International military minds gather in Suffolk for Nimble Titan 24 Conflict Event
Published 11:12 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023
By Lt. Col. Alissa Modrow, Joint Functional Component Command For Integrated Missile Defense
Delegates from 20 nations and three international organizations gathered at the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation in Suffolk in mid-November for the Nimble Titan 24 Conflict Event. Sponsored by U.S. Space Command and organized and supported by the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, the event was the culmination of a series of planning and execution events over the past 18 months.
Beginning in the 1990s, Nimble Titan has evolved from a U.S. Joint Staff war game initiative to a bilateral war game with the United Kingdom, and then to a multilateral war game with the incorporation of European and Indo-Pacific countries in 2006. Growing with each iteration, Nimble Titan members currently include 25 nations spanning the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and North America as well as three international organizations and several supporting partners from across the Department of Defense.
“Given the pace of advancements in the area of missile technologies and the increasing capacity and willingness to employ these weapons by potential adversaries, it has become increasingly important to increase our cooperation with allies and partners within the area of integrated air and missile defense,” said Col. Christopher Smith, Nimble Titan campaign director. “Since the inception of Nimble Titan almost 20 years ago, we’ve seen the value of this multinational campaign of experimentation contribute to IAMD-related policies, command and control designs, and operational concepts for several of our member nations and organizations.”
Email newsletter signup
The five-day war game took place at the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation for the eighth time since 2010. Constructed in 2006, the Center for Innovation is a state-of-the-art location for U.S. and international defense organizations to conduct large-scale war games.
“Lockheed Martin is proud to collaborate with U.S. Space Command and the international IAMD community at our Center for Innovation, also known as the Lighthouse,” said Mike Taylor, operations manager, Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation.
The director of the Lighthouse, Donnie Gilley, further articulated, “Supporting experimentation campaigns like Nimble Titan is central to Lockheed Martin’s 21st Century Security vision, which aims to advance integrated deterrence and joint all-domain operations by providing the U.S. military and our allies with advanced, networked capabilities. The Lighthouse has unique resources to meet the complex, mission-focused objectives of Nimble Titan, and it has been an honor and a privilege to have been collaborating on the campaign since 2010.”
Nimble Titan is an unclassified, discussion-based, and policy-focused experiment set 10 years in the future, aimed at exploring general political and military principles that can be applied to future real-world IAMD situations. With both regional and globally focused scenarios, it is driven by specific objectives within the overall NT 24 campaign plan outlined in previous planning events.
The NT 24 Conflict Event included nearly 200 participants including a war game control group; a simulation team from the Missile Defense Agency; regional facilitators; a design, analysis and reporting team; and a policy team, as well as representatives from partner nations and organizations.
Countries were separated by region, contemplating and reacting to various regional and global adversarial events. The aim of NT 24 is to allow participants to test various courses of action in a non-attribution environment unconstrained by current policy but utilizing realistic resources and relationships.
“We try new things and if they fail, we learn to not do them in the real world,” said Perry Jago, the facilitation team lead.
Planning for NT 24 began with the Campaign Design Conference in May 2022. Subsequent design and planning workshops enabled facilitators and participating nations and organizations to set the scene and incorporate dozens of objectives into the war game events. The competition and crisis war game events drove consideration of issues that might face the world 10 years in the future, leading to this conflict event. The campaign concludes with lessons learned, a campaign report, and a senior leader event where findings and challenges are presented and guidance is provided for the next campaign.
“Nimble Titan’s role in enabling participants to share their uniquely national and regional perspectives involving policy as well as operational concepts for cooperative air and missile defense has never been more important,“ said keynote speaker Mallory Stewart, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Deterrence and Stability.
“Nimble Titan originally started as a game that looked principally at multinational BMD (ballistic missile defense) policy issues,” said Dr. Marxen Kyriss, the war game control group director. “But it has since continued its expansion to one that addresses the full range of air and missile defense threats, including everything from small un-crewed aerial systems and cruise missiles, all the way up to hypersonic weaponry.
“We have widened our aperture to explore all means of defeating this wider range of threats collectively, including political efforts and a full spectrum of military kinetic and non-kinetic effects,” Kyriss said. “But the largest indicator of Nimble Titan’s relevance is that we have continued our expansion and retention of partners from around the world. What each of them brings to the table is what really makes Nimble Titan unique and special.”
“Globally, air and missile threats continue to present exceptional challenges due to technological advancements and the proliferation of weapons that need to be countered by scarce defensive resources,” said Smith. “Nimble Titan is the single best forum for allies and partners to collectively think through these challenges — demonstrating the value of partnership, integration, and cooperative development of policy considerations and potential solutions to address future threats.”