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Global Strike workshop delivers key planning strategies

Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, center, and Col. Michael Tichenor, left of center, discuss expectations with the joint planning group Oct. 6, 2014, during the Global Strike Workshop at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The workshop organizers crafted plans which integrated Air Force Global Strike Command assets into a joint environment, focusing on how to best utilize the total force in the most effective and efficient manner. Hamm is the 8th Air Force commander and Tichenor is the AFGSC inspector general. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard)

Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, center, and Col. Michael Tichenor, left of center, discuss expectations with the joint planning group Oct. 6, 2014, during the Global Strike Workshop at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The workshop organizers crafted plans which integrated Air Force Global Strike Command assets into a joint environment, focusing on how to best utilize the total force in the most effective and efficient manner. Hamm is the 8th Air Force commander and Tichenor is the AFGSC inspector general. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Airmen from Air Force Global Strike Command, along with representatives from the Air Staff, Pacific Air Forces and the Navy, participated in the Global Strike Workshop Oct. 6-10, here, to develop plans via a joint planning group to deal with contingencies in the context of unified engagement.

The workshop tested the operational planning and integration of AFGSC assets in a joint environment, showcasing the ability to use the right weapons systems to limit acts of aggression by hostile threats.

"Our goal is to deter adversaries, and avoid war ... and we've been successful at that," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, the AFGSC commander. "That success is what we're continuing here ... ensuring that if we're ever pressed, or our allies are ever threatened, we can respond in a way to limit adversary aggression and maintain global security."

To evaluate the full spectrum of capabilities AFGSC offers against a hostile, near-peer force, the workshop team covered multiple scenarios a joint force commander might face in a contested environment. This allowed the planning team to evaluate which assets would complement a joint force and how.

"We're getting away from the idea of operating in our own bubbles when it comes to fighting effectively," said Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, the 8th Air Force commander and the lead general officer for the workshop. "We support the combatant commanders with the Air Force's long range strike capabilities. Be it conventional, stealth or nuclear, we touch it all -- and that's what we bring to the table whenever we're called to the fight."

Col. Michael Tichenor, the AFGSC inspector general, coordinated the workshop, conducted the joint planning group, and maintained the responsibility for the standoff and long range capabilities that AFGSC brings to the table. The scenarios had a significant focus on maritime, space, cyber and electronic warfare integration.

"Our overall goal was to build a construct which allows coalition forces to overcome adversary anti-access, area denial capabilities ... air, sea, land, space and cyberspace (capabilities) all need to be integrated to provide the effects to neutralize them," Tichenor said. "Joint planning is important because our adversaries put up anti-access areas, meaning it can't just be a fighter or ship operation. At some point we have to look at integrated operations."

Providing the considerations early gives AFGSC planners a chance to address and present limitations ahead of time and plan for a more realistic engagement strategy.

"When it comes down to it, we don't have a lot of missiles we can launch from our aircraft and ships. We need to figure out how to use them most effectively and efficiently," Tichenor said.

The Global Strike Workshop is one of a larger set of planning workshops designed to give combatant commanders a realistic view of how their forces can be employed for many different scenarios.

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