NOVEMBER 23, 2022 – U.S. Air Force Airmen supported U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Army’s Mission Command Training Program Soldiers during the Army’s first warfighter exercise to take place in the Indo-Pacific theatre concentrating on joint large-scale combat operations contested in all domains.
The team led by 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with support from the 505th Combat Training Squadron and 505th Communications Squadron based at Hurlburt Field, Florida, delivered a doctrinally accurate air component to 1,150 Soldiers and Airmen representing the Army’s I Corps, 4th Infantry Division, and 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, along with the 1st Air Support Operations Group and 13th and 25th Air Support Operations Squadrons.
The Commanding General of U.S. Army Pacific, Gen. Charles Flynn, directed Warfighter Exercise 23-1’s scenario be linked as part of a larger Unified Pacific War Game Series, to examine Army contributions to joint warfighting concepts in the a Indo-Pacific.
U.S. Army Col. Bryan Babich, MCTP commander, stated that Gen. Flynn wanted to “push the envelope” in the warfighter exercise series. “He wants to come up and come out with the outcomes that form potential gaps and what we need in terms of logistics with the [Army Prepositioned Stocks] and in terms of force structure,” Babich said.
First Corps added complexity to the exercise through their distributed command and control node concept by having Corps staff at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Yakima Training Center, Washington, and Camp Rilea, Oregon, with the intent of stressing systems and communications between the entire Joint Task Force over time and distance.
“The work and expertise of the 505th CCW truly enabled I Corps’ success in this unprecedented Warfighter,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, I Corps commander. “The Corps’ mission is inherently joint, and the 505th certainly increased our joint warfighting advantages in this consequential area of operations.”
The Indo-Pacific scenario change compelled 505th CCW personnel to drastically reassess what a doctrinally accurate air component looks like when operating in a maritime and archipelagic environment where time and distance are significant considerations. Further complicating the challenge was that the first part focused on joint forcible entry operations, meaning no forces on the ground in the area of operation when the exercise started. WFX 23-1 required the joint force to include the air component to create windows of opportunity to move onto territory in a contested environment.
During WFX 23-1, a team of 39 Airmen from the 505th CTS at Hurlburt Field, Florida, provided air operations center replication and represented full spectrum air component replication in an Indo-Pacific Command scenario for the Army training audience.
“Providing air component replication to the joint force is one of the primary mission capabilities of the 505th Combat Training Squadron,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Aarron Cornine, 505th CTS commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida. “Our warfighters must be prepared to deter aggression in the Indo-Pacific, and if need be, defeat adversaries in any domain.”
Cornine continued, “The professionals at the 505th Combat Training Squadron combine a deep experience in Air Force command and control procedures with a strong understanding of developing concepts in order to replicate the air component in a constantly evolving Pacific theater.”
During the 10-day exercise, the 505th CTS team published 138 air component planning documents to inform Army planners and facilitated 6,912 sorties to present full-spectrum airpower.
“The entire team worked incredibly hard to overcome many new and unanticipated challenges, and I think that a tremendous number of learning points will be recognized for further exploration,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Klimas, 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 commander, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The 505th CS provided and maintained air simulation and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, or C4I, systems in support of the Combined/Joint Force Air Component Commander in WFX 23-1 to aid the Army training audience, Combined/Joint Force Land Component Command, or C/JFLCC, in achieving training objectives involving airpower (fires/close air support, airspace coordination, troop movement, and logistical air supply/resupply).
“In its first use by the 505th, my team successfully established site-to-site connectivity via the Army’s Global Agile Integrated Transport network,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Alex Botardo, 505th CS commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida. “GAIT enables commands with dispersed units around the globe to maintain integrated mission command and network operations capabilities from their home station or forward deployed headquarters which further integrates the Army’s role into the joint force’s Joint All Domain Command and Control effort.”
Additionally, 505th CS provided common services (voice, email, chat, and video teleconferencing) and remote access to the C2 enclave systems for distributed operations while ensuring compliance with cybersecurity requirements.
Warfighter exercises are essential for the Army to build and maintain readiness in large-scale ground-based combat operations in multiple domains. Through WFX 23-1’s scenario, Soldiers and Airmen trained to support integrated deterrence and a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The 505th CTS and 505th CS, Hurlburt Field, Florida, report to the 505th Combat Training Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and the 505th CCW, Det 1, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, reports to the 505th CCW, which is headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
505th Command and Control Wing