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Naval Postgraduate School - The Zefra Scenario

Background for the Analytic Wargaming Course

Commander South Asia and Pacific Command (SAPCOM) - Summary

The crisis in Zefra caught you and your staff a bit off guard. There was a new election in Zefra a few months back, and the feeling was that things would settle a bit. But now things are getting hotter. Due to international pressure to confront the touching news stories of the problems in Zefra, the UN has backed a coalition force to re-estabish some form of normality.

The US agreed to see the UN-supported coalition joint task force deploy to Zefra and Daloon to deal with things. To get agreement at the UN Security Council the US arranged a side agreement with China, that no US forces would be part of the coalition mission. The Russian economy is in tatters so Russia offered to abstain as long as this was framed as Vladimir Putin taking a role as "peacemaker". With the China-US side agreement, China was prepared to abstain as well, allowing the UN force to deploy.

For this area, you are the main military advisor to the National Command Authority: the Commander of the South Asia and Pacific Command (SAPCOM). You have a geographic combatant command created from the southern part of what was PACOM (US Pacific Command). PACOM retains responsibility for mainland China, Taiwan, and everything north of the equator. You have military resources in the area, but you must assign their missions with care. It is clear that Zefra and the Coral Sea are potential flashpoints. Your moves will be watched with considerable attention in Washington, and in Beijing.

The US leadership has discussed various roles for the US.

The political advisors to the President are well aware of the fine balance between showing early success in Zefra and ensuring that lives of American service personnel are not risked needlessly. The fact that the presidental election in November this year (2020) gives whatever move you make strong political overtones in a domestic sense. White House advisors will be screaming for your blood if any such moves will damage the President's chances of re-election.

Objectives

To accomplish missions as assigned by the National Command Authority

To provide the Commander in Chief with the best available military advice.

To deal firmly with any challenges to freedom of navigation and to US support to allies and friends, especially challenges from China

To demonstrate US leadership throughout the region.

Criteria for Decision Making

Ensure, where possible, the safety and well being of American service personnel and of US citizens.

Do what is in the best interest of American foreign policy.

Provide assistance to allies, to friendly nations, and to others... in that order.

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).