JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
The first ever iteration of a wide-scale targeting exercise was recently conducted at the 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Exercise STOIC WOMBAT, which took place June 13-16, 2022, challenged the 363d ISR Group and its Total Force partners with delivering all-domain, kinetic and non-kinetic targeting solutions to an air component commander at a speed and scale commensurate with future conflict. Over the course of 4-days, 150 analysts across 13 geographically-separated Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard squadrons tested 363 ISRG Targeting Enterprise wartime capabilities for command and control, target system predictive analysis, and dynamic targeting.
The 363 ISRG conducted 24/7 command and control of the Targeting Enterprise and squadrons executed multi-site target system predictive analysis and dynamic targeting. STOIC WOMBAT proved that multiple squadrons in different time zones can converge on air component targeting problems and deliver targeting recommendations against multiple adversary weapon systems. Also, the exercise highlighted the speed and scale of the Targeting Enterprise to rapidly deliver dynamic targeting solutions while contending with simulated cyber threats.
The 363 ISRG is the largest targeting organization in the Department of Defense and serves a critical role to U.S. Air Force warfighting capabilities. STOIC WOMBAT provided the opportunity to evaluate the warfighting capability of the Targeting Enterprise and capture automation, artificial intelligence, and augmentation requirements to enhance the readiness and lethality of the Targeting Enterprise. The collective lessons learned will enable the Targeting Enterprise to improve its operations for Joint All-Domain Command and Control, Sensor-to-Shooter, and Agile Combat Employment (ACE).
“The “Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) is the Department of the Air Force component of Joint All Domain Command and Control,” said David Brockman, 363 ISRG Director of Operations. “It is intended to better define and focus Department of the Air Force efforts to improve how to make operational decisions more effectively than our potential adversaries. Sensor-to-shooter concepts require sense making and delivery of targeting solutions at speed and scale, and with precision. ACE relies less on large traditional centers for combat power and more on dispersed command and control as well as distributed operating locations. STOIC WOMBAT demonstrated the strengths of the 363 ISRG to predict target changes in the target system and quickly provide weaponeering solutions, collateral damage estimation, and precise coordinates for target engagement.”
The 526th Intelligence Squadron, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, provided all of the synthetic data used by the exercise participants for the entirety of Exercise STOIC WOMBAT. More than 30 analysts from the 526 IS were involved with design, build, and execution of the exercise.
According to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Justin Ketterer, 526 IS Flight Chief of Production, the production team created nearly 400 images, replicating roughly 1,000 targets across 27 locations, and a multi-day SIGINT streaming picture that included 30-thousand air, ground, and maritime threats in the desired area of operation.
“In addition to building the data, the 526 IS provided 24/7 support during the execution of the exercise,” said Ketterer. “The Productions Flight’s Imagery and Signals Intelligence personnel were on hand to run files, provide IT support, and ensure the streaming of the data was broadcasting, accurate, and viewable by all participants.”
“This exercise was the first of its kind for our Air Force Targeting Enterprise,” said Lt. Col. Kareen Hart, 363 ISRG deputy commander. “We executed over 900 dynamic targets (DT), and coordinated three geographically-separated wartime Target System Analysis (TSA) teams to provide target intelligence to forward deployed forces. Additionally, we were able to integrate synthetic imagery from the 526 IS, which was absolutely critical in developing the scenario and meeting DT goals. The support from the 526 IS and 363 ISS were vital in testing our enterprise capabilities and capacity.”
Overall, STOIC WOMBAT 22 was a crucial step forward.
"STOIC WOMBAT was the first exercise to challenge the targeting enterprise to deliver capabilities at scope and scale of a high-end fight," said Colonel Eric Mack, 363d ISR Wing commander. "SW 22 tested the command and control of the targeting enterprise, demonstrated our readiness for strategic competition, and identified shortfalls that we must address. SW 22 was an important first step, and perhaps the crowning achievement of [former 363d ISR Group commander] Colonel Nishawn Smagh's tenure, to ensure the readiness of the 363d ISRG to deliver on [Air Force Chief of Staff] General Brown's promise to achieve overwhelming Air Power, Any Time, Any Place."