US: A $250 Million War Game And Its Shocking Outcome

Authored by Nick Giambruno via

At a cost of $250 million, Millennium Challenge 2002 was the largest and most expensive war game in Pentagon history. With over 13,500 participants, the US government took over two years to design it.

The exercise pitted Iran against the US military. Washington intended to show how the US military could defeat Iran with ease.

Paul Van Riper, a three-star general and 41-year veteran of the Marine Corps, led Iranian forces in the war game. His mission was to take on the full force of the US military, led by an aircraft carrier battle group and a large amphibious landing force in the Persian Gulf.

The results shocked everyone…

Van Riper waited for the US Navy to pass through the shallow and narrow Strait of Hormuz, which made them sitting ducks for Iran’s unconventional and asymmetric warfare techniques.

The idea is to level the playing field against a superior enemy with swarms of explosive-laden suicide speedboats, low-flying planes carrying anti-ship missiles, naval mines, and land-based anti-ship ballistic missiles, among other low-cost but highly effective measures.

In minutes, Van Riper emerged victorious over his superior opponent and sank all 19 ships. Had it been real life, 20,000 US sailors and marines would have died.

Millennium Challenge 2002 was a complete disaster for the Pentagon, which had spent a quarter of a billion dollars to set up the extensive war game. It produced the exact opposite outcome they wanted.

So what did the Pentagon do with these humbling results?

Like a child playing a video game, they hit the reset button. They then rigged and scripted the game so that the US was guaranteed to win.

After realising the integrity of the war game had been compromised, a disgusted Van Riper walked out mid-game. He then said:

“Nothing was learned from this. And a culture not willing to think hard and test itself does not augur well for the future.”

The main lesson of Millennium Challenge 2002 is that aircraft carriers—the biggest and most expensive ships ever built—wouldn’t last a single day in combat against even a regional power like Iran. Russia and China would have an even easier time dispatching them. They are overpriced toys.

That means the US has wasted untold trillions on military hardware that could prove to be worthless in a serious conflict.

Nonetheless, the US government still parades aircraft carriers around the world from time to time to try to intimidate its enemies.

However, it’s a flawed strategy prone to catastrophic results if someone calls their bluff.

While Millennium Challenge 2002 occurred more than 20 years ago, it is of paramount importance today.

Iran has substantially improved its asymmetric and unconventional warfare capabilities. It’s doubtful the US military would fare much better today than 20 years ago.

In short, the war with Iran today could be even more disastrous than the Millennium Challenge 2002 simulation.

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Zero Hedge

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