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Blue Flag (BF) is an Air Combat Command-sponsored exercise program that trains participants at the operational level of war. ACC provides overall management of the program, to include programming, funding, and scheduling.
The 505th Combat Training Squadron (CTS) is ACC's agent for planning and executing the BF program. BF provides doctrinally-correct air, space, and cyberspace crisis action planning (CAP) and command and control (C2) training for joint/coalition air components and operational-level headquarters in a constructive environment.
The primary training audience includes commanders and staff of component-numbered air forces (C-NAF), Air Force forces (AFFOR), joint/combined air operations centers (J/CAOC), and associated operational-level joint and coalition C2 organizations and personnel. The goal is to train commanders and staff officers so that, in a war emergency, they can immediately participate in directing an air war and make smart decisions during the critical first days of an engagement. Training during the exercises is in five primary areas: command, control, communications, intelligence, and the relationship of these elements.
The goal is for each NAF to participate in a BF every two years, but AOC/AFFOR training is also embedded into multi-tiered combatant command-sponsored events through the Joint Air Component Command and Control Exercise, Training, and Integration (JETI) program.
Blue Flag exercises attempt to duplicate theater conditions and procedures as closely as possible. Blue Flag planners research friendly and enemy force structures, communications capabilities, logistics support, command and control procedures, and current plans and directives. Blue Flag relies on theater advisors for validation of exercise scenarios and proper relocation of participating headquarters and wartime command and control structure. Theater advisors also assist with player training and act as non-player higher headquarters.
Control Group - The 505th CTS has developed several world class capabilities which include a higher headquarters team designed specifically to replicate the joint task force and above level. Joint participants can either join as role players or as part of the training audience. Control functions also include the professional control force made up of weapon system and AOC experts who run the "air war," fly the ATO, and replicate the various functions required for JFACC/JAOC operations and training.
Scenario Development - Scenario development is conducted by a cross-functional team whose activities occur throughout the BF planning cycle. Blue Flag has developed a robust theater level scenario which can be modified for additional joint context and joint training as required by the training audience. The principal scenario is developed around the theater air campaign however can easily accommodate special operations forces, land component, and maritime training requirements.
Models and Simulations - The constructive backbone for a BLUE FLAG event is the Air, Space and Cyber Constructive Environment (ASCCE) suite, and the Joint Training and Experimentation Network (JTEN) which is supported by the 505th Communications Squadron. The simulations federated into this environment provide a realistic representation of air and space power for joint exercises and experimentation conducted in MAJCOMs around the world.
Academic/Trainer Support - Trainer Support is accomplished through the support of the 705th Training Squadron's Operational Command Training Program (OCTP), utilizing Senior Advisors who focus on JFACC/COMAFFOR training, and Observer/Trainers (OTs) who provide focused AOC Division Chief and AFFOR A-Staff Director tailored academic training "over the shoulder" as requested by the training audience prior to crisis action planning (CAP) and exercise execution phases.
The Higher Headquarters Element (HICON) replicates the functions of the national strategic levels of war, the theater strategic levels of war, the geographic combatant commander (GCC) or Joint Task Force (JTF) staff and/or other strategic level functions and organizations in exercise design and execution. Joint doctrine is integral to the entire BF planning and execution process. Focus is on doctrinal execution of air component processes within the context of a theater level Campaign.
Feedback to Training Audience - Both formal and informal feedback is provided to the training audience through various methods. "Over the shoulder" support can be offered during daily ATO execution, end of day feedback to the division chiefs and JFACC as well as end of event formal feedback which provides opportunities for all participant leads to openly discuss training and exercise objectives. Formal feedback is led by a highly qualified joint lessons learned subject matter expert.
505th CCW Public Affairs
138 Hartson St., Hurlburt Field, Fla. 32544-5231
DSN: 579-6512, COM: (850) 884-6512
(Current as of February 2013)