JADC2: Black Sea Exercise Tests Joint Command Concepts

An F-16 fighter launches a JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile)

WASHINGTON: An Air Force-led international exercise yesterday in the Black Sea will feed lessons learned into the Pentagon’s top-priority push to create a new kind of command and control for future wars.

“This will support our Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept of operations,” a spokesperson for US Air Forces Europe (USAFE) told Breaking D in an email this morning. “It will inform how we command echelons, informing future solutions for integration into organic capabilities in theater.”

The Air Force is leading the military’s development of JADC2, the linchpin of future efforts to seamlessly coordinate operations across all the armed services in land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. As Breaking D readers know, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has asked for the an official “Joint Warfighting Concept for All-Domain Operations” to be finalized by the end of the year. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley has now assigned each of the services a piece of that complex puzzle, supported by multi-service officer teams.

USAFE led the one-day, all-domain training mission, involving assets from USAFE, US Naval Forces Europe, Special Operations Command Europe, and Space Command, all operating in or above international waters in the Black Sea, according to an Air Force press release.

“Conducting operations in the Black Sea ensures stability throughout the region. Our combined presence strengthens relationships with our allies and partners while sending a message to any adversary that we are committed to collective defense and ready to respond in a complex security environment,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, who commands USAFE and US Air Forces – Africa.

USS Porter (left) and the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (right) in the Black Sea during exercise Sea Breeze 2018,

The USAFE exercise was conducted in conjunction with the 20th iteration of the annual Sea Breeze naval exercise — aimed at keeping Russia on its toes in the region — to allow integration of Air Force intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) assets.

“Sea Breeze 2020 is scheduled through July 26 and involves more than 2,000 personnel from nations such as Bulgaria, Georgia, Norway, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States,” explains a news release from the USS Porter. “NATO Standing Maritime Group 2 under the authority of NATO Maritime Command will operate alongside all participating nations in the Black Sea.”

The Porter, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, entered the Black Sea on July 19 and played in the USAFE exercise as well.

During the exercise, the Air Force “flew F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Aerial Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, and MQ-9 Reapers assigned to the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2, Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland,” the service press release noted. The F-16s also practiced tactics for using the Joint Air-to-Surface Missile (JASSM) cruise missile.

The Navy contributed the Porter (DDG 78), currently assigned to the 6th Fleet, and Patrol Squadron (VP-4) P-8 Poseidon aircraft from CTF-67. Finally, Special Operations Command Europe contributed MC-130J Commando II aircraft from the 352nd Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England.

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