The Vigilant Shield 07 War Games: Scenario opposing the US to Russia, China, Iran and North Korea

Irmingham = Iran
Nemazee = North Korea
Ruebek = Russia
Churya = China

Russia Supports North Korea in Nuclear War

by William A Arkin

October 6, 2006

Codename of the Week: Vigilant Shield 

When nuclear war breaks out in December between the United States, Russia and North Korea, American taxpayers should be furious.

The war is just another U.S. military exercise.

But this one is particularly childish, a massive waste of money and an insult to the country.

With North Korea and Iran teetering on the edge, amidst a war in Iraq that seems to have no end and no solution, with Afghanistan slipping away and with an ongoing global “war” against terrorism, the American military is preparing for its largest combined drill of the year in December and all it can come up with is — all it can get excited about — is nuclear war.

It would be bad enough if some U.S. nuclear command were running such an exercise as part of an American threat to Pyongyang at a time when nuclear testing is threatened.

But instead what we have is the routine annual “homeland defense” exercise of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), which sponsors “Vigilant Shield 07.” 

One might think that NORTHCOM would be focused like a laser on preparing for another Sept. 11 or another Katrina, working through the details of just dealing with the obvious.  Alas, some bomb going off somewhere, some natural disaster, doesn’t justify missile defenses or other big ticket items like submarines, nor satellites and “early warning,” nor the new tricks of cyber-warfare.

Want to know why the armed forces are hurting for soldiers and Marines?  The few on the front lines defend the freedom of the extravagant in the Pentagon, the consulting world and defense industry to make billions.

Exercise Vigilant Shield 07, currently scheduled to culminate December 4-14, is described in this year’s “Exercise Plan” (thanks PR for providing the documents) as an opportunity to “train and exercise” NORTHCOM and U.S.-Canadian NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) components in all aspects of homeland defense.

The exercise run concurrently with “Terminal Fury 07,” a Pacific Command (PACOM) exercise focused on North Korea; “Global Lightning 07,” a Strategic Command (STRATCOM) exercise focused on command and control of U.S. nuclear and conventional forces, and “Positive Response 07-1,” a national-level continuity of operations exercise of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is also participating in the “maritime defense” portions of the exercise, and other U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Energy are involved in the nuclear weapons aspects.

I wrote last year about Vigilant Shield 06, which involved World War III with “Slomonia,” a thinly veiled Russia adopted a more aggressive foreign policy towards the west and eventually attacked the United States.

This year’s Vigilant Shield stars Nemazee, a thinly veiled North Korea; Irmingham, which is Iran; Ruebek, which is Russia; and Churya, which is China.  According to briefing documents from the Vigilant Shield planning conference:

• “Nemazee continues to develop nuclear and missile capabilities
• Southwest Asian country of Irmingham intent on uranium enrichment program
• Western countries and United States seeking U.N. assistance to halt Irmingham’s enrichment program
• Eurasian country of Ruebek attempts to mediate Irmingham crisis by offering nuclear oversight while secretly supporting enrichment program
• Asian country of Churya will become concerned at increasing level of Ruebek-U.S. hostility”

Evidently endeavoring to be more “relevant” to the world scene, NORTHCOM focused this year’s Vigilant Shield on continuing North Korean development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

But North Korea just isn’t a big enough threat to justify the homeland security edifice back home, particularly not missile defense or other technological favorites.

According to the NORTHCOM exercise scenario (published separately), when it is all over, a “limited” nuclear war takes place between the United States and Russia.  They fire first, hitting U.S. command centers and forces, we retaliate.  As part of the concurrent Positive Response exercise of the JCS, a one kiloton “terrorist” nuclear weapon just happens to detonate at the Pentagon.  Cheyenne Mountain and the underground Raven Rock bunker in Maryland are hit with Russian nuclear weapons, but no “cities” are hit and other than the attack on the Pentagon — which briefing documents say only kills 6,000 — the country survives.

With the Pentagon gone — someone at least has a sense of humor — the military can “practice” its alternate command structures, its truck mounted mobile command centers, and its redundant communications.  “Consequence management” organizations can stage to pockets of great destruction, led still by a federal government that miraculously survives nuclear war.  Officials who need to be are evacuated nicely, the “stressed” system chugs forward.
The “road to war” as described in exercise briefing documents gives no political context for why Russia would want to go to war with the United States, and then if they did, why they would attack in such limited numbers and not go for victory.  I guess the answer is buried somewhere in the minds of exercise scenario writers who needed limited war to make it all fun and workable; or is the product of nuclear warfare theory that posits “limited” attacks away from really valuable things as a way of “controlling” the outcome.

In either case, on the nuclear side the two core assumptions are clear: First, nuclear warfare can break out for no particular reason at any particular time, hence not only the need for U.S. nuclear weapons but ballistic missile defenses.  Second, small nuclear weapons, while bad, don’t really kill that many people, hence the demand for new “mini-nukes” to attack the bad guys: They are useful.

Adm. Timothy Keating, the commander of U.S. Northern Command, spoke at a Homeland Defense Symposium yesterday in Colorado saying that he doubted scenarios that posit another mega-terrorist in the United States.

“I do not think it’s inevitable,” Keating said.

(See Tom Roeder, “NORTHCOM Chief Says Attack Not Inevitable,” Colorado Springs Gazette, October 6, 2006)

I’m sure no one in the audience of 1,500 industry types who feed at the trough of homeland security was particularly thrilled with Keating’s remark.

Not to worry though the Admiral said that NORTHCOM was still working aggressively on disaster preparedness

“If we do this right,” he said, “you’re just going to get aid.”

Financial aid that is.


The Vigilant Shield 07 Exercise Scenario

by William M..  Arkin

Supplement to Early Warning blog posting for October 6, 2006

(From the Vigilant Shield 07 exercise scenario, taken from U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) briefing documents dated August 2006.  The material in brackets is added by the author to explain acronyms.

Irmingham = Iran
Nemazee = North Korea
Ruebek = Russia
Churya = China

William M. Arkin)

“• Road to Conflict (RTC): 11 Sep – 15 Oct 06

 – Initial Irmingham Enrichment I&W [indications and warning]
 – Initial Ruebeki & Irmingham Involvement
 – Ruebek I&W, PACFLT [U.S. Pacific Fleet] Sub Deployments
 – Initial Nemazee ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] I&W
 – Initial MHLD [homeland defense?] I&W
 – Strategic IO [information operations (cyber warfare)] operations (Ruebek & Churya)
 – Ruebek & Irmingham Conduct Joint AD [air defense] Exercise

• Phase 1 / Deployment: 4 – 8 Dec 06

 – Rogue LRA [Russian long-range aviation] w/CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile] Launch
 – Continue Monitoring Strategic Situation
 – Continue Monitoring Nemazee Situation

  • Possible Nuclear Testing
  • Probable ICBM Preparation
 – Continue Monitoring MHLD Situation
  • Five VOIs [vessels of interest]
  • Churya Flagged VOI into Dutch Harbor Supports BMDS [ballistic missile defense system] Threat to Ft Greely

 – Continue Monitoring IO Activities
 – Nemazee Conducts SLV [space launch vehicle] Launch – 8 Dec 06

• Phase 2 Minus 42 Days:

 • Additional Nemazee ICBM Shipments to Launch Facilities
 • RMOB [Russian main operating bases] Acft Conduct LR Navigation Flights
 • AS-15 [nuclear armed cruise missile] Handling at RMOBs

 – Minus 41 Days:
  • Additional Nemazee ICBM Preps at Launch Pad # 2
 – Minus 40 Days:
  • Activity at Nemazee Nuclear Test Facilities
 – Minus 35 Days:
  • DOS [Department of State] Travel Warning
 – Minus 30 Days:
  • Ruebek LRA Deploys Acft to Anadyr & Vorkuta

• Phase 2 Minus 30 Days:

 • Growing International Condemnation of Ruebek
 • Ruebek Deploys Submarines

 – Minus 20 Days:
  • Nemazee Recalls Reservists
 – Minus 14 Days:
  • DOS Draw-down Sequencing
 – Minus 13 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
 – Minus 11 Days:
  • Nemazee Conducts Fueling of Additional ICBMs
  • Ruebeki Presidential Statement on Possible US Attack

• Phase 2 Minus 10 Days:

 • POTUS Addresses Congress on War Powers Act

 – Minus 6 Days:
  • Ruebek President Calls “Situation Grave”
 – Minus 5 Days:
  • CALCM Activity at Anadyr, Vorkuta, and Tiksi
  • Ruebeki SS-25 [nuclear armed mobile ICBMs] Conduct out of Garrison Deployments
  • Nemazee Assembling ICBM for Probable Launch
 – Minus 4 Days:
  • Ruebek Closes US Embassy in Washington DC
  • Ruebek Acft Conduct Outer ADIZ [air defense identification zone] Pentrations
  • Mid-Air Collison w/NORAD Acft During ADIZ Penetration

• Phase 2 Minus 4 Days:

 • Nemazee ICBM Launch Azimuth Threatens US

 – Minus 3 Days:
 • NATO Diplomatic Efforts Fail to Diffuse Crisis
 • USAMB to Ruebek Recalled for Consultation
 • POTUS Addresses Nation
 – Minus 2 Days:
 • Nemazee Leadership Movement
 – Minus 1 Day:
 • Ruebek Expels US Mission

• Phase 2 / Execution: 10 – 14 Dec 06

 – Pre-Attack I & W
 – Imminent Terrorist Attack on Pentagon Suggests Pentagon COOP [continuity of operations plan]
 – Nemazee Conducts 2 x ICBM Combat Launches Against United States
 – Ruebek Conducts Limited Strategic Attack on United States
  • Wave 1 – 8 x Bear H Defense Suppression w/CALCM
  • Wave 2 – Limited ICBM & SLBM Attack
 – 2 x ICBM Launched (1 impacts CMOC [Cheyenne Mountain], 1 malfunctions)
 – 2 x SLBM Launched Pierside (1 impacts SITE-R [“Raven Rock” bunker on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border], 1 malfunctions)
 – 3 x Bear H from Dispersal Bases w/ALCM (Eielson AFB, CANR, Cold Lake)
 – US Conducts Limited Retaliatory Attack on Ruebek
  • 1 x ICBM C2 Facility
  • 1 x ICBM Against ICBM Launch Location
  • Phase 2 / Execution:
 – Ruebek Prepares Additional Attack on United States
  • Wave 3 – Prepares for Additional Strategic Attacks
  – 1 x ICBM Movement, NO Launch
  – 3 x SLBM PACFLT Pierside Missile Handling Activity (NO Launch)
  – 6 x BEAR H (launch & RTB [return to base]) w/6 x ALCM (NO launch)”


Articles by: William M Arkin

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