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Naval Postgraduate School - The Zefra Scenario

Background for the Analytic Wargaming Course

Commander of PLA Naval Task Force "South Pacific" (Chinese)

The Chinese navy has a task force in the South Pacific conducting a series of friendly port visits. This is part of China's initiative to demonstration friendly relations with governments of the islands of the South Pacific.

Recently China became very concerned about the unrest in Zefra and its potential to spread to Daloon. China has commercial interests in both counties.

In Zefra the nuclear power plants were constructed by Chinese engineers and a cadre has remained to keep the plants operating.

From time to time Chinese forces have trained in Zefra, thanks to an ongoing cordial relationship with Zefran leaders and with the military forces of Zefra. This has been limited to small units, e.g., infantry company level, to ensure no one sees it as too agressive.

For convenience small groups of personnel of the PLA Air Force are stationed at air bases in Zefra to assist Chinese transport aircraft that support these frequent military training exercises. This amounts to about 50 personnel commanded by an Air Force major at each of two air bases. They have small arms for self protection. They have some equipment, but it is only for loading and unloading transport aircraft.

For many years China has been investing in the recently discovered natural gas fields off the East coast of Daloon. While Chinese relations with the Daloon government are not as cordial as they are with the Zefran government, the people of Daloon have benefited greatly from the Chinese investment. The support to the natural gas industry has resulted in a considerable boost to the employment of Daloon citizens.

When the problems in Zefra were taken to the UN, China initially saw a UN-supported coalition force as a low-cost option to protect Chinese workers in Zefra, and potentially in Daloon as well. The main concern was that the coalition force would be led by the US, with a considerable number of US troops arriving in Zefra. When the US administration offered a side deal that US forces would not be part of the coalition in return for China refraining from vetoing the initiative at the Security Council, this seemed like an excellent bargain to deal with Zefra without US interference. However, it now appears that informal links between the US and the UN-led coalition force will result in considerable US influence after all. This amounts to a violation of the China-US side agreement in principle, if not in law. Many in Beijing are saying: "Typical of the Americans... they just cannot resist interfering where they have no business!"

If required see orders of battle for own and potentially hostile forces

Objectives

Follow orders from Beijing... and do not deviate!

Keep Beijing advised of the local conditions as they develop, particularly in terms, first, of US Navy and Air Force activity, and second, of the moves by the UN-backed coalition forces.

Criteria for Decision Making

Comply with orders from the Central Committee in Beijing.

Ensure that US forces do not get the upper hand.

Monitor the UN-sponsored coalition force (Combined Joint Task Force Zefra) to ensure it operates independent of any US forces and with no influence from US SAPCOM.

The Zefra Scenario

Read on for a summary. Details are in the full Zefra Scenario.

Geopolitical Context Map of Geographic Factors

Map of the Geopolitical Context

Zefra and Daloon share the island home called Capricornia. International airline routes crisscross Zefra and Daloon -- Beijing to Auckland, Seoul to Wellington, Honolulu to Sydney. Most commercial shipping traffic crossing the Coral Sea passes along the coastlines of Zefra and Daloon.

Time Line -- Currently it is May, 2020

On the island of Capricornia lie the nations of Zefra (to the North) and Daloon (to the South). Since colonial days, these two nations have a mostly hostile relationship. The Zefran Civil War caused many problems before it ended in 2009.

In Zefra, the Bongo ethnic group runs the government and most commercial activity, although it represents only about 25% of the population. The new president of Zefra is from one of the Bongo tribes. The Truscan ethnic group is in the majority (about 75% of the population) but has largely been dominated by the Bongos.

Timeline of Zefran History

The civil war finally ended when the UN brokered a peace agreement that created an autonomous region under Peoples Liberation Movement/ Peoples Liberation Armed Malitia control within Zefra but adjacent to its border with Daloon. The PLM is a political group for Truscans and the PLAM is the military arm associated with the PLM.

The United Nations

The Security Council of the United Nations authorized a coalition force to deal with problems in Zefra. Called the Combined Joint Task Force Zefra (CJTFZ), this force is under British command and includes military personnel and equipment from various nations including Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are no US personnel in the coalition force: a side agreement between US and China required that the UN force would not include US forces, otherwise China was prepared veto the authorization of the force by the Security Council.

Zefra Association (ZA)

The ZA started as a government-sponsored Bongo nationalist militia. The ZA has been associated with atrocities committed on Truscans, and the Zefran government claims it has no control over the ZA.

Nuclear Technology and Ballistic Missiles

There were audits in December 2019 of spent-fuel waste from two Chinese-built nuclear sites in Zefra that suggested a considerable amount of high-grade waste (highly toxic radioactive material) was unaccounted for, as much as 140 kg.

Since Zefra has also been acquiring ballistic missile technology from North Korea, there is a potentially deadly combination of nuclear waste and a tactical ballistic missile to create a potent dirty bomb.

Peoples' Liberation Movement (PLM)/ Peoples' Liberation Armed Militia(PLAM)

The PLM is a political movement for a Truscan opposition group seeking autonomy within Zefra. The PLAM is the armed component and the dominant opposition group in Zefra. The PLAM has frequently been linked to brutal attacks on Bongos throughout Zefra.

Following the end of the Zefran Civil War, the PLAM has become independent of the PLM. It became a home for Truscans who wanted to take the fight to their Bongo neighbours, by any means available. In the last few years, with a number of bloody stains on its reputation, the PLAM has frequently been described as a rogue element.

Daloon

Daloon In its own response, the government of Daloon sought to secure its borders. Several European nations provided some limited assistance to Daloon in the form of military training assistance teams and a small amount of surplus military equipment.

China

There are many Chinese nationals in both Zefra and Daloon. In Zefra there are Chinese engineers at the nuclear power plants. There are also Chinese Air Force personnel on a couple of Zefran air bases where they conduct loading and unloading of transport aircraft that have been flying in with support for small-unit training that Chinese ground forces have been conducting in Zefra.

The "South Pacific" Task Force of the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) are cruising in the general area. They were recently making peaceful port visits to friendly nations. Now they are concentrating on the problems of Zefra.

The United States

The President is running for re-election in November 2020 and needs to consider operations in the area very carefully. The South Asia and Pacific Command (SAPCOM) is the combatant command responsible for the area. The SAPCOM commander provides military advice to the National Command Authorities on how to handle military activity in and around Zefra.

The Media

Journalists around the world have been focused on Zefra for some months now. Images of crying children in refugee camps and sites of atrocities have been been front page news. CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Al Jazeera have all deployed television crews to cover Zefra and Daloon. Most major newspapers also have reporters there. Meanwhile Zefra and the White House reaction have been on the agenda of the Sunday morning talk shows for several weeks now. Most commentators are asking why the US is standing by in the face of such pain and suffering.

TOKEN Counter-threat Corporation

TOKEN is a private military company that has had a presence in both Zefra and Daloon for many years. With its headquarters in Macau, the top management of TOKEN have a merky relationship with political forces in Beijing.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) -- a Non-Governmental Organization

Many NGOs have a presence in Zefra, Daloon, or both. The mission of most of these is to relieve the suffering of civilians, e.g., refugees and internally displaced persons. The NGOs run hospitals and other medical facilities. Some NGOs also have sites where civilians can be provided safety, and food, water, and clothing.

One particularly well known NGO is Médecins Sans Frontières or "Doctors without Borders". MSF generally keeps an arms-length relationship with governments and military forces. The rationale is that MSF must be widely viewed as aloof from all sides of a conflict. If any side perceives MSF personnel to be favoring some other side, then they can become vulneable. MSF believes their staff will be safer if they show no bias towards any of the sides in the conflict.

Important Geographical Factors

Map of Geographical Factors

The map shows two nuclear reactor sites, refugee camps south of the Zefra-Daloon border, a military exclusion zone along the border patrolled by Daloon, new sources of scarce water, desalination plants along the coast, gas fields off the East coast of Daloon. The two air bases shown have small numbers of Chinese air force personnel (about 50 personnel each).