Mosaic Tiger 22-1 highlights ACE in austere locations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Briana Beavers
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Although the Mosaic Tiger 22-1 exercise operated mainly from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, its success would not have been possible without simulated contingency locations.

This lead-wing exercise tested the ability of purpose-built rescue and attack assets to conduct operations in austere locations. In the second iteration of Mosaic Tiger, Moody incorporated locations such as MacDill Air Force Base and Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida, to highlight its Agile Combat Employment capabilities.

“During Mosaic Tiger, we will deploy to a forward operating base and from there we will forward deploy to contingency locations, which are basically stripped-down runways,” said Maj. Zachary McClelland, 23rd Wing A5/7 director of plans. “We will project combat power using our contingency location teams to get our aircraft back in the fight which will make it much more difficult for a strategic competitor to attack our assets.”

ACE and Lead-Wing concepts combat potential contention from strategic competitors in the future. By mobilizing assets throughout multiple contingency locations, targeting becomes more difficult for opposing forces.

“Our bases are no longer sanctuaries,” said Lt. Col. Edward Brady, 75th Fighter Squadron commander. “As we look at potential armed conflict with a state such as Russia and China, the problem that we’re facing is ‘how does the (Air Force) generate air power from bases that are not as secure.’”

The 23rd Wing worked to solve that problem and experienced the benefits of ACE.

“We were able to more quickly launch, recover and maintain aircraft from dispersed locations,” McClelland said. “This will allow us to hold (strategic competitors) at risk from (austere) locations that are defendable and easy to relocate.”

The potential benefits ACE provides for projecting combat power come with challenges for Command and Control (C2), which is how operational decisions from the commander reach dispersed forces.

However, the dedicated members of Moody AFB worked to combat that issue. 

“(The Deployed Intelligence Combat Element kit) gives us the ability to pick up and move to a bare base in a condensed amount of time and re-establish our communications,” said Master Sgt. Shane Law, 23rd WG A2 superintendent. “If something popped off on the other side of the globe, we can go there, then set up a Combat Intelligence Cell in about 30 minutes.”

The DICE kit allows intel analysts to easily establish secure communications downrange with a smaller footprint. 

Throughout the exercise, the A-staff managed communications systems like DICE kits, which allowed Airmen at contingency locations the ability to accurately execute the commander’s intent. 

“We made a lot of strides,” said Col. Ryan Hayde, 23rd WG vice commander and Mosaic Tiger’s Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “I think we definitely showed that the staff concept can work with the Lead Wing. I definitely saw a lot of improvement throughout the week as far as how the staff was executing as we ran through a lot of challenges.”

With ACE being such a robust concept, obstacles come with opportunities for multiple solutions.

“There are a lot of variables to Air Force Generation and ACE, we will try things and adjust as needed, and we surely won’t get it 100 percent correct at the start, but that is why we test and apply lessons to make it better,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Slocum, Air Combat Command director of operations, during an ACC strategic validation exercise in August. “You’re a part of a massive change that’s coming for our forces for the future fight … this is an exciting time to be in the Air Force and bring needed change for our warfighters.”

The implementation of ACE is a strategy that is helping to evolve the Air Force and its operations. With ACE in place, the Air Force is continually adapting to provide air dominance and support to military operations around the globe.