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The Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) (Afloat) concept is new to the Navy, requiring extensive education and training to resolve operational control issues. To ensure that the deploying JFACC (Afloat) team is tested and combat ready, a training continuum is necessary throughout the battle group turnaround training cycle.
. . From the Sea” describes the future focus for Navy and Marine units in an expeditionary role. After initial crisis response, Army and Air Force units join the expeditionary force, bringing to bear the focused power of combined arms. This joint force in the air arena executes under the aegis of the Joint Forces Air Component Commander.
Because the initial response to many crisis situations involves only the Navy and Marine Corps team, JFACC doctrine embraces the concept that it be located with the preponderance of air forces. JFACC (Afloat) is a comprehensive organization located on a carrier at sea until the beachhead and shore support allows sorties to grow beyond approximately 250 per day, at which time the JFACC (Afloat) moves to a command-and-control ship or to the beach and becomes known as JFACC (Ashore).
Preparation for a January 1993 JFACC (Afloat) composite training unit exercise-air—an initial embarked air wing exercise—began in October 1992. Within three months, a comprehensive combat plans handbook was developed, and special instructions related to the exercise were created.
>■ Planning Cell. The 100-sortie- shell air tasking order development
time decreased to three hours by the third shift, leaving approximately eight hours for tactical planning and liaison. The need for laptop automatic data processing with fragmentary order works or a contingency theater air control system automated planning system (CTAPS) was identified. A component command liaison communication net is required. Planners must be current in both aircraft and tactics.
► Air Tasking Order Cell. Augmentation by carrier air group strike operations officer and yeoman support is crucial. Air tasking order preparation decreased from eight to five hours because of better planning cell input and training. The use of automatic data processing would significantly decrease transcription errors.
► Current Operations. Joint forces air component commander and combined warfare commander (CWC) do not overlay because of basic doctrinal differences of JFACC centralized battle planning and management and CWC limited communication with command by negation. Similarly, roles of nuclear-powered multipurpose carrier (CVN) strike operations, air operations, and CDC require doctrinal JFACC integration. More exercises are required to define a structure responsive in either non-JFACC or JFACC environments. JFACC component representatives sharing time between current operations and the planning cell were critical to exercise success.
► Communications. The Genser message system was used as a backup to more rapid PC-to-PC transfer via international marine satellite. Battle group teletype was extremely slow, and the worldwide
military command-and-control system was cumbersome. The CVN CTAPS was capable as a remote site only requiring alternate transmil methods to overcome lack of CTAPS host-site capability.
Post-exercise perspective revealed the need for a JFACC training continuum, spanning the turnaround training cycle. Ideally, a contract- supported instructional system development training analysis would define this continuum and the equip' ment required. Because of the current fiscally austere environment, however, self-help empirical data will be required to identify problem areas for resolution. Consequently, the following timeline is offered to ensure that the teams are tested tactically prior to deployment.
► Two months post deployment: Team representatives meet and discuss training objectives. Sample combat handbook and special instructions are provided.
>■ Three months post deployment: CTAPS and JFACC concept training is provided by local weapons schools.
► To he announced: Limited air tasking order joint operations are conducted with available Air Force composite wing.
► To be announced: JFACC (Afloat) computer simulation (i.e., Air Force Blue Flag computer sirm1- lation) is conducted for a battle group / CVW staff.
► To be announced: Finalize JFACC organization, perform executive JFACC exercise, and identify communication limitations. Update special instructions for the compos- I ite training unit exercise-air (Comp' |
sonnel on a JCC alleviates previous requirements for moving these type of forces by strategic lift, removing C4I systems from competition with war-fighting forces moving into the area. Since a fully-manned JCC en route to a forward area would have full connectivity with joint forces in the operations area, joint forces preparing to depart, and
Proceedings / January
the Unified CinC, time to move the JCC into the arc;i should not be a factor. International consensus buildi^ and the national decision-making process involved 1,1 larger-scale contingencies will allow the JCC to be the area of operations long before promulgation of ct»' cial National Command Authority decisions.
TUEx-A) scenario, and review the combat plans handbooks.
► Fallon CVW Detachment: Finalize CompTUEx-A special instructions and combat plans handbook. Conduct joint strikes with Air Force composite wing.
► Composite Training Unit Exercise-Air: The JFACC (Afloat) uses schedule of events only. The planning cell develops shell air tasking order. Air tasking order cell prepares air tasking order and transmits, and the current operations test decision flows in schedule-of-events environment. Intelligence and connectivity issues are identified.
► Fleet Exercise A, B, C: Full wartime scenario is provided with apportionment guidance to test the Joint Targeting Board, Joint Air Intelligence Cell planning cell interface, communications and current operations tactical decision process, augment integration effectiveness, and transition ashore to Marine or Air Force.
In light of a JFACC training continuum, the issue of Navy JFACC (Afloat) augmentees takes on a new dimension. The JFACC billet augment philosophy is based on extracting air wing combat pilots from JFACC (Afloat) headquarters functions within 72 hours. To this end, airwing pilot JFACC (Afloat) replacements must be comprised of tactically current aircrew. Potential location of new billets for these augment personnel includes Naval Strike Warfare Center, Naval Fighter Weapon School, Type Wing Weapon Schools, and carrier air group and tactical aviation squadron staffs. For instance, in the exercise above, the multipurpose carrier strike operations officer and carrier group yeoman shared duties as Deputy Current Operations, while the carrier group strike operations officer and multipurpose carrier assistant strike officer filled the air tasking order cell. Special opera-
tions and Air Force components provided representatives that split their time between current operations and planning cells.
Because the exercise lasted only four air-tasking-order days. Navy augmentees external to the team were not included. It became evident, however, that current operations requires four Navy augmentees (two per shift) with VA. VFA,
VAQ, VF. or VAW carrier experience. Combat plans requires a Deputy Director of Combat Plans, two team leaders, six planners, and two intelligence officers to extricate airwing pilots fully. From a JFACC training continuum standpoint, locating the planning team leaders and planner billets in the Type Wing Weapons Schools provides the subject matter expert source for early turnaround training.
Locating the Augment Deputy Director of Combat Plans billet as leader of the Combat Plans Augment Team at Naval Strike Warfare Center provides a subject matter expert for carrier air wing Fallon detachments. Current operations aviator augmentee billets could be spread among other source commands .Given this proposed structure, augmentee training occurs during the Navy-led joint exercise envisioned for fleet exercise. By participating in fleet exercise, the augment team not only realizes training but also assimilates procedures unique to the battle group that the JFACC augment team may next support. In the event that a parallel process occurs on the East Coast, two JFACC augment teams could be developed and available to respond in case of multiple crises.
A bad strike plan may lead to unnecessary losses, and the same may be said for a bad JFACC (Afloat) air tasking order or hesitancy in current-operations decision making.
Into whatever form the ultimate training and augment structure
evolves, there is urgency in these unstable times to ensure that the JFACC (Afloat) and its augment team are properly tested prior to deployment.
Recent recognition that a JFACC (Afloat) may be appropriate in the initial stages of an expanding interdiction operation that eventually transitions ashore led the Chief of Naval Operations in July 1993 to change OPNAV1NST C3501.298: Battle Group Staff Projected Operational Environment to state, “Battle group staffs can operate as a component of or as the JFACC directing tactical air control within a joint, unified, or allied environment.”
The August Tandem Thrust 93 Joint Exercise under Vice Admiral Wright’s 7th Fleet command demonstrated this capability by putting Air Force CTAPS software into Navy NTCS-A architecture on the Blue Ridge (LCC-19) and demonstrating the ability to transfer JFACC (Afloat) to the 13th Air Force Guam shore facility. It also showed that best JFACC location may not necessarily be with the preponderance of air assets but rather with the preponderance of C4I connectivity capability.
Concurrent joint JFACC working group meetings focusing on training and C4I connectivity issues are refining the JFACC concept, while numerous joint exercises are scheduled to test the evolving JFACC vision. The final organization developed—bringing Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Air Forces under one command structure—will effectively focus power projection capability of leaner expeditionary forces of the future.
Captain Rondestvedt was Third Fleet Joint Operations/Plans Officer, where he served as JFACC Naval Forces Representative during Tandem Thrust 93. He is currently Commanding Officer, Service School Command, Naval Training Center San Diego.
> Can the communications paths be supported?
■fil The Navy has made great strides in service-specific jii shipboard command and control. Experience gained by jii operating command-and-control ships with embarked staffs, as well as experience supporting embarked flag
staffs on many other classes, has proved that ships at sea can support multiple communications paths, as displayed by the Mount Whitney during Ocean Venture 93. The robust C4I capability required by Ocean Venture’s JTF commander and component staffs required multiple communications paths. For this purpose, the Mount Whitney