AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
U.S. Air Forces Central conducted an Agile Combat Employment capstone event across the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility Feb. 28 through March 5, 2021.
The multi-day event enhanced AFCENT’s combat competencies and integration with joint and regional partners, while also validating operational capabilities and command and control.
“These capabilities are critical to our regional security and stability mission,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander. “This capstone event helped the command validate and build upon the skills we have been honing over the last few months to ensure AFCENT Airmen have the right tools and know-how to execute safe and repeatable ACE elements.”
Units throughout the theater have been preparing for the capstone event through regular ACE training events with other AFCENT, joint and regional partners. Every capability learned and practiced increases the overall effectiveness of ACE capabilities.
“This event takes all of the part-task ACE training we have done the past several months and links them into Air Tasking Order missions executed simultaneously by multiple wings operating out of multiple locations,” said Col. Langdon Root, 609th Air Operations Center Combat Plans Division chief. “This event underscores our ability to swiftly synchronize force movements and project airpower where it is needed.”
ACE is a concept that leverages networks of bases, multi-capable Airmen, pre-positioned equipment and airlift operations to rapidly deploy and maneuver around the globe. AFCENT has been using these principles to conduct missions and train Airmen during recent bomber task force deployments, dynamic force employments, and other exercises featuring hot-pit refueling and integrated combat turn operations.
“ACE is a force multiplier that takes our readiness to new levels,” said Col. Michael Egbalic, 9 AF (AFCENT) Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. “By working closely with partner nations around the theater to integrate these concepts into our everyday operations we stand ready to solve complex and difficult combat challenges potential adversaries may present.”
Working with regional and joint partners during the event enabled AFCENT to further force resolute partnerships between multiple nations, which are critical to current and future missions.
“What we do in theater, and how effective we are, hinges on our ability to forge lasting and resolute partnerships,” Root said. “Especially when it comes to ACE principles, well-integrated combat airpower is a critical component in maintaining regional stability and ensuring a prosperous future.”
The shift to ACE events in AFCENT required Airmen to train in new ways and expand their operational capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of the mission.
“I am amazed by the Airmen in this theater every day,” Guillot said. “This concept requires Airmen to step out of their comfort zones, learn new things and take on new responsibilities. Throughout each of these ACE events, they have executed in extraordinary fashion and have significantly increased the command’s combat effectiveness.”