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US Air Force pivots service-level wargaming focus to the Arctic

The US Air Force (USAF) is turning its Title 10 wargaming focus to the Arctic to better understand how great power competition against countries such as China and Russia could spill into the region.

Lieutenant General Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements, said on 27 July that the service had previously spent a lot of wargaming time on countering great powers, especially in Europe and Asia. The USAF did not understand how its competitors would use the Arctic in a strategically adverse manner for the United States and its allies, he said.

As a result, the USAF has planned four series of wargames with different themes to help it better understand the dynamics of the Arctic and bring an innovative approach to awareness and defence in the region. Lt Gen Hinote expects these wargames to involve a significant amount of data analytics, new technologies that allow for shared awareness and Joint All-Domain Command and Control, and required air and space capabilities to defend in the region.

Lt Gen Hinote said two active wargames, Arctic Engagement and Plan Blue, involve US allies and partners. The US is trying to understand the nature of great power competition and the range of capabilities it and its allies bring to the problem, he said.

Title 10 wargames serve as vital elements in the defence planning and research prioritisation process. A Title 10 wargame is a USAF chief of staff-directed, Headquarters Air Force-conducted wargame that explores current and future issues impacting doctrine, force structure, and concepts such as future, employment, and operational.

Lt Gen Hinote's remarks came during a Wilson Center event.

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