Feeds

UK invades California in cyber MMORPG wargame

Walk softly and carry a thin pipe

Boost IT visibility and business value

All next week a worldwide virtual war is being fought. Soldiers, warships, jets, and unmanned drones from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are combining in cyberspace to form "Task Force BISON," which will join NATO's "Task Force ATLANTICA" to mount massive amphibious landings in a conflict-stricken West African warzone.

In the simulated world, however, the western USA takes the place of Africa. California becomes the fictional country "Arnollia," bounded to the north by the "Wassegon Republic" and to the east by the expanionist, aggressive nation of "Nevatan".

In the wargame, evil Nevatan plans to destabilise neighbouring governments and seize control of "Terrizona" are thwarted in all-out war by the hard-charging Task Force BISON. British marines storm the beachhead at San Diego, capturing the vital harbour so heavy armoured units can move ashore.

The 101st Airborne division, in a bold move, seizes Las Vegas from the troops of the corrupt dictatorship. Bush-hatted ANZACs stand firm in the face of a determined enemy push out of Salt Lake City. In a final drive, the coalition nations thrust north, shrugging off Scud missile strikes, and - guess what - discover a stockpile of WMDs. It's a resounding victory for democracy. To the north, the coffeehouse republic of Wassegon is stabilised and restored to peace and democracy by a relatively wussy NATO humanitarian mission.

As the fictional Africa/America explodes into violence, all round the world the relevant national governments are kept in instant touch with their troops on the ground. Satellite channels and radio networks join up to link the lowliest grunt in his tank all the way back to the prime minister in his capital-city war room back home.

The whole scenario is virtual, set up as background to the 2007 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID). CWID is a combination of massively-multiplayer worldwide role-play wargame, sales expo, and networking test.

Most of the UK network nodes - paratrooper headquarters, air planning cells, theatre command etc - are set up as though for real, in tents and military vehicles far from civilisation and cut off from the worldwide telecommunications grid. The difference is that these locations are all in a field a little north of Portsmouth, at the Portsdown West facility of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, DSTL.

The "Theatre HQ" tents have a dish connecting the British forces back to the UK via the new Skynet 5A satellite; the signal comes back to earth again at the other end of the site. A hundred metres across the field are the fighting unit command posts, connected to theatre HQ by "Falcon" and "Cormorant" terrestrial data-link vehicles. In reality these might well be several countries away. For CWID 07, theatre HQ in coastal Arnollia would be communicating with force commanders battling the Nevatan invaders hundreds of miles into the dark interior of the continent.

From there the data flows onward and downward to ordinary troops via their new "Bowman" battle net - or "radio cloud" as the military comms people prefer to call it. Again, all the players are within yards of each other; footsore military-tech hacks were able to walk round all the locations in 90 minutes during the CWID press event on Wednesday, gaily leaping across cyberspace oceans and borders amid a babel of acronyms from the cheerful MoD minders and guides.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.