As the United States and its allies shift their focus away from counter-terrorism operations and toward the looming possibility of near-peer level warfare, a massive series of war games is about to commence in the desert training grounds of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms in California.

Ten thousand Marines, sailors, and troops from allied nations have descended upon the America’s largest military training area, making this the largest such exercise in decades. The idea isn’t just to pit these war fighters against one another, but to allow force on force training against opponents with comparable technological capabilities — a stark contrast from combat operations against poorly equipped insurgent groups that often hid among civilian populations.  The drills are being called the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise, or MWX.

“An exercise of this scale – force-on-force, multi-regiment outfitted with significant information operations and [unmanned-aerial system] assets – hasn’t been conducted in the Marine Corps in my lifetime,” Maj. Gen. David Furness, 2nd Marine Division’s commanding general, said in the release.