Air Force holds multinational ACE conference

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam R. Shanks
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Headquarters Air Force hosted an Agile Combat Employment Interoperability and Integration conference with seven allies and partners at the Pentagon, Feb. 27-28.

ACE is an Air Force doctrine outlining operational schemes of maneuver to increase asset survivability while generating airpower in a high-threat environment. Combat employment experts from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the U.S. gathered to strategize ways to improve integration of airpower.

The event began with opening remarks from Lt. Gen. Adrian Spain, U.S. Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations.

“I’m really proud of the evolution that ACE has taken, in how we’ve evolved the concept itself and in evolving our way of thinking,” Spain said. “We’re acknowledging that this only works with allies and partners. We can certainly do ACE in the continental U.S., but that’s just not where it’s going to be.”

Various country leads offered their perspectives on how to best utilize ACE in speaking sessions and brainstorming sessions. The ACE concept shifts airpower generation from large, centralized bases to a network of smaller, dispersed bases. It shapes the way Airmen are trained and how resources are allocated, providing flexible forces that commanders can utilize for a wide variety of missions.

“Proactive maneuvers involve moving forces and assets between main operating bases and potential dispersed sites to assure allies and partners and to alter adversary understanding of our intentions and capabilities,” said Dr. Sandeep Mulgund, senior advisor to the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations. “It allows us to posture ourselves to deter aggression or to gain advantage.”

By utilizing smaller teams of Mission Ready Airmen dispersed over many locations, the U.S. Air Force and its partners can multiply force advantages. These Mission Ready Airmen are trained in expeditionary skills and capable of accomplishing tasks outside of their core Air Force specialty.

“The first step of practicing ACE is by getting together like this to figure out what aspects come into play whenever our forces operate together,” Mulgund added. “We can better identify locations from which we can operate in an integrated, synchronized manner and what policies that we need to have in place to allow collaborative operations at these locations.”

The ACE concept is maximized by sharing resources for forces, basing, logistics, and more.

"When we work together with our allies and partners, our relationships and cooperation give us an advantage no adversary can match.”Dr. Sandeep Mulgund, Senior Advisor to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations

“Events like this conference provide a forum to create common understanding of the military challenge, our collective approach to it, and how we’re going to bring our national military instruments of power to the effort in a way that complicates our adversaries’ calculus," Mulgund said.