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The Zefra Scenario


Read Ahead Package: Commander CJTF Zefra

The Combined Joint Task Force Zefra has a UN mandate and an Australian commander. The troop contributing nations include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Singapore, Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands. While most of military activity is expected to be land-based, CJTF Z has naval and air resources.

The military leadership in CJTF Z believes it has a handle on the situation and is sceptical that any US military action would be to the long-term benefit of CJTF Z. The commander is also concerned that too much involvement by either the United States or China will provoke the other... potentially to the level of a super-power standoff, or worse.


Mission success:

The separation of all belligerents and neutralization of forces that are creating instability, perpetrating acts of inhumanity and generating the humanitarian catastrophe. The multinational force must establish at least local cessation of hostilities and security as a prerequisite for other relief and development operations to take place.

Additional responsibilities of CJTF Z can be summarized as:

Safety of the displaced persons and refugees (mainly Truscan)

Cooperation with other agencies to maintain safety of own troops and of civilians

Return to peace and stability in Zefra

Criteria for Decision Making

Support any activity that is consistent with the mission.

As long as the main mission is not impacted, support local civilian initiatives as appropriate.

If it becomes urgent, defuse a potential superpower confrontation between the US and China.

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 had 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 Australian command and includes military personnel and equipment from various nations including Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and also Norway, Bulgaria, Singapore, and the Netherlands. The deputy commander is from 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 at 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 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.


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. There 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.

Ships of the "South Pacific" Task Force of the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is 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.


Australia agreed to lead CJTF Zefra when the government had a strong majority. But a subsequent election has placed that administration in a minority situation. The Prime Minister was always a strong supporter of the CJTF Zefra initiative. But must now defend it against substantial opposition. Any significant failures in the mission could result in the fall of the government and another national election.

New Zealand

New Zealand has been a promenent supporter of the CJTF Zefra mission. The Prime Minister sees this as an opportunity to encourage peaceful growth throughout the South Pacific, as long as all sides in the various Zefran disputes see some promise of a better future. The Prime Minister is a realist in understanding that resolution of the Zefran situation will take time and resources. Thus patience is the watchword. But others do not see it that way and are demanding quick solutions. Knowing that a long-term commitment is required and that New Zealand has limited resources for that, the Prime Minister is looking for other regional players to assume some of the burden that New Zealand has assumed.

Deployments of Technology

The coalition resources have access to systems representing advanced technologies, many that were developed from intellectual property that originated at the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group). This has allowed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to share many of these systems with its coalition partners. Also, through licencing agreements, the Asia, Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand Company (APAANZco) has assembled a wide variety of systems that it has sold widely to Pacific Rim nations. APAANZco's particular strength is in autonomous systems.

There are many sceptics around, including within the leadership of CJTF Zefra, that the benefits of such systems actually do outweigh their many drawbacks. The attitude of may army leaders is: "Give me a simple soldier every time -- I cannot rely on automated systems when lives matter." Navy leaders seem to have much the same opinion, relying on traditions of the Navy much more than on new technology. Air Force leaders however are more accepting of new technology, but are concerned if it means there will be fewer pilots in the future force.

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, Seven News, Nine News, TVNZ, 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 morning talk shows for several weeks now. In the US, most commentators are asking why America 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).