"The Biche Army began an assault across the Primrose border at 4:09 this morning. Biche state-owned news agencies are reporting the military action as a self-defence response to Primrose and Taggart's violation of Biche national sovereignty."
So read the opening sentences of a news release entitled "Primrose in Peril" a fictional statement that opened up the war scenario of Exercise Maple Flag 43. The release was "issued" by Maple Flag News, an organization that simulates an external media agency and was developed by Captain Kyle Bressette, the exercise intelligence officer.
It takes several months of planning to create an intelligence scenario complex enough to meet the training objectives of international and Canadian participants.
"I look across the world at the types of conflicts that exist as well as generalized motives for conflict such as economic, ethnic and information motives. I then consider the training objectives of participating nations and set to work developing the scenario which forms the backbone of Maple Flag," said Capt Bressette. "The scenarios have to present a complex conflict that participating nations must solve."
Meshing these objectives comes naturally to Capt Bressette because he has a personal background in following international news. "I have always invented scenarios primarily from reading real-world events and not fiction as the truth is often stranger than fiction," explains Capt Bressette. "My job as an intelligence officer is to predict what an enemy would do so I place myself in the enemy's shoes to understand how they would act and then put those thoughts into words and pictures."
After the aircraft launch from the 4 Wing air field, they fly to the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR). The Blue aircraft, which are friendly forces, fly to the east side of the CLAWR while Red Air, or enemy forces, flies to the west side of the range.
"It is sort of like a game of ‘capture the flag’ in the sense that the (Blue Air) fighters have to go tag a series of targets on the west," said Capt Bressette. The scenarios and the training form the basis of a world-class fighter exercise.
"I love working on Maple Flag because the coalition environment is exciting and the level of responsibility is high. I enjoy the challenge."
Master Corporals Remi McNamara and Jason McConnell, both intelligence operators at 4 Wing’s Air Force Tactical Training Centre, worked with Capt Bressette to develop the scenario.
The final sentences of the new release read, "Over 50 nations have already condemned the actions of the Biche military. Taggart announced plans to convene an emergency conference in the immediate future to discuss the actions of the Biche government."
As Exercise Maple Flag continues, so does the war against the fictitious country of Biche.