JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —
The Multi-Domain Warfare Officer (13O) Initial Skills Training Class 21B conducted the final portion of their two-week, multi-location temporary duty training at 16th Air Force’s 616th Operations Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
During this visit, the 13O students received briefings on the Air Forces Cyber mission and the role the 616th OC plays in supporting U.S. Cyber Command’s global operations. In March 2020, JB San Antonio’s two operations centers, the 625th and 624th Operations Centers, were integrated into the 616th OC.
The merging of these two operations centers, according to Col. James Weaver, 616th OC commander, established a “gold standard for command and control and the conduct of full-spectrum cyberspace operations and one that’s a culture focused on filling gaps and seams to optimize ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) operations worldwide, resulting in increased effectiveness and air domain awareness for combatant commanders worldwide,” for AFCYBER and Air Combat Command.
During the 616th OC’s activation ceremony, Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force commander, described the center as “a warfighting unit responsible for the convergence of the Air Force information warfare enterprise to create new outcomes for the nation.”
The 616th OC is composed primarily of non-kinetic career fields ranging from cyber operators to intelligence officers who protect and maintain the Air Force Information Network from malicious actors.
During this visit, the students met with 13Os assigned to the 616th OC and their discussions centered on AFCYBER operations and the unique challenges facing operators at 616th OC.
The students also received a brief from the 91st and 375th Cyberspace Operations Squadrons which are tactical units that are assigned under the 67th Cyber Wing. These units, also based at JB San Antonio, provide cyber warfare capabilities to the combatant commanders.
To culminate the four-location temporary duty travel, the 13O students visited the Joint Electronic Warfare Center, which is assigned to U.S. Strategic Command. The JEWC is responsible for electromagnetic spectrum operations and supports operations by assessing electronic warfare requirements, technology, and capabilities while conducting modeling, analysis, and electromagnetic spectrum activity coordination amongst combatant commands and other U.S. government agencies.
“Joint electronic warfare freedom of maneuver in the electromagnetic spectrum is critical to conducting operations in and across all domains and joint functions,” said Lt. Col. Ernie Chen, 705th Training Squadron Operational Warfare Flight director at Hurlburt Field, Florida. “The center deploys electronic warfare experts, trains staff, stands up forward planning cells and delivers rapid warfighter support when required.”
“The vast majority of our graduates will be going to AOCs, OCs, and staffs that are not engaged in combat operations,” said Lt. Col. Benjamin Lee, 705th TRS director of operations. “First-hand exposure of our 13O students to the unique considerations of the JEWC and the 616th OC reinforces the complexity of information warfare and postures them to provide invaluable perspective to their gaining components as they navigate in the arena of strategic competition.”
“The increasing demand signal from senior leaders across the Department of the Air Force continues to validate both the training of the 13Os and need for operational level planning experts,” said Col. Adam Shelton, 505th Test and Training Group commander. “Electronic and information warfare will no longer be secondary thoughts in future combat and in most cases, will likely be leading efforts. Thus, multi-domain training that we provide must continue to emphasize these environments to best meet the needs of the air components.”
Multi-Domain Warfare Officer Class 21B graduated Nov. 19. The next round of 13O candidates will start training Jan. 4 as class 22A.
The 705th TRS reports to the 505th TTG and 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field.