STAR Delta’s OL-A Provides Combat Training in BLUE FLAG Exercise
By Ashley Palacios, STAR Delta (P) Public Affairs
/ Published May 19, 2021
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The Provisional Space Training and Readiness Delta’s Operating Location-Alpha supported Continental U.S. NORAD Region – 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern)’s week-long BLUE FLAG exercise by ensuring space effects were incorporated into the warfighting scenario, allowing the training audience to realistically experience operating in a contested, degraded, and operationally-limited space environment.
The exercise, which concluded May 14, focused on refining processes to defend North America against cyber, cruise missile and other air, space and cyber domains threats.
BLUE FLAG is the Air Force’s premier exercise designed to test and train members at the operational level of war in a Multi-Domain Command and Control environment through high-fidelity constructive and virtual models in a simulated operating environment.
BLUE FLAG has been an operational exercise for over 40 years, and has grown from a small live-fly event to a multi-domain, Joint warfighting exercise.
“I am extremely proud of the OL-A exercise planners,” said Air Force Capt. Thomas Taylor, OL-A exercise plans flight commander. “Their experience and expertise fostered an environment of learning, which allowed warfighters across the globe to obtain a deeper understanding of space operating concepts.”
OL-A participated throughout all phases of exercise planning providing Space Force subject matter experts for scenario synchronization and coordination.
Utilizing their Distributed Mission Operations capabilities, OL-A provided modeling and simulation data from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, directly to the training audience at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The DMO networks provided simulated, real-time data to exercise Overhead Persistent Infrared monitoring, Missile Warning, Red/Blue Force tracking, Global Position System tactics, National Intelligence collections and Space Domain Awareness.
Lessons learned from the BLUE FLAG exercise model are being integrated as OL-A develops a large force exercise focused on operational-level space warfighting.
OL-A’s support of BLUE FLAG also provided valuable training for the AFNORTH Contingency and Exercise Response Team members, ensuring they are prepared to deploy in a crisis.
“Activating the ACERT for the exercise allows them to see firsthand how they would provide space expertise during real world contingencies,” said Air Force Lt. Col. James Curran, AFNORTH director of Space Forces. “This was a valuable training opportunity that prepared them to hit the ground running if they were called upon.”
BLUE FLAG training was centered at the CONR-1AF (AFNORTH)’s 601st Air Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, where members of the AOC performed the full range of aerospace warning and control measures, to include developing plans to transition from a day-to-day posture to wartime. The CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) staff exercised its processes to allocate and move forces to project Air power to forward positions.
“The exercise provided a week of realistic training across the Headquarters and Air Operations Center,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk Pierce, CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) commander. “We were able to assess our contingency plans to defend North America against potential threats in a contested or degraded operational environment.”
“The training helped validate our plans to ensure we are able to employ resources and tactics to detect, engage, and mitigate multi-domain threats,” he said. “The training is invaluable as competitors across the globe seek to gain technological advantages to contest or degrade our homeland defense capabilities.”
Also participating in the exercise were personnel from CONR-1AF (AFNORTH)’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors, located respectively in Rome, New York, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and the 263rd Army Air Missile Defense Command. The ACC-sponsored, Joint National Training Center accredited warfighter exercise was simulator built and executed by the 505th Combat and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field who also served as exercise proctors acting as 1st Air Force’s simulated higher headquarters.
For the purposes of the exercise, simulated scenarios were designed based on current global threats posed by adversaries.