Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Roger McCutcheon (left) works with Lt. Col. Mike Heyser in the combined air and space operations center at Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Richard Johnson)
Royal Australian Air Force Squadron Leader Ken Bowes (left) works with Capt. Michael Cronin in the combined air and space operations center at Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Richard Johnson)
by Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment ’06 Public Affairs
4/26/2006 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- As military members continue to test future warfighting capabilities during Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 2006, they do so in a multiservice, multinational environment.
Because United States forces often fight wars with troops from other services and other countries, such is the case for JEFX ‘06, which takes place here through April 28.
One of those coalition partners is the Royal Australian Air Force. Being a part of JEFX has provided great experience and has been a benefit to coalition integration, said Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Roger McCutcheon.
“The Royal Australian Air Force is benefiting greatly from participating in JEFX,” Wing Commander McCutcheon said. “We are currently reorganizing our own air operations center and may possibly use the same systems being used here, so it’s important for our own knowledge.
“However, we’re also a part of making the experiment a success,” he said. “Australia works with the United States in operations, so this coalition environment is another venue for us to see, work with and refine these new systems we’ll all use together in future operations.”
In the JEFX combined air and space operations center, or CAOC, Australian forces work with combat operations; combat plans; the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division; an air tasking order, or ATO, coordinator; and an assessment team member.
As deputy chief of combat operations, Wing Commander McCutcheon assists with execution of the ATOs and is involved with dynamic targets, staying aware of current situations and making any changes.
“Being involved with these operations means we use the same systems, equipment and technology, as if we were in a real CAOC environment,” the commander said. “The experiment has been a massive undertaking but has gone well. I have been involved with JEFX ’06 since Spiral 2 in January, and I’ve had good exposure. It’s given our team a great opportunity to get time on these new systems.”
Royal Australian Air Force Squadron Leader Ken Bowes, deputy senior intelligence duty officer, has also had a positive experience.
“This coalition environment has been important for us because as close allies with the United States, we have a commitment to the coalition force in the war on terrorism,” Squadron Leader Bowes said. “We need to be able to operate together to be effective. Coming to JEFX ensures we have a clear understanding of future U.S. Air Force command and control operations to remain on par, continuing to contribute to coalition operations.”
The Air Force chief of staff established coalition participation as a top priority for JEFX to address the need for coalition integration in the CAOC. It now includes the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
“Coalition forces are part of our defense,” said Col. Chuck Parks, director of the Air Force Experimentation Office. “We fight as a coalition, so we need to ensure we jointly experiment and test these warfighting capabilities.”
JEFX combines live, virtual and constructive air, space, naval and ground force simulations, and technology insertion into a near seamless joint and coalition warfighting environment. The experiment is designed to assess and make recommendations on selected capabilities that fill identified gaps or produce desired effects in the battlespace.