Pacific Air Forces hosts Agile Combat Employment Conference

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson

Pacific Air Forces hosted an Agile Combat Employment conference in the Pacific Air Forces Watch Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 12 – 14 to focus on the PACAF ACE Concept of Employment and current, ongoing and future strategies for training.

ACE derives from Air Force doctrine and highlights operational schemes of maneuver to ensure airpower in a contested environment while simultaneously maximizing survivability. Senior leaders, to include Lt. Gen. Laura Lenderman, Pacific Air Forces deputy commander, and subject matter experts across a variety of fields across wings, numbered air forces and supporting agencies gathered to discuss ACE operations in the theater.

The conference covered a variety of topics in the form of academics and breakout sessions that prioritized ACE flexibility and adaptability in response to simulations of dynamic and evolving threat environments.

“How we prioritize our scheme of maneuver is based on pre-positioned equipment that’s going to help us move our aircraft seamlessly without causing too much of a logistical challenge,” said Maj. Douglas “Nos” Neil, Operations Branch Chief for the PACAF ACE Joint Integration Team. “That helps us remain flexible and adaptable in a conditions-based environment.”

Along with ensuring ACE provides versatility in contested airspace, PACAF has also taken measures in wake of near-peer competitors to promote a culture of innovation, readiness and continuous improvement within the ACE framework.

“A lot of recent innovations that have been introduced are relevant to our theater; anything that cuts down on the logistical challenges that come with operating in austere island locations is of great interest to us,” Douglas said. “We are acquiring resources that will allow us to operate with a smaller footprint and respond faster.”

In addition to recent investments, PACAF continues to support the need for operational security and information sharing with Allied and partner nations while enhancing interoperability to support ACE operations.

“We recognize the need for partner nations to be in lockstep in how we operate.”Maj Douglas

"We’ve taken the PACAF ACE Concept of Operations and we’ve made an unclassified version that is shareable with our Allies and partners,” Douglas said.

Douglas explained that a recent example of ACE interoperability alongside Allies and Partners is Cope North 23.

“Cope North 23 allowed us to incorporate the multilateral integration piece,” Douglas said. “We had a French aircraft that provided airlift throughout different spoke locations. We had the Japan Air Self-Defense Force that had representatives stationed out at a spoke. This level of interoperability enables us all to operate seamlessly across the different forces.”

Overall, the ACE conference enabled leaders and professionals across the spectrum of warfare to ensure interoperability alongside Allies and partners while highlighting best practices, discussing issues, and ensuring Airmen across the Joint Force are trained and equipped to support operations in a future fight.

“If you really want to solve problems, you have to do it face to face,” Douglas said. “I’m glad the senior leaders on staff recognized the need for this conference and encouraged it. It was great to have everyone who’s very invested ACE in one room.”