ACC completes Strategic Validation Exercise 4 on ACE, CAFFORGEN

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  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Air Combat Command welcomed active duty wing commanders and their designated representatives from 28 wings within the command to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, for the Strategic Validation Exercise 4, Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. 

As the fourth iteration of the SVE series, this exercise was dedicated to stress testing and refining key concepts of the new Air Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model, force presentation (AFFORPRES), and Agile Combat Employment (ACE) at the wing level of operations. This exercise also built on its previous iterations, which brought together key senior leaders to discuss AFFORGEN reform and to develop ACE as an operating concept.

“The goal of SVE4 is to bring together our wing commanders and address the long-term big-rock issues for the Air Force with AFFORGEN and ACE concepts,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Slocum, ACC director of operations. “With the model we’ve had, the Air Force was eating up readiness faster than we could maintain it. AFFORGEN addresses that issue for our future combat ready forces to be available for any high end fight.”

AFFORGEN is the new force-generation model for building sustainable, high-end airpower readiness for the joint force. The model restructures force generation into four phases that span over a 24-month cycle: Available, Reset, Prepare, and Ready. During SVE 4, wing commanders were asked to work through how they would establish, train, prepare and present their forces to combatant commanders under the new model.

“Under the current AEF construct, we’ve lacked the ability to present an easily understood model that reflected all facets of airpower and the ability to clearly articulate readiness impacts,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “After nearly two decades of demanding rotational deployments, we are shifting to a model that builds high-end and sustainable readiness toward future missions by balancing elements of current availability, modernization and risk.”

The second concept, ACE, is a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power.

“You can compare ACE to boxing, you want to stay out of the reach of your adversary, but be able to step inside their reach, perform combat requirements and get out,” said Maj. Cody Moore, force integration branch chief, ACC Future Operations Division. “This allows our forces and Airmen to step back, out of harm’s way, and then go back in when the adversary is not expecting it.”

The conclusion of the exercise provided commanders and key staff valuable feedback on the way ahead for implementing AFFORGEN and ACE to meet the Air Force’s goal of initial operating capability in fiscal year 2023. Examples of things the ACC team is taking into consideration are; pilot flying hour programs, aircraft maintenance timelines, all-domain training opportunities, ACE communication requirements and professional management education for Airmen across the command.

“There are a lot of variables to AFFORGEN and ACE, we will try things and adjust as needed, and we surely won’t get it 100% correct at the start, but that is why we test and apply lessons to make it better,” Slocum said. “You’re part of a massive change that’s coming for our forces for the future fight. This is an exciting time to be in the Air Force and bring needed change for our warfighters.”