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ACC discusses Sixteenth Air Force as new Information Warfare NAF

16th Air Force

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command; Lt. Gen. James C. Slife, Air Force Special Operations Command commander; Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander; Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., Pacific Air Forces and Air Component commander; and Gen. Timothy M. Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, discuss forward power projection in the 21st century during the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 18, 2019. After this panel, Holmes participated in a media event where he talked about 16th Air Force, the new information warfare numbered Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Erin Smith)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – --

General Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, discussed today at the Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, that Sixteenth Air Force (16th AF) will be the designation for a new Information Warfare (IW) Numbered Air Force (NAF).

ACC will integrate Twenty-Fourth Air Force and Twenty-Fifth Air Force capabilities into a new organization under a single commander, who will be responsible for providing information warfare capabilities to combatant commanders with the speed to match today’s technological environment.

“By having cyber and all the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tools together, one of the things it allows me to do is build a collection plan in advance before I do something and be able to have better information to support better decisions for our warfighters," he said. "The Air Force is not going to run independent information warfare campaigns, but we'll build those organize, train and equip tools for combatant commanders."

The heritage of 16th AF pays tribute to a group of highly decorated Airmen with a history of continued excellence in joint warfighting, strategic deterrence and military partnerships. During the Balkans air campaigns in the 1990s, the 16th AF pioneered efforts in the way we conduct intelligence operations, setting the foundation for operating in a continuously evolving information environment.

"We want to arm our leaders with options they can use that are proportional to the things that peer adversaries are doing," he said. "We think we can present more robust teams with better intelligence support behind them and present some information ops options, which we have some game at already, but to improve that and be able to offer it on a larger scale to more combatant commanders at once."

Activating 16th AF emphasizes the organization’s continued excellence in addition to its early use of integrated information systems and emerging technologies such as remotely piloted aircraft. Just as the 16th AF made history bedding down the RQ-1 Predator at Taszar, Hungary, to provide enhanced ISR capabilities in the Balkans, it will soon make history again in the expanding arena of information warfare.

“The activation of 16th AF will synchronize the mission areas of ISR, electronic warfare, cyber and information operations capabilities,” said Holmes. “This integrated capability will provide multi-domain options to component and combatant commanders around the globe.”

Sixteenth Air Force will be located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where ACC will hold an activation ceremony later this year.