Using the DATE
DATE World, with its four regions (Africa, Caucasus, Europe, and Pacific), is constructed using real-world conditions to challenge unit training objectives. The OEs present in the regions are composites based on data and analysis of global OEs to provide foundational OEs that can be adapted to fit the training requirements of any training event across multiple domains.
The conditions described through PMESII-PT variables offer insight into each fictitious country’s dynamic, and multidimensional environment. The conditions described for each country create a local and strategic narratives based upon global conditions which enables the interweaving across the DATE World regions.
The force structures provided for each actor (both state and non-state) provides a baseline for developing a scenario specific Order of Battle for exercise implementation. The force structures provided through ODIN are not task-organized and can be adjusted as necessary to meet training and exercise objectives (e.g., an exercise may require ADA to be pushed to lower echelons. ADA resident in Olvana DIV FS can be task organized down to BN, etc.).
DATE World foundational content is intended to provide scenario and exercise designers with the basis for their OE and OE Assessment products described in TC 7-101, Exercise Design. The DATE Knowledge Base is also intended to enable home-station training (HTS), and provide contextualizing OE information for training participants.
What is DATE?
The intent of DATE World is to provide enough detail for scenario designers to rapidly build a plausible scenario while enabling a wide-range of variations that allow for flexibility. For example, the OE conditions provided within DATE describe the basic state of a country's economy, political system, and infrastructure that can be scaled in ways that cause changes that lead to conflict or the need for intervention. At the designer's discretion, any DATE country could be allied or belligerent with any of the other DATE countries. However, per AR 350-2, however, scenario developers are explicitly restricted from using real-world countries as belligerents in DATE scenarios. DATE World consists of the following key components and characteristics:
- Composite OEs representative of real-world conditions.
- All OE conditions and actor characteristics and capabilities are realistic; countries are given fictitious names for AR 350-2 (Opposing Force Program) compliance.
- Each DATE World region provides a range of geographical features and conditions with embedded realistic actors capable of fulfilling the full range of potential threat capabilities up to and including near-peer and pacing threats.
- DATE World provides the conditions required to effectively train for Multi-Domain Operations (MDO).
- DATE World provides the conditions needed to realistically and effectively challenge ANY Army task.
- DATE World provides the foundation for a variety of realistic challenges to collective tasks.
- DATE World provides complex OEs with and includes actors that can serve as adversaries that can be employed to challenge any unit’s training objective.
- DATE World is Dynamic – regularly updated to incorporate new conditions, and any updated military organizations, systems, and capabilities.
- DATE World is Scalable – scale to level of complexity based on training objectives.
The Changing Character of Warfare
Each DATE OE incorporates conditions derived from TP 525-92 “The Changing Character of Warfare.” This document is the TRADOC G-2’s view of the current and near-term strategic environment. The goal is to highlight the most significant global conditions and related military implications.
TRADOC G-2 uses TP 525-92 to frame all OE work across the Army. Because only when the conditions of the OE are captured, understood, and factored into Army decision-making, can realistic training occur, the correct mix of systems and capabilities be determined, and the proper approaches to leader development and education be identified and implemented across the Army. Thus, each DATE conditional framework is designed to optimize desired learning or training objectives within the Army Learning Model use for training, education, and leader development in both the operational and institutional domains.
- Potential for adversary overmatch - Overmatch is the application of adversary capabilities or unique techniques with the intent to prevent or mitigate U.S. forces tactics or equipment.
- Increased momentum of human interaction and events - Meeting the challenge of increased momentum will require the Army to integrate capabilities in time, space, and purpose to adapt quickly to momentum shifts.
- Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) - Solving future WMD challenges require ground forces that have the ability to endure for the considerable amounts of time in inhospitable conditions.
- Demographics and operations among populations in complex terrain - With continuing worldwide urbanization; populations in dense urban terrain will be a pervasive condition for future Army operations.
Multi-Domain Operations (MDO)
The DATE World framework reflects the five main characteristics of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) conducted in multiple environments (arctic, sub-arctic, jungle, mountains, littoral and urban environments that include mega-cities) across tropic, temperate, dry and continental climate zones that are likely to impact land force operations in the future.
- Conditions within DATE are competition based, however they are intended to lay the foundation for scenarios based in competition, crisis, conflict, and change.
- DATE World was originally designed for training focused on the Land Domain, however it is constantly being updated to integrate conditions needed to represent and replicate all domains (air, land, maritime, space, and cyberspace) in the training OE.
- Increased integration of the cyber and space domains - As part of MDO, the cyber and space domains increasingly impact land force operations.
How to Use the DATE
DATE World is a tool for the training community to use across training events ranging from rotations at the Combat Training Centers (CTCs) to individual home station training (HST) events. It is the baseline document for all the conditions and characteristics of the Operational Environment (OE) in the selected region. Exercise planners should use this document for all exercise and scenario design requirements.
DATE was developed and designed to enable flexibility and creativity in its application. Not all conditions present in DATE World need to be represented during each training event. Specific training requirements should drive the scenario development and conditions replicated. If additional description or detail is needed for a given condition, each exercise planner can add that condition into the narrative. The intent is for DATE World to provide a stable baseline of conditions—including group naming conventions and associated conditions—while allowing for any additional narrative to be added as required by the training tasks. Fundamentally changing the basic nature of an operational variable in an OE will increase inconsistencies across the other variables and diminish the integrity of the DATE World OE as a whole.
DATE World provides representations of real world conditions – Scenario Developers and trainers then replicate those conditions in training.
Examples of Consistent and Inconsistent Alterations to DATE content:
|Consistent - Adding helpful detail to an operational variable in an OE||Inconsistent - Fundamentally changing the basic nature of an operational variable in an OE|
See also TC 7-101 Exercise Design.
Divergent Aspects of DATE from real-world OEs.
The dual and competing purposes of the DATE are to 1) provide a complex set of realistic training situations that a unit could face and 2) standardize a multipurpose exercise operational environment to reduce the "backstory learning curve" for exercise participants and the opposing forces (OPFOR). TC 7-101 discusses the issues the command and training community should consider before deciding on the use of DATE or a more MRX-oriented training event.
While describing OE variables requires some historical narrative, the DATE Knowledge Base has intentionally reduced the timelines seen in earlier DATE products. More detailed historical discussions may be helpful for particular OE assessments or "roads to war," however placing them in the overall body of DATE material would reduce the DATEs flexibility by fixing relationships between certain countries. Historical discussions are only used to provide a plausible rationale for why a condition may or may not exist.
Two different categories of dates exist in this document. The first are “fixed” dates, which are those that have a specific day/month/year. An example is the Council of Guardians Revolution in Ariana, which took place in early 1979. Fixed dates do not change with the passage of time. The second category is "sliding" dates, which are described as having occurred a certain number of years ago. An example is the Four Traitors incident in Donovia, which happened 20 years ago. Sliding dates change with the passage of time: an exercise held in 2014 would place the Four Traitors incident in 1994, while one held in 2023 will place the Four Traitors incident in 2003. With few exceptions, all post-1989 dates are sliding dates. The timelines provided in the Time variable of each OE are broken out by fixed and sliding dates for convenience, but some overlap of the two may occur.
The fictitious OEs of the DATE exist in four different, yet interconnected geographic regions. It may be frustrating that some territory adjacent to the DATE OEs is "grayed out" and only vaguely described in the narratives. This does not mean that these countries cannot be played in DATE scenarios. On the contrary, both the terrain and actors can be played as long as they countries are played as themselves, and as members of a coalition with the US, not as belligerents or members of the belligerent’s coalition.
DATE developers broadened their geographic considerations to better reflect the differing conditions seen around the world. In addition, the intent is that an exercise designer can use as much or as little of each DATE framework as they require. For example, an exercise using DATE Africa as a base can have elements from across the DATE World, such as Olvana exerting economic influence by investing in the development of a nation’s infrastructure, or, alternatively, they might just utilize the relationship between two DATE Africa OEs such as Amari and Kujenga.
The only nations in play for designers are our own forces (US and exercise partners) and DATE countries; the exceptions are the real-world European countries in DATE Europe, which can only be utilized as 'friendly forces', not hostile to the US or exercise partners. The United Nations and its various entities are also in play, however, the exercise participants and the DATE countries are the only acceptable force providers. Designers are free to describe relations between nations in the different DATE OEs. For example, a scenario may require Olvana, from DATE Pacific, to a military mission to Amari, in DATE Africa. The DATE OE content sets characteristics of each nation, and the framework within which they interact, but their scenario-specific interactions can be dialed up or dialed down as needed. Some nations may seem inherently linked, such as South Torbia’s economic support Gabal in DATE, however this is simply a starting point, and scenario designers should feel comfortable creating a road to war that sees that economic relationship cease to exist. OE Combatant Commands (COCOMs): No COCOM is defined for any of the OEs in the DATE. Instead, the exercise designer determines which COCOM each country will fall under for that exercise. This allows a COCOM to either “own” the entire region or be required to engage in inter-COCOM coordination due to other COCOM(s) having responsibility for one or more of the countries used in the exercise.
Please send an email to [] if you would like to provide feedback or submit an RFI.
Continuous review and revision by DATE Stakeholders and users is essential for the DATE Knowledge Base to serve the exercise design community.
The wiki-media nature of the DATE Knowledge Base enables an easy, trackable, revision of all aspects on ODIN.
Example Errors That May Be Encountered
- internal contradiction or inconsistency between variables (e.g. a tier 1 military with a tier 5 GDP)
- factual error (usually related to the physical variable)
- aggregated conditions described do not exist in the target OE (e.g. overemphasis on one dimension within a variable skews the real story of the variable across the OE)
Example Omissions That May Be Encountered
- significant conditions in the OE not described in the DATE
- additional support required across variables to establish a plausible condition
User Driven Additions
The maintenance and development of DATE is a collaborative effort between content developers, analysts, scenario designers, and the ultimate users. If you believe that the DATE World would benefit from one of your ideas (big or small) please reach out to us. Your idea could drive future development and impact the direction of DATE World as the U.S. Army’s training OE.
Recommendations can be focused on time (history) or space (geography) within the DATE and should include rationale. Recommendations can also be focused on adding more depth to the different PMESII-PT variables used to describe the environment (e.g. providing further detail to the human domain, or specific infrastructure advances).
When providing suggestions, please try to address the following subjects:
- Explain what training tasks cannot be fully developed in an exercise without the added detail.
- Explain the conditions that you would like to incorporate, and how you believe they will help address the training tasks you mentioned.
- Try to provide real-world examples that either inform or are related to your suggestion.
Please review "Providing DATE Feedback"