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What is the US military's Exercise Internal Look?

Perhaps more than anything else, Internal Look is a warning to Iraq.

Though US officials deny suggestions that it is a rehearsal for war or saber rattling, Exercise Internal Look is certainly a chance for the US to address any command and control wrinkles ahead of a possible conflict with Iraq.

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Internal Look is a biennial exercise that tests the command, control, and communications ability of US Central Command (CentCom), the US's military intelligence base, and its component command centers. It tests how well CentCom can guide air, land, and sea forces in times of war and how well CentCom and its other command centers communicate with each other.

The military has set up a high-tech, $58 million portable command center at the as-Sayliyah army base in Qatar from which it will run computer-assisted war games. Details of the exercise are classified. It is clear, however, that only senior officers and their staff are involved. Combat troops are not participating.

The main goal is for Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of CentCom, to do everything in Qatar that he can do from CentCom headquarters in Tampa, Fla. This is the first time this exercise is being held outside of the continental US.

The all-day simulations began Monday and will last seven to 10 days. The mobile command and communications equipment will remain after the exercise has been completed.

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