Yokota Hercs find their Northern Edge
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Ryan Ell, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot, left, and Staff Sgt. D’Angelo Seabron, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, monitor the overhead panel in support of Northern Edge 23-2 over Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 14, 2023. Service members are participating in the joint, multidomain training exercise hosted by Pacific Air Forces July 2-21, 2023. NE 23-2 is a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercise designed to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to improve interoperability of participating forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Avallone) (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Jessica Avallone) VIEW ORIGINAL

Army Futures Command’s campaign of persistent experimentation matured and paid dividends in July as observers from the Army modernization enterprise, led by the Joint Modernization Command (JMC), returned to the Philippines and Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to experiment with the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force during the Project Convergence-Pacific/Northern Edge (PC-P) exercise.

JMC took an initial look at the 1st MDTF’s concepts and capabilities during Joint Warfighting Assessment 23 (JWA23) in the Philippines in the spring. The efforts at JWA23 and PC-P are part of persistent experimentation through the integrated campaign of continuous learning in the Pacific, which will inform and set experimentation conditions for the European campaign of learning later in the summer, with collective lessons funneling into Project Convergence Capstone 4 in Spring 2024.

This was the second portion of JMC’s participation in the Pacific Air Forces-led Northern Edge exercise, with observers in Alaska during PC-P-Tac 1. JMC observed the 3rd MDTF, the newest multi-domain task force in the Army, during PC-P Tac 1. Maj. John Donaho of JMC’s Operations Group B was part of a team that participated in Tac 2 from JBLM.

“During PC-P-Tac 1, the center of gravity was in the Aleutian Islands around Alaska, whereas PC-P-Tac 2 is focused in the first and second island chains in the Pacific,” Donaho said.

JMC’s participation in the Northern Edge exercise helped prove the concept of inserting Army transformation experimentation into Indo-Pacific Command campaigns in the Pacific, Donaho said.

“It’s not separate, like oil and water, where we need to do current readiness now and deal with future readiness somewhere else,” Donaho said. “Doing in-theater experimentation like PC-P enables us to both generate current readiness and future readiness at the same time.”

As the Army modernization enterprise completes its first few months of persistent experimentation, PC-P-Tac 2 helped validate the value of participating in multiple, small-scale, in-theater exercises to push forward Army transformation, said Cpt. Jonathan Ritch of JMC’s Operations Group Z. Ritch participated in PC-P-Tac 2 from the Philippines.

“At Tac 2, you really saw the concepts and capabilities mature,” Ritch said. “The first time we saw some of these things was during Balikatan a few months ago, then some new concepts and capabilities during PC-P-Tac 1, then we were able to continue to build upon those ideas and gain new insights during Tac 2. We were able to get a look at all this stuff early on, then really put it into action during Tac 2.”

After JMC’s integrated campaign of continuous learning in the Pacific, persistent experimentation will move to Europe later this summer, and finally into Project Convergence Capstone 4 in the spring of 2024. The persistent experimentation methodology is preeminent for transforming our Army and enabling readiness for the multi-domain battles of the future.