« We'll cut the power, and hit them hard. Maximum aggression.
A.J. Dutton
»


A.J. Dutton is a supporting character in ArmA 3's Apex Protocol campaign.

Background

The presumed leader of CTRG Group 15, Dutton serves as the commander of all CTRG forces operating in the South Pacific region.

Going by the callsign of Watchtower, Dutton primarily works alongside Lieutenant Colonel Vince Broadale, NATO's liaison to the black ops unit. The two coordinate with one another to maintain operational tempo for any missions under the latter's jurisdiction.

« Dutton: It was unrelated to the Task Force. Not your concern.
Broadale: Looks like you just made it my concern, Major. You haven't told me everything, have you?
Dutton halts the playback on an intelligence recording retrieved by CTRG operators
»

Given the covert nature of the unit's activities however, this often results in Dutton being forced to keep Broadale in the dark to maintain secrecy.

He is also the only known officer from CTRG that appears to outrank Group 14's field commander Captain Scott Miller, though this can mostly be attributed to operational circumstances rather than actual authority.

Apex Protocol (2035)

As CSAT expansionism continues unabated throughout the South China Sea, CTRG has redoubled its efforts in focusing on counter-intelligence operations in the region. Taking charge of Group 15, Dutton has been assigned with the task of investigating the surge in the activities of an anti-government insurgency on the South Pacific nation of the Horizon Islands.

Calling itself the "Syndikat", the group had already been under investigation for some time, but its sudden rise had been particularly out of the ordinary. Dutton's team believed that CSAT special operations were possibly behind their surge, but needed more information from a local asset, codenamed Keystone. Unfortunately, Keystone had been captured by the insurgents and was being held at an unknown location. Using the cover provided by NATO's "Safe Horizon" military exercises, Dutton would thankfully have enough leeway to search for Keystone's whereabouts.

« Broadale: We've been tracking 'Syndikat' for a while. Face value? Bunch of thugs. Guns, drugs. Very violent. But - given the current mess - they're expanding.
Dutton: Nature abhors a vacuum...
Dutton discussing Syndikat's origins with LtCol. Broadale
»

On August 11th, 2035, he authorised the deployment of two teams to raid several supply caches being used by the Syndikat. The teams discovered numerous weapons caches that were clearly of Chinese and Iranian in origin, proving that CSAT were indeed backing Syndikat in some capacity. However, the teams weren't able to find traces of Keystone at any of the hideouts.

The next day, the two teams were again dispatched to central Tanoa, east of the regional capital of Georgetown. They intercepted a convoy of insurgents attempting to massacre a village, but the main priority was demolishing Syndikat caches being used to store anti-air weapons. Dutton hoped that by destroying all of his caches, "Warlock", the leader of the Syndikat, would expose himself in response.

The caches were successfully destroyed and as expected, Dutton's plan went accordingly. Another local asset by the codename of Blue Cap, revealed that Warlock was arranging a meeting with his underlings at the village of Namuvaka. Broadale suggested that his troops take over the operation but Dutton objected; timme was of the essence, if they wanted to capture Warlock alive, they had to move out now and couldn't wait for Broadale's men to mobilise.

« No time for politics. As I said: this is time sensitive. My CTRG team is here now. We'll finish the job. That being said, some heavy lifting on the logistics end would be more than welcome. You boys can take all the credit.
Dutton
»

Dutton accepted Broadale's offer to airlift them quickly to the island via VTOLs. The two teams arrived by nightfall and made their way towards the Syndikat safehouse.

However instead of finding Warlock they stumbled onto the cold corpse of the informant - Blue Cap. Suddenly, the two teams received a mysterious live video transmission of unknown black ops soldiers negotiating with Syndikat leaders. Worse yet, they could see the same soldiers moving in onto the safehouse itself. Dutton instructed the teams to stand their ground and fight off the attackers.

Once they were eliminated, the team leader inspected the operatives' corpses and reported back that they were seemingly Chinese specops, wielding prototypes that were unusual even by CSAT standards. However, there was no time to continue investigating their origins; Keystone's location had been confirmed at another Syndikat safehouse, and Dutton immediately redirected the two teams to breach it.

The safehouse was assaulted and Keystone - who was actually Capt. Miller of Group 14, was successfully retrieved. But before Keystone could be debriefed, they needed to extract him first; Dutton spotted numerous Syndikat insurgents and the mysterious Chinese specops closing in on Keystone's location. Dutton arranged for a helicopter to bring him out, but it was forced to abort after coming under heavy fire. Running out of options, Dutton dispatched a third team to extract via boats instead.

On the way back, Dutton permitted Broadale to speak directly to Miller while being debriefed. Miller revealed that their Chinese attackers were known to Group 14, and were referred to as "Viper Team". They were solely responsible for the tsunami that struck the Horizon Islands, using a seismic weapon of mass destruction known only as "Eastwind".

Miller needed to gain access to the primary "black site", a command centre on Sosovu Island being utilised by Viper to direct their activities. Dutton authorised the two teams to accompany him on the search. Along the way, they stumbled onto more signs of conflict between the Syndikat and Viper, finding only deserted hideouts with shell casings and corpses from both sides.

Eventually, the team discovered the command centre and begin transferring data and recorded footage of Warlock himself double-crossing Viper. In addition, they discovered that Viper's activities were being carried out all as part of a CSAT strategy called the "Apex Protocol": actively fuelling the Syndikat's uprising, and destabilising the country through a coordinated campaign of terror.

Dutton now knew that Eastwind was in Syndikat's hands but his whereabouts were still unclear. Fortunately, Viper Team were growing desperate and did not secure their transmissions to Warlock. The latter was holed up at the Blue Pearl Industrial Port, and was attempting to blackmail Viper into agreeing to his demands. Furthermore, it was clear that Warlock was expecting CTRG to interrupt the deal as he had already armed Eastwind.

« Speed is paramount. We'll sort out Warlock, grab the key and secure the device.
Dutton
»

With time running out, there was no need for CTRG to maintain their cover any longer. Dutton activated all of Group 15's available assets to assault the harbour directly (with Broadale's assisstance). One of the teams would cut the power to the port, while another would assassinate Warlock and retrieve the primary disarm key on him. Lastly, Miller would intercept his lieutenants and seize the secondary key needed to fully deactivate Eastwind.

The three managed to secure all objectives and were in position to disarm the device. However, Viper refused to give up and mounted an all-out offensive on the teams. CSAT VTOLs continued to drop off wave after wave of reinforcements until finally, the rest of Group 14 arrive to back up the teams on the ground. With their support, Group 15 and Miller were able to drive off Viper and secure Eastwind at long last. Dutton requisitioned one of Broadale's helicopters to slingload the device out of the port to an unknown location.

Post-Apex Protocol

« Dutton: Who's the journalist?
Miller: Mark Cole.
Dutton: He asks a lot of questions.
Miller: Yes, he does...
Dutton and Miller discussing the aftermath of the leaks
»

In the aftermath, Dutton, Miller and Broadale observed their handiwork as CTRG "leaked" information about CSAT's nefarious plans to the global media.

In the ensuing controversy - the "Apex Protocol Papers" revelations, world leaders and NATO officials united in their calls for CSAT to be held to account. With the exception of CSAT member states, the United Nations unanimously agreed to an investigation over CSAT's methodologies and soft power expansionism over the past two decades.

Four years after the Horizon Islands operation, Dutton appears to have taken up literature writing and has published at least one book. Titled Battlefield Logistics and published by Purely Books, it is a "tactical guide" on how military logistics and supply chains work, and offers his own insights on the processes based on his past experience.

Trivia

  • Dutton never appears in any of the pre-mission briefings and can only be heard through radio dialogue during Apex Protocol, making him the only named CTRG character that has not made a physical appearance thus far.
  • Given his post-Apex Protocol career in writing, whether or not he continues to serve with CTRG by mid 2039 is unclear.

See also

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