Reserve Space Aggressors bring expertise to Red Flag

  • Published
  • By Natalie Stanley
  • 926th Wing

Citizen Airmen from the 926th Wing’s, 26th Space Aggressor Squadron, are playing an integral part in Red Flag 21-1, Jan. 25 through Feb. 12, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Starting off the 2021 season, Red Flag 21-1 is hosting about 2,400 participants from nearly 20 states, three nations and several sister services that will include an array of aircraft such as the F-22, F-35, F-16, EA-18G, F-15E and A-10.

The Red Flag exercise provides realistic, multi-domain training in a combined air, ground, space and electronic threat environment while allowing the free exchange of ideas between forces.

The members of the 26th SAS deliver expertise in satellite communication and GPS electronic attack, and how those effects are integrated with air, air defense, and cyber to help create realistic enemy threats and tactics for those participating in the exercise.

“Our role in RF 21-1 is to replicate how an adversary would act in a conflict using space enabled capabilities,” said Maj. Scott Hollister, 26th Space Aggressor Squadron, VADER-1. “We and our active duty counterparts, the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron, are the only units who bring a space oriented ‘bad guy’ perspective to the exercise.”

The space aggressor mission is highly attuned to the exercise participants training needs, focusing on all things space and how to best use their equipment to replicate the environment the air component and other players could experience in real world conflict.

“While we don’t involve ourselves in the details of the participants’ air capabilities, we have to be cognizant of how our equipment affects their platforms, and how that presentation may be different from real world effects,” said Hollister.

As reservist, the members of the 26th SAS, are also able to provide long-term continuity to the planning and execution of Red Flag events. 

“We are trained to the same level of expertise as our active duty counterparts, but as reservists we don’t move as often, we are able to make connections with exercise planners and provide more in-depth discussions on how the enemies’ tactics have progressed over time,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Nutz, 26th Space Aggressor Squadron, commander.

While COVID precautions have limited the number of space aggressors that are able to travel to Nellis AFB, it has not hindered their ability to provide realistic and timely support to the ongoing exercise.

“That is one of the unique aspects of the space aggressors, our mobility and our reach,” said Nutz. “Because SATCOM is such a unique force multiplier, in that one satellite can see a large swath of the earth, we can remain here at Schriever AFB without having to ship all of our equipment to Nellis in order to provide support.”