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AFCENT strengthens partnerships during Joint Air Defense Exercise

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  • By U.S. Air Force Maj. Jessica Tait

Service members from Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. Army Central Command, coalition partners, and regional partner nations conducted Joint Air Defense Exercise 22-01, a theater-wide large-scale integrated air and missile defense exercise, Feb. 14-18, 2022.

The biannual five-day exercise developed joint, coalition and regional strategic approach to multi-domain operations through the use of simulated air, missile, maritime and cyber threats.

“As the U.S. Central Command theater continues to evolve, exercises such as JADEX are essential for the continuation of our competitive edge,” said Maj. Justin Cunningham, 9th AF (AFCENT) chief of exercises. “It affords the AOR the ability to train as a coalition, field-test new capabilities and procedures, and identify our blind spots.”

This iteration of JADEX included the full complement of air, surface, space, cyber and missile defense systems and distributed operations of command and control through active participation by Airmen, Guardians, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers across the USCENTCOM area of responsibility, as well as 9th AF (AFCENT) service members at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.

“We have continued to leverage historical lessons learned,” said Capt. Felix Camacho, 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command upper-tier air defense fire control officer. “However, our focus for this iteration was the inclusion of rapidly emerging threats over an extensive geographical area, spanning several regions.”

JADEX 22-01 scenarios aligned closely with the current threat environment and provided realistic training for multiple units to hone their defensive capabilities through multi-domain simulations and integrated live flying.

“It provides a continual opportunity to test and refine our techniques, tactics, and procedures at the tactical level to provide regional defense alongside our partner nations,” said Camacho. “Every joint and partner nation integration serves strategic objectives and enhances overall theater security and stability.”

9th AF (AFCENT) continuously conducts integrated training events, such as JADEX with allies in the Middle East, to enhance operational capability, deter regional aggressors and strengthen resolute partnerships.

“The ability to win, or fail-forward, with JADEX exemplifies the fortitude, critical thinking, and lethal capabilities of our operational teams and warfighters,” said Cunningham.