NEWS | Sept. 8, 2020

Agile Combat Employment Ensures Free and Open Indo-Pacific

By Lt. Col. Tony Wickman Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) continues to deliver strategic predictability and operational unpredictability using Agile Combat Employment to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Using mainstay bombers, tankers and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms mixed with cutting edge 5th generation fighters and newer airlift and ISR assets, PACAF continues to employ forces from around the globe and those of its allies and partners to prepare for and counter rapidly growing threats in the region.

“Deploying B-1s, B-2s, and B-52s as part of our Agile Combat Employment, coupled with U.S. Strategic Command’s dynamic force employment concepts, ensures bilateral and joint interoperability throughout the Indo-Pacific theater,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Winkler, PACAF director of strategic plans and requirements. “We continuously evaluate our strategy, including how we deploy and employ various weapon systems, to ensure we deliver on our mission of providing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with continuous unrivaled air, space, and cyberspace capabilities to ensure regional stability and security.”

The command shows its adaptability and innovation by planning and presenting multi-axis challenges to competitors while building on its core capabilities of command and control, movement and maneuver, firepower, protection, intelligence and sustainment, said Winkler.

“The recent 24-hour airpower demonstration PACAF did using B-1s, B-2s, and F-15s conducted simultaneously with joint and allied partners demonstrated how we are ready to fight tonight,” Winkler said. “We regularly show we can conduct long-range command and control in a dynamic environment to bring unparalleled movement, maneuver, and firepower while managing the protection and sustainment of our force.”

Executing the command’s mission requires responsiveness, resiliency, agility and an implicit trust in commanders at all levels to know and execute their mission, said Maj. Gen. Lance Pilch, PACAF director of air and cyberspace operations.

“To secure our operational advantage in a rapidly evolving environment, we must cultivate an agile posture and refine all-domain command and control capabilities aimed at synchronizing joint airpower at the time and space of our choosing,” Pilch said. “We demonstrate ACE daily as we continue to plan and execute ahead of our competition and, when called upon, seize air superiority, decisively deliver effects and maintain initiative in heavily contested domains.”

The Air Force is focused on sustaining its current capacity, while seeking emerging technologies vital to the successful control and exploitation of the air and cyberspace domains, Pilch added.

“The Air Force continues to maintain the viability of the U.S. strategic bomber force through a series of upgrades to the B-2 and B-52, which will ensure continued survivability and compatibility with modern weaponry,” said Pilch. “It is imperative these and other systems remain safe, secure and effective within the anti-access/area denial environments until replaced by the B-21 and other modernized deterrent systems.”

Using ACE as its scheme of maneuver and innovation as its guidepost, the command is postured to be proactive to deter aggression and when called upon increase survivability while generating combat airpower to defeat a near-peer adversary.

“We are a lethal, innovative and interoperable force focused on a shared vision with our allies and partners to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said Pilch.