The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has led the Army’s largest ever force development war game and collaboration.

Army Wargame 23 (AWG23) tested a new UK Army approach to future operations. Known as the ‘Land Operating Concept’, it looked at redesigning combat power with an aim to protect and advance UK and international interests.

The 9-week war game involved more than 250 participants. It created a diverse team of experts including international partners, industry and academics, and was viewed by senior Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials.

4 fictitious mission scenarios were exercised which examined a variety of force structures in order to help the Army understand aspects critical to delivering a battle-winning operating concept.

Senior Army officials made a special visit to the event which included Major General James Bowder (Director Futures, Army HQ) who hosted Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Patrick Sanders.

General Bowder said:

This event shows evidence of the great work that has been going on ‘behind the scenes’ and the compelling insights and results achieved. I am very proud of the work and the relationship we have with Dstl.

Addressing attendees General Sir Patrick Sanders commented:

These are the most useful and evidenced insights I have ever seen from war gaming.

The collaboration with international partners has led to the success of AWG23. The UK armed forces very rarely go into operations entirely alone, and so international involvement and contribution has been crucial to understand how allies will operate together in the future.

Sarah Knight, a Senior Principal Operational Research analyst for Dstl, said:

International contribution enables us to use their areas of expertise which gives us a richer picture of how we can operate together in the future. Together we have looked at multi domain integration relating to different technologies we all share – and that has been extremely valuable.

The US provided a number of personnel which looked at deep shaping for a UK division involved in close combat.

Colonel Matthew Olson from US Army Futures Command said:

The ability to share new ideas with our UK colleagues is very valuable to us; the environment, techniques and the exchange of information has been second to none. Having the ability to overlay our concepts with UK concepts, specifically seeing how to conduct and improve joint operations and each other’s perspectives with our close allies is invaluable.