By Capt. Adan CazarezMarch 5, 2019
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HAWAII - Army Air Defense Artillery Fire Coordination Officers (ADAFCOs) assigned to the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command honed their gunnery skills while participating in Resilient Shield 19, February 22-March 1, 2019, here.
The annual exercise is a computer-based Fleet Synthetic Training-Joint (FST-J) exercise. It replicates real world theater challenges by using current command and control (C2) weapons systems at the Tactical-to-Operational levels.
The three Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) ADAFCOs crews trained for countless hours during the weeks leading up to the seven-day exercise. Their emphasis was coordination and engagement capabilities.
Resilient Shield 19 simulated air and ground warfare. This exercise included the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Japanese Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships, U.S. and Japanese Patriot Forces and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Battery's within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Theater.
The exercise also afforded the ADAFCOs the opportunity to perform their Table VIII certification, which is a requirement for ADAFCO crews to conduct their operational mission.
"This particular exercise is allowing us to demonstrate how we would conduct the operation in a "fight tonight" scenario, so we are performing a proof of concept during this exercise," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Caroline Surprenant, the ADAFCO Standardization Officer and Planner.
"I'm super excited about this training exercise because everything has been on paper, but now we're going to prove the concept really works," Surprenant added.
For the ADAFCOs participating in the exercise their goal is to become certified in Table VIII. In order to earn their certification, the AAMDC ADAFCOs must participate in a Joint exercise. They must also control a THAAD battery and engagements from at least one inter-service theater mission command platform and coordinate with at least one additional upper tier weapon system such as the Aegis or the Arrow.
"Resilient Shield has given us the opportunity to test and validate our AAMDC ADAFCOs abilities to preform their doctrinal role of upper tier shot de-confliction in a joint operating area airspace," she said. "The ADAFCOs perform de-confliction to prevent missile wastage and reduce the amount of post-intercept debris."
This training exercise also offered the AAMDC ADAFCOs an evaluation on their Table VIII certification.
"This is officially our first certification because this is the first time we have had someone external to our unit fully evaluate us," she stated.
An Upper Tier Coordination Officer Course Instructor from the U.S. Navy provided the evaluation during the joint exercise.
"It's clear that 94th AAMDC, 613th AOC [Air Operation Center], and C7F [U.S. 7th Fleet] collaborated extensively to develop effective joint plans and defense designs in the run up to this event," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. John Mastriani.
"Each branch brings unique capabilities and when employed together, the joint force is stronger than any service-specific solution," Mastriani added. "We're seeing that here."
The successful defense from unanticipated ballistic missile threats requires detailed planning and quick defensive reactions. In turn, the AAMDC ADAFCOs table VIII certification during Resilient Shield 19 produced positive results while also finding room for improvement.
"The exercise and certification over the last couple of days ensured our AADMC ADAFCOs are confident in preforming their operational mission regardless of the scenario," said Surprenant.