HomeNewsArticle Display

ISR, cyber coordinate capabilities for maximum effect at Red Flag

Maintainers from the 419th and 388th Fighter Wings conduct conducts preflight checks on an F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, during Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 24, 2017. Airmen from the active duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the Lightning II in a total force partnership, capitalizing on the strength of both components. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

Maintainers from the 419th and 388th Fighter Wings conduct preflight checks on an F-35A Lightning II from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, during Red Flag 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 24, 2017. Airmen from the active-duty 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW fly and maintain the Lightning II in a total force partnership, capitalizing on the strength of both components. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- Created in 1975, Red Flag was established by Gen. Robert J. Dixon, then commander of Tactical Air Command, to more realistically train forces for combat.

This year’s first Red Flag, 17-1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, has today’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance warriors thinking about the many kinetic, or traditional weapon, and non-kinetic, information warfare, effects they can produce in battle scenarios.

When training for war, in addition to the physical effects from bullets and bombs, there can also be battle damage results involving technology that are not so clearly seen, said Lt. Col. Neal, the 25th Air Force operations division chief.

Col. Robert Cole, the Air Forces Cyber Forward director, said rather than thinking about war from a domain-centric perspective, future battles will be fought with combined effects.

“In the past, the non-kinetic effects were not fully integrated into the kinetic fight,” Cole said.

Now, Red Flag is integrating unseen effects into multi-domain operations to include kinetic, cyber, ISR and electronic warfare, Cole said.

“This integration in an exercise environment allows our planners and warfighters to understand how to best integrate these, learn their capabilities and limitations, and become ready to use [these combined resources for maximum] effect against our adversaries,” he said.

"For example, think about the movie ‘Black Hawk Down.’ As the U.S. task force was moving from the air base to Mogadishu, there were a number of spotters that alerted enemy forces,” Cole said. Consider if cyber was used to coordinate contact with the spotters and tell them to walk away or be targeted, he said.



A key component for coordinating all the different silent effects during battle is the non-kinetic duty officer.

“We are bringing the non-kinetic duty officers into the fight at Red Flag,” Neal said. “These experts in ISR and cyberwarfare are the newest weapons in our command and control arsenal.”

The 25th Air Force kick started the Numbered Air Force non-kinetic duty officer initiative with the development of a five-day Red Flag NKDO course in preparation for Red Flag 17-1.

“This course has proven its worth, as it not only provided curriculum bridging the air, space and cyber effects in warfare, but it also produced a multi-domain NKDO team readied for Red Flag 17-1,” said Joe Delgado, the 25th Air Force ISR Operations Integration and Exercises deputy chief.

The 14th, 24th and 25th Air Forces’ NKDOs, with coalition augmentation, are performing well ahead of week one Red Flag standards, according to Delgado.

At the end of 17-1, week one, 25th Air Force wings, including Air Force National-Tactical Integration Teams from the 70th ISR Wing, are having marked success and appear to be performing better than typical ISR participants, Delgado said.

The specialized cryptologic analysts from the NTI teams are providing time-sensitive, high impact, national-level intelligence to numerous exercise participants, said Garland Henderson, operational integration branch chief, 25th Air Force.

The 25th Air Force is also pursuing the successful employment of the newly operational Net-Centric Collaborative Targeting system at this Red Flag, Henderson said.



“The plan is to utilize NCCT to coordinate multiple sources of intelligence for situational awareness or to take action,” he said. “Applying lessons learned from previous Red Flag events, NTI at 17-1 has excelled by reaching out to other ISR partners, such as the Distributed Common Ground Station, to ensure critical data is passed in a timely manner.

“The realistic warfare challenges at Red Flag create an ideal environment for capabilities, like NCCT, to prove their worth in a time-sensitive, task saturated scenario involving the integration of multiple ISR assets,” Henderson continued.

A typical Red Flag exercise involves a wide variety of aircraft, as well as ground-based command and control, space and cyber forces. It has expanded in recent years to include all spectrums of warfare, including command, control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Sleep tight. We work nights. A1C Donald Edwards, crew chief, inspects a C-17A Globemaster III at Joint Base Charl… https://t.co/pawAK7TUn7
RT @SecAFOfficial: Appreciate your leadership & time spent with our #Airmen who stand the watch! https://t.co/IAV7nIZCcX
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: A @usairforce HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 56th Rescue Squadron flies over #Aviano AB, Italy, Feb. 12. The 56th in…
Congratulations to Col. Terrence Adams who was recognized with the Military Service Award at the 34th Black Enginee… https://t.co/HYj7JhZfDg
RT @USAF_ACC: Happy #WarthogWednesday from the @A10DemoTeam 🐗🤙 #USAF 🎥 by Tech Sgt. Eric Flores | @usairforce | #AimHigh https://t.co/Zeq6…
RT @US_TRANSCOM: The @USAirForce air refueling fleet is the backbone of rapid U.S. global operations. “Tankers” are the lifeblood of our Jo…
The 332nd explosive ordinance team safely verified that a suspicious package was not a threat to any Airmen or faci… https://t.co/DJrFBsoz9F
RT @AETCommand: #PilotTraining - 2nd Lt. Joshua Harms preflights a T-38C Talon prior to a training sortie Feb. 11, 2020 at Vance AFB, Okla.…
RT @US_Stratcom: #DYK becoming a @usairforce #B2 pilot is a highly selective process? Regardless of the type of mission, those who fly the…
Airmen from the Ohio @AirNatlGuard, 180th Fighter Wing, are participating in exercise Green Flag-West at @NellisAFBhttps://t.co/5q6MEi4uew
These Airmen are making sure the F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 480th Fighter Squadron are ready for each day train… https://t.co/LOAxoraDX8
RT @SecAFOfficial: Spent time with the men & women of Incirlik Air Base @39_ABW, Turkey 🇹🇷, to thank them for their dedication, service, &…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Training and repetition is key to being #AlwaysReady Exercises like #SouthernStrike2020 allow our Airmen to work with tot…
Over 100 aircraft are flying over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micr… https://t.co/XwsxbIXET9
RT @PACAF: Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met w/ allies & partners from across the Indo-Pacific & beyond @SGAirshow to showcase U.S. commitment & discus…
Good luck to all the drivers in today's #Daytona500, but we may be a bit biased on who we want to win it all.… https://t.co/PDLqBdl39X
Thanks for a great game @LAKings and @Avalanche. #ICYMI the @NHL Stadium series made a stop at the @AF_academy las… https://t.co/VyNsvpQM6o
RT @Creech_AFB: Singapore Airshow has been flying by (🥁-tss) meeting with international friends & partners! Repub. of Singapore Air Force…
Our own TSgt Nalani Quintello, vocalist with @USAFBand Max Impact, will perform the National Anthem prior to the 62… https://t.co/Asf5dTlXU8
RT @SecAFOfficial: Valuable hands-on experience @RAFMildenhall! Grateful to meet innovative #Airmen executing complex missions around the w…