Members from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force, discuss and exchange ideas after the the Agile Combat Employment exercise March 6, 2019, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Elements of ACE are being incorporated into Pacific Air Forces-led exercises, and into those executed with allies and partners to demonstrate the strength of our combined nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)
Members from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force, discuss and exchange ideas after the the Agile Combat Employment exercise March 6, 2019, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Elements of ACE are being incorporated into Pacific Air Forces-led exercises, and into those executed with allies and partners to demonstrate the strength of our combined nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. JT May III)

U.S., JASDF, and RAAF complete first-ever multinational ACE

by Master Sgt. James May
Stripes Guam36th Contingency Response Group

A U.S. Marine Corps F-18 Super Hornet, a C-130 Hercules and approximately 80 coalition forces from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) supported a multinational Agile Combat Employment (ACE) exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam March 6.

This exercise was in support of the Air Force’s efforts to develop ACE concept of operations. This capability demonstrates the Air Force’s global reach and agility by providing a force able to quickly respond and provide combat air power in support of the U.S. commitment to regional security and stability.

“It was particularly beneficial to watch the ACE demonstration today with our coalition partners because it highlights our close relationships and increasing interoperability with each other,” said RAAF Flight Lieutenant Sam Goldspring.

The exercise validates new ways to deploy and maneuver assets during a crisis or conflict and to operate in contested environments. Elements of ACE are being incorporated into Pacific Air Forces-led exercises, and into those executed with allies and partners, where we have and will continue to demonstrate the strength of our combined nations.

“A lot of teamwork and innovation has brought this concept into existence and this exercise gives us an excellent opportunity to continue to refine our tactics, training and procedures and improve our operating capabilities,” said Maj. Jack Smith, 36th Contingency Response Group air advisor.

The ACE concept of operations is the warfighting concept that Pacific Air Forces is operationalizing to ensure agility, deterrence, and resiliency in a contested or degraded environment. It also provides flexibility by enabling U.S. forces to operate more resiliently and effectively throughout the Indo-Pacific, whether that be in a contested or degraded environment.

The 36th CRG has operated using ACE concepts for years, which are highlighted by their cross-functional Airmen who deploy at a moment’s notice. Having a team with multiple skill-sets ensures adaptability in a wide array of battlefield environments, as well as seamless integration with partner countries.

“This is one of the first opportunities we’ve had to practice our ACE concept with the JASDF and RAAF, and it is great to get new perspectives from our partners as we continue to evolve this concept,” said Smith.

Exercises and deployments are an excellent investment as they provide invaluable training, operational readiness, and strengthen our relationships with our partners and allies. In every endeavor, we strive to be responsible stewards of U.S. taxpayer dollars and developing and employing the Agile Combat Employment concept of operations underscores our commitment to regional security and stability.

“It’s been a very good learning experience seeing the concept, and the actual equipment such as hot refueling procedures and the mobile fuel pump,” said JASDF Maj. Atsuki Kumagai.

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