Defense

July 25, 2014

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Tags:
SSgt. Siuta B. Ika
Nellis AFB, Nev.

Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communications backgrounds, AOC members, who each have a specific task to fill in distinct cells ranging from combat plans and operations to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, are charged with providing operational-level command and control during Red Flag exercises.

For many airmen, participating in Red Flag means working long hours in the sun loading munitions and launching aircraft for combat training operations. But away from the flightline and the war that rages over the skies of the Nevada Test and Training Range, a select group of analysts and operators fight a battle of information and communication in the cyber realm.

Members of the Air and Space Operations Center, or AOC, are charged with providing operational-level command and control during Red Flag exercises, which includes developing and publishing air tasking orders and air space control orders, along with providing intelligence to the tactical players of the exercise.

When assets go to war, think of the pointy end of the spear as the tactical assets ñ all the supplies, airlift that goes to support them, logistics, maintenance, etc. ñ and somewhere behind them is the AOC going through the other processes, said Lt. Col. George Truman, Red Flag 14-3 AOC combat operations chief assigned to the 612th AOC, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

While Red Flag remains the premier joint air combat exercise, most missions don’t actually take place in the air, explained Col. John Schaefer, 612th AOC commander.

It’s a large-scale exercise, [between] 500 to 1,000 sorties [are flown] every day. Part of those are real aircraft flying ñ about 60 sorties ñ the other 400-900 sorties are virtualÖ so the war we’re fighting is much bigger than the one live aircraft are, Schaefer said.

Armed with personnel from intelligence and communications backgrounds, AOC members each have a specific task to fill in distinct cells ranging from combat plans and operations to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

What makes us unique is we are a focused training environment, so what that means is we have dedicated subject matter experts that provide operational-level expertise to AOCs that come in to receive training at Red Flag, said Donald Russell, 505th Test Squadron Combined Air and Space Operations Center-Nellis exercise planner. Right now we have personnel here from the 612th AOC, 608th from Barksdale, La., 601st from Tyndall, Fla., and [National] Guard and Reserve units from across the U.S. supporting as well. We merge all those capabilities together from different AOCs and we provide this exercise as a training opportunity.

The training that AOC personnel receive at Red Flag is invaluable, Schaefer said.

It’s about integrating all spectrums across air power. If a flying participant sees a tactical problem, that problem is usually a little bit bigger than they can handle, and that’s intentional because we want to train to the limits of our abilities, Schaefer said. It has been really impressive to watch the tactical players, the young pilots, kind of figure out that this problem’s bigger and they need help, than watch my guys use their training to bring in Army assets, or Navy assets, or whatever is needed to fill in the gaps. Together, when all that airpower is integrated, we can solve the problems Red Flag presents.
As more areas of Red Flag exercises become contested and challenged, the AOC will only grow in importance, Truman said.

For decades Red Flag has been very flying centric, but the more we integrate space and integrate cyber operations, the more effective we’re going to be, he said. The tactical players want to fly their jets, we want them to do that too, but if someone takes out their ability to maintain or operate their jets for whatever reason than we need to practice what to do to help them.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>