Hurlburt Field wing takes ACE C2 to next level for lead wings

  • Published
  • By 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs
  • 705th Training Squadron

For almost a decade, U.S. defense officials have deemed the return of great-power competition to be the most significant challenge to U.S. national security. As a result, the Department of Defense's leadership is taking bigger and bolder steps to maintain the U.S. military and technological edge over pacing challenges such as China and Russia. With this effort, the ability of the U.S. to deter coercion, aggression, and even war in the coming decades is at stake. To bolster the U.S. Air Force’s ability to meet those challenges, the 705th Training Squadron executed Air Combat Command’s first Lead Wing Command and Control Course at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Aug. 23-26.

Participants included leaders from the A-staff of all five designated ACC lead wings: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; and Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Additionally, representatives from Headquarters Air Force, 15th Air Force, and the 505th Command and Control Wing attended.

The LWC2C is ACC's groundbreaking lead wing leadership training course for distributed operations in support of Agile Combat Employment. ACE is a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase the survivability of forces while generating combat power through a deterrence continuum. When applied correctly, ACE complicates an adversary's targeting process, creates political and operational dilemmas and creates flexibility for friendly forces.

“The overall current and future operating principle for the Air Force is based on places, not large, fixed bases. As a result, the Air Force will increasingly rely on smaller, more agile force packages and expeditionary air units with the ability to move between austere, temporary bases to complicate peer adversaries' planning,” said Lt. Col. Marcus Bryan, 705th TRS commander. “The shift was largely driven by China and Russia's more assertive behavior and new capabilities designed to disrupt and destroy U.S. command and control networks and thwart U.S. power projection.”

The course is designed to prepare a lead wing A-staff for operations in support of an air component commander in any theater. This new course captures the challenges of executing C2 in a denied, degraded, or contested environment while conducting effective ACE operations. The LWC2C is designed for immediate student immersion into joint and Air Force doctrine using Kingfish ACE game boards. Col. Troy Pierce, HAF Directorate of Plans and Programs, designed the original board game entitled Kingfish ACE to first introduce Airmen Air Force-wide to the concept and challenges of ACE.

“The innovative approach our team took with LWC2C is a huge step in breaking the military training paradigm with regards to how the military approaches academics and training. We are focusing on introducing lead wing A-staffs to the complexity of distributed C2 of ACE through a more hands-on approach rather than the traditional ‘death by PowerPoint’ approach,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Lee, 705th TRS director of operations. “Our training doesn't stop with this course, the 505th CCW will be an integral part of the entirety of a lead wing's C2 training program. As each wing progresses from ACE lead wing academics through certification in the ‘Prepare and Ready’ phases of the AFFORGEN [Air Force Force Generation Model] cycle, we anticipate continuous teaching and mentoring.”

Upon completing the LWC2C, attendees will understand the concepts and considerations of integrating ACC's lead wing activities into the air component C2 structure to support ACE operations within any theater.

"The U.S. military can no longer assume that it will have the freedom of action in a conflict that it had in the past by gaining early superiority in the air, space, cyberspace and maritime domains," said Col. Adam Shelton, 505th Test and Training Group commander. "In any future conflict, U.S. forces will need to fight for advantage across these domains - and then continue fighting to keep it - in the face of a continuous peer adversary efforts to disrupt and degrade U.S. battle-management networks."