Those staffs control the battalion via radios, maps
and computers in a room.
“They report the locations and move the units on
the constructive play game board, which is inside a
computer simulation,” Kennedy said. “Constructive
units are a staff moving icons on a computer-generated
map going against a computer-generated enemy.
“Live units are, no kidding, a full-up unit out there
with their radios, with their vehicles, with all the logis-
tical requirements and problems that come with that,”
he said. “They are maneuvering on the open desert.”
Live play means more realistic situations than most
“When you’re in the constructive arena, everybody
has good comms,” Kennedy said. “If your comm head-
set doesn’t work, you can lean around the partition and
tell your higher headquarters.”
But “when you’re on the desert floor, there are miles
and miles of separation, and all these awful mountains
we have out here that seem to defy line-of-sight studies
and create a lot of headaches for communications offi-
cers,” he said. “So the command and control challenges
of managing and fighting the fight with a live force are
exponentially greater than those in a constructive world.
“No one in the history of ever has taken a wrong
turn on the constructive computer simulation and
screwed things up,” Kennedy added. “Unfortunately,
Still, constructive play will
remain part of MAGTF training and
the MAGTF Staff Training Program
helping coach unit commanders.
“Constructive is useful,” Kennedy
said, noting it enables planning and
command and control of a force
using the full range of its weaponry,
from aircraft and missiles to tanks
and artillery, and dealing with added
stresses and headaches when things
really do not go as planned.
“Even with the land expansion,
Twentynine Palms is not a large
enough land mass to contain the
effects of weapons and weapons
systems that an expeditionary
brigade comes with,” he said.
The expansion provides room for the ground combat element, but it’s just not enough for the air combat
“So constructive play becomes very, very useful” to
put the staff through the drill of planning and execut-
ing as a MAGTF,” he added. “In constructive play, we
can play the playing field as wide as we can play it.”
Kennedy said constructive play also lets coalition forces
train with Marines without the cost or logistical demands
of bringing troops, vehicles, aircraft or equipment “but
[for] their staffs to get the benefit of being a part of a multi-
national organization that’s doing a real mission.”
LSE- 15 was to include command staffs and troops
from Mexico, Britain and Japan.
It has been many years since the Marine Corps did
“live” brigade-sized exercises, Kennedy said.
“I think we’re going to have a pretty good learning
curve as we open this up and start learning about it,”
The permanent addition also will ease the busy
training tempo at Twentynine Palms. Other units, particularly with 1st Marine Division, will have access to
train in the shared area during the 30-day periods.
“Parts of the base that we already have are in high
demand,” Kennedy said. “There is a lot of demand on
our range space, and the land expansion is going to
allow us to loosen some.” ;
Marine Corps LCpL Nathaniel Malicoat, radio operator with 1st Platoon,
Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, performs a communication
check during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel mission in response
to a scenario-based incident during an Integrated Training Exercise aboard
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 1.