Air Operations Center (AOC)

Current as of February 7, 2023

The Air Operations Center (AOC) commands and controls the broad spectrum of what air power brings to the fight: Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power. The Commander, Air Force Forces or the Joint/Combined Forces Air Component Commander (C/JFACC) uses the AOC weapons system (AOC WS) to exercise command and control (C2) of joint (or combined) air forces, including planning, directing, and assessing air, space, and cyberspace operations; air defense; airspace control; and coordination of space and mission support not resident within theater. Serving as the operational bridge that integrates and synchronizes strategic decisions to tactical-level execution, the AOC is comprised of a vast array of people, programs and processes that execute day-to-day air and space operations and provides rapid reaction, positive control, coordination and deconfliction of weapons systems.

Functioning as the nerve center of the air campaign, the AOC plans, monitors and directs sortie execution, close air support and precision air strike; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; airlift; air refueling; aeromedical evacuation; air drop, and countless other mission-critical operations. The United States Air Force employs two kinds of AOCs: Theater AOCs utilizing the AN/USQ-163 Falconer weapon system to support geographic combatant commanders, and global/functional AOCs to support functional combatant commanders. When there is more than one U.S. military service working in an AOC, such as when naval aviation from the U.S. Navy (USN) and/or the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is incorporated, it is called a Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC). In cases of allied or coalition (multinational) operations in tandem with USAF or Joint air and space operations, the AOC is called a Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).