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Nellis kicks off first Aggressor 101 class

Maj. Sean Routier, 64th Aggressor Squadron pilot, climbs down from his F-16 Fighting Falcon April 17, 2006 at Eielson AFB, Alaska. The Aggressors will be participating in the first-ever Red Flag - Alaska exercise, which begins April 24 and continues for two weeks.

Maj. Sean Routier, 64th Aggressor Squadron pilot, climbs down from his F-16 Fighting Falcon at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, for the first Red Flag - Alaska exercise in April. (U.S. Air Force photo)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- Thirty-five new Air Force "aggressors" graduated Nov. 17 from the first Aggressor 101 training course conducted by the 57th Adversary Tactics Group here.

The two-week course provides a baseline understanding of the aggressor mission and philosophy, 57th Wing and 57th ATG organization, and threat capabilities and employment doctrine to people who specialize in "attacking" friendly forces using simulated hostile systems and tactics. Basically, they play the "bad guy" in various exercises.

These aggressors will leverage the information they are taught in the course to replicate complex, integrated surface, air, space and cyberspace threat arrays. They will train U.S., allied and partner air forces to quickly and decisively defeat them in major exercises including Red Flag - Nellis, Red Flag - Alaska, Maple Flag and Silver Flag.

This course is a critical milestone in achieving the Air Force chief of staff's vision for the 57th ATG as "Threats Central" -- the place where all air forces will come to learn about and fight potential adversaries.

The 57th ATG is comprised of 575 Airmen in eight active duty, Guard and Reserve squadrons, each focused on understanding and replicating specific portions of the spectrum of threats facing our forces today and tomorrow.

The 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons replicate air threats using F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-15 Eagles, while the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kan., replicates cyber threats.

The 527th and 26th Space Aggressor Squadrons from Colorado Springs, Colo., replicate space-based threats; and the 507th Air Defense Aggressor Squadron replicates ground-based Integrated Air Defense System threats. The 547th Intelligence Squadron provides comprehensive intelligence support; and the 414th Combat Training Squadron brings all aggressor capabilities to bear on friendly forces during major exercises at Nellis.

Early next year, the 57th ATG will stand up an Information Operations Aggressor Squadron and an Adversary Tactics Support Squadron to enhance threat replication capabilities and provide overall coordination for the group's diverse activities.
In addition to simulating and teaching adversary threats and tactics, members of the group are in great demand as subject matter experts. They lead and participate in numerous threat analysis activities and working groups sponsored by U.S. and foreign governments.

"Because of their operational background and special training, Aggressors are uniquely suited to translate highly technical data from a variety of sources into easily understood concepts that are used throughout the USAF to develop new tactics, countertactics, and systems to defeat advanced threats," said Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, 57th ATG commander.

The Aggressor 101 course is one of many initiatives implemented by the 57th ATG to develop the capabilities necessary to become the Air Force's center of excellence for all Aggressor operations.

"Bringing all these capabilities together, in one place, in a synergistic fashion, is key to presenting our forces with the most realistic threat scenarios possible then training them to survive and win," Colonel O'Shaughnessy said. "Ensuring each member of the group understands the overall mission and each squadron's unique capabilities is the first step in achieving that synergy. That's exactly what Aggressor 101 is designed to do."

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