The 805th Combat Training Squadron, also known as the Shadow Operations Center – Nellis, hosted its second annual ShOC Flag event at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 5-9, 2022.
The event’s primary purpose was to analyze decision-making in a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command scenario to gather insights into operational and tactical command and control processes.
“The Air Force has identified some pretty significant command and control challenges when we apply our current way of doing business in a scenario versus a peer adversary,” said Col. Aaron Gibney, 505th Combat Training Group commander. “To get after these gaps, the ShOC-N has established an environment where we measure old-way versus new-way, old-toy versus new-toy, and start accelerating our ability to C2 the war—during deliberate planning and dynamic execution. These insights will inform future requirements and acquisition strategies, as well as our approach to tactics and training.”
The 805th CTS pitted current warfighter systems and procedures against new technologies to gather insights and streamline operational and tactical C2 processes to speed up the kill-chain and decision-making timeline. The objective of ShOC Flag was to gather warfighter feedback and stakeholder involvement while showcasing key technologies ready for rapid acquisition decisions, accelerating the planning cycle, providing information superiority and decision advantage, and compressing the decision-making timeline.
These experimental efforts, along with showcasing developing technology on the horizon for the warfighter and the lessons learned from ShOC Flag, have contributed to proofing the current capabilities of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System Battle Lab to instrument data to the Joint All Domain Command and Control ability, compress C2 planning, and execution to accelerate decision-making across the kill chain.
Planning for the event began over six months ago with collaboration between the 805th CTS, Secretary of the Air Force’s Studies and Analysis team, Headquarters Air Force ABMS Cross-Functional team, Rapid Capabilities Office, Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, 505th Command and Control Wing, and industry partners.
With stakeholder’s objectives in mind, the 805th CTS built a three-day, three-scenario experiment intended to satisfy all stakeholders and provide warfighters with the opportunity to work through very complex and dynamic targeting processes against peer adversaries.
During the experiment, the ABMS team, in partnership with the SECAF’s Studies and Analysis team, conducted a ground-breaking battle management experiment which will allow the Air Force to identify credible capability improvements. This foundational event was a success and set in motion a repeatable process for discerning requirements aimed at the SECAF’s Operational Imperatives.
Separately, the PACAF and ACC teams were using the experiment to learn about capabilities advertised as ready for operations, one of which was the Tactical Operations Center prototypes using a joint long-range fires scenario.
Participants used constructive modeling and simulation data to simultaneously utilize current and future technologies in a simulated deployed combat environment. The event also created an opportunity for the tactical air control party Agile Control Integration Team, or ACIT, to demonstrate its capability as a mobile C2 platform.
ShOC Flag also allowed industry partners to showcase their technology by enabling the warfighter to have hands-on use and provide direct feedback to mission partners.
“This level of feedback is critical in ensuring next-generation technologies meet the needs of the warfighter,” said Lt. Col. John Ohlund, 805th CTS commander.
A member of the ABMS CFT stated this event is the only one all year where you have this many levels of command and different C2 communities come together to have these kinds of important conversations.
In 2023, ShOC Flag events will be renamed ShOC Capstone events as the event’s emphasis shifts from advanced training to the culmination of experimentation events. The next capstone event, scheduled for December 2023, will result from the 805th CTS continuing to construct and execute smaller instrumentation experiments throughout the year.