheduled and the mines that were present on the routes seem to have been removed on time.
However on Thursday, some teams suffer a casualty in their respective Area of Operations. Two vessels had minor damaged but could continue their voyage with reduced speed. Was this an error of planning, an incomplete execution or just bad luck?
The conclusions and action points to take from these events are identified during the daily debriefing the same day.
Friday March 18th: Lessons learned.
Friday, last day of the exercise, is dedicated to the Hot Wash Up. The syndicate leaders at the different command levels give their view on the past exercise through a final debriefing on the game. Lessons learned and new ideas are presented to further improve the next exercise, scheduled for February 2017.
For the teams, this game has been a great occasion to work together in an international Naval Mine Warfare environment. Contacts were established or renewed amongst partners from 20 nations. Next year, the NATO Naval Mine Warfare community will assemble again in EGUERMIN for Dynamic Move 2017.