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Accelerating change by improving distributed, scalable battle management, expediting kill chain

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

The 705th Combat Training Squadron recently hosted the third, virtual Tactical Operations Center – Light experiment iteration as part of exercise VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management in their Distributed Mission Operations Center, or DMOC, at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The TOC-L experiment was designed to continue development of future command and control, or C2, concepts intended to expedite kill chains and improve distributed battle management.

U.S. Air Force Airmen leveraged the DMOC’s capabilities to continue iterative experimentation with an agile control integration team, or ACIT, application of the TOC-L within a joint, large force battle management exercise, and to develop crew execution roles and responsibilities against tactical problem sets.

Air battle managers and tactical air control party, or TACP, Airmen traveled to Kirtland from across Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe to participate in the experiment.

“The 705th CTS team has been extremely supportive in our efforts to experiment with these concepts. Integrating within VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management provided exposure to unique tactical problem sets and an amplified level of intensity from our previous experiment iterations which enabled the team to make strides in our collaborative experimentation,” Maj. Dustin Nedolast, 505th Command and Control Wing, Detachment 1 experiment director, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

A TOC-L is a lightweight, scalable battle management system that enables tactical C2 elements to quickly relocate, establish advanced datalinks, connect to a variety of sensors via a resilient communication structure, and successfully operate in a denied, degraded, or contested operational environment.

The event was the third such experiment executed at the DMOC and focused on developing and validating ACIT application tactics, techniques, and procedures, or TTPs, while concentrating on the integration of additional TOC-L mission sets to drive continued TTP development.

“Integrating TOC-L applications into VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management was an important step in the development of these concepts. The exercise provided increased realism and complexity which generated valuable feedback on the concept development we have worked through so far at the DMOC.  It’s exciting to continue contributing to the evolution of these emerging C2 concepts to expedite a functional system for the joint force in the future,” Maj. Carl Plonk, 605th Test and Evaluation Squadron experiment director, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The event was the second consecutive iteration to incorporate TACP capabilities based C2 elements which included distributed partnering with air support operations squadrons across the country. VF: Battle Management provided the opportunity to integrate the TOC-L concept with several lateral C2 entities and several joint participants in a realistic mission environment. The robust scenario ultimately bolstered concept development and enabled both the validation of previously developed TOC-L execution TTPs and refinements to new TTPs.

"Battle management is a team sport, and we needed new plays for the team.  We put these plays through their paces by adapting and experimenting during exercise VIRTUAL FLAG: Battle Management.  Developing TOC-L TTPs in the virtual environment accelerates the pace of experimentation in successive iterations so that fielding our new battle management lethality has the kinks worked out, allowing for less operational stress and time in the field," said Col. Frank Klimas, 505th CCW, Det 1, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Klimas continued, "Due to the tyranny of distance in Indo-Pacific conflicts, on-station times over objectives must be shortened.  We won't have too many swings at the bat to get it right, so we need to get it right early and hone our battle management skills.  The DMOC served as the testing ground to accelerate the adaptation of TOC-L TTPs, to improve the air component's ability to win in battle."

The 705th CTS reports to the 505th Combat Training Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada. The 505th CCW, Det 1, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the 505th CTG report to the 505th CCW, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

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