Empire Challenge – Coalition ISR/ISTAR Integration Event
Client: UK MoD and US Joint Forces Command / US NGA
Contract Date: 2011
Empire Challenge is a US-led, Coalition integration series of demonstrations, which over the past 5 years has become the premiere multi-intelligence ISR/ISTAR test and evaluation event. Empire Challenge is unusual in that it combined elements of capability development, test and evaluation, and R&D, whilst retaining sufficient exercise activity to enable the rapid development of improved Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Coalition forces deployed to Afghanistan. Along with the US, Australia and Canada, the UK is a member of the core group for the planning, execution, assessment and reporting for Empire Challenge; NATO NC3A and ACT also play a significant role, with certain of the other ISAF member nations also participating. Empire Challenge 11 took place in May and June 2011, with key focus areas of improving information availability to the warfighter, and expanding Coalition/Multi-national and ‘whole of government' information sharing.
Over the past 5 years, 3SDL has supported the UK MoD, US Joint Forces Command and the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in various roles within the event. The roles have included all aspects of planning support, the execution of operational roles during the live event itself, and participation in the assessment and reporting of the activity. During Empire Challenge 10, 3SDL support was pivotal to the UK’s participation in the event and enabled the successful achievement of the UK’s objectives. Our staff supported the entire planning process from concept development to deployment, sustainment and repatriation of UK military forces and equipment to Arizona for the event itself. 3SDL personnel assisted in the design and development of the event scenario and Master Scenario Events List, and also authored the Airspace documentation, including Special Instructions and Rules of Engagement.
The 3SDL team was fully embedded into the execution of the event, holding pivotal ‘Battle Management’ and ‘Event Control’ roles, and we were pleased to receive plaudits from senior UK MoD and US DoD staff in doing so. At the same time, our UK-based team enabled the successful demonstration of a ‘reach back’ exploitation capability at the Air Warfare Centre, and went on to assist in the execution of a limited objective event, focussed on the development of Coalition Shared Database technology. Through our performance and delivery in every Empire Challenge event since 2006, 3SDL staff have established excellent relationships with the senior planning staffs of the major nations involved, and we have demonstrated time and again that we are the team that can get things done. We are known throughout the event as a ‘can do’, mission-focussed team, and we are looking forwards to supporting the event in the future.
Team member with a UAV