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USJFCOM Kicks Off Exercise Blue Flag/JTFEX with Navy, Army, Air Force

USJFCOM’s Joint Warfighting Center uses modeling and simulation to merge two historically separate exercises into one collaborative event.

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By JO1(SW/AW) Chris Hoffpauir
USJFCOM Public Affairs

(NORFOLK, Va. – Jan. 18, 2005) – U.S. Joint Forces Command’s (USJFCOM) Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC) kicks off an exercise today which links more than 6,500 Navy, Air Force and Army personnel at locations scattered across the country.

The U.S. Air Force’s Exercise Blue Flag 05-01 and the U.S. Navy’s Joint Task Force Exercise 05-02 (JTFEX) begins on opposite coasts, assisted by communications and computer networks provided by JWFC in Suffolk, Va.

“Linking such geographically separate sites provides an unprecedented ability to conduct mission rehearsal and theater orientation training for two operational organizations prior to deploying,” said Kevin Kiernan, JWFC event planner.

According to Kiernan, the services have historically run their exercises separately.

“This is the first time a Blue Flag exercise has been linked to a JTFEX,” Kiernan said. “These exercises have been conducted separately for the Air Force and Navy for more than ten years."

Exercise sites include the Navy’s Third Fleet Headquarters in San Diego and the Air Force’s Eighth Air Force Headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

The 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla., are also participating.

The individual services’ goals are to certify the Eighth Air Force’s Air and Space Operations Center and the USS Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group for deployment. Blue Flag is a modeling and simulation-assisted rehearsal exercise for the Air Force, while the Navy’s JTFEX is a live event involving ships and aircraft at sea.

“This exercise successfully demonstrates the capability of using the Joint National Training Capability Global Joint Training Infrastructure to help major commands address their joint training deficiencies prior to deployment,” Kiernan said.

The Joint National Training Capability promises an enhanced way to train that offers joint forces and the services a potential spectrum of live, virtual and constructive (L-V-C) training environments.
The L-V-C environment melds existing operational and strategic facets of exercises with live forces, creating a more robust and realistic experience.

JNTC reached initial operating capability (IOC) in October 2004 and is on track for full operational capability (FOC) for 2009, according to USJFCOM officials.

This exercise is one of several scheduled for 2005, which will advance JNTC towards FOC.