WASHINGTON: More than 300 joint warfighters from 25 worldwide locations participated in a multinational virtual training exercise led by the 705th Combat Training Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and demonstrated it to a joint/coalition audience at the Warfighter Capability Center in the Pentagon Sept. 22.
Australia, Canada and the England representatives collaborated with 25 U.S. and overseas elements as part of Coalition Virtual Flag 09-4, a tactical-to-operational level exercise originating from the Distributed Mission Operations Center at Kirtland AFB.
The exercise focused on a more seamless joint and coalition fight and integrated training, assets and weapons from each of the services including the Air National Guard and Reserve.
An arm of the distributed warfare group at the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., the 705th CTS staff worked for more than 15 months to advance, integrate and accredit networks, tactics, and testing for operational-level command of air, space and cyber power.
“The exercise uses distributed air, land, space, and cyber scenarios to train warfighters in robust combat scenarios,” said Lt. Col. Dan Pepper, the 705th CTS director of operations. “Through this total force effort, 705th CTS links geographically separated live, virtual and constructive entities in shared joint and coalition synthetic theater environments.”
Colonel Pepper said the 705th CTS staff facilitated the network connectivity that must be on par and on pace with the exercise. The exercise allows commanders and their teams an opportunity to learn and practice a variety of command and control applications.
“This is truly a total force effort as we endeavor to document and disseminate tactics, techniques and procedures that facilitate joint and coalition warfighter training,” Colonel Pepper said.
Senior leaders at the Pentagon expressed a desire to enhance their role in these exercises.
“There is a thirst for this kind of information,” said Brig. Gen. William J. Bender, the Warfighter Systems Integration and Development director. “As we standardize DMOC, it’s clear the joint and combined community is the key to integration. We need to be able to talk to each other.”
Several distinguished visitors observed Coalition Virtual Flag in hopes of learning new training techniques they could bring back to their home stations.
“Seeing this exercise was a great opportunity to for us to mirror these strategies as we create our own DMOC,” said Col. Scott Howden, a Royal Canadian Forces Air attaché at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.
Virtual Flag currently trains 250 to 600 warfighters per exercise and is the only venue to exercise and integrate joint terminal attack control elements in a robust manner.
Colonel Pepper added that Virtual Flag objectives include efforts to increase cross domain dominance in areas such as electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and special operations forces.
“This exercise provides the essential elements for how we need to function in a joint and coalition environment,” he said. “CVF enables us to closely evaluate procedures and processes and is a stepping stone to future realistic combat training and prepare warriors for combat.”