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 October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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>