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NEWS | Nov. 15, 2021

Air Force discusses modernization of operational C2 systems

By Deb Henley, 505th Command and Control Wing Public Affairs 505th Command and Control Wing

The 505th Command and Control Wing hosted a team from the 700th Air Support Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to familiarize the wing’s units to the Kessel Run All-Domain Operations Suite, or KRADOS, operational command and control tools and discuss the modernization of operational C2 systems, at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Oct. 20.

The 700th ASUS provides weapons system support to the AOC enterprise and enables Kessel Run software development through training and subject matter expert support. Kessel Run is the operational name of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Detachment 12, which delivers combat capabilities and revolutionizes Air Force software acquisition processes.  

During this visit, the 700th ASUS provided exposure to some of the applications contained in the Air Force’s new C2 software suite, KRADOS, to the 505th Combat Training Squadron and the 505th Training Squadron.

The 505th CTS provides synthetic battle spaces utilizing models and simulation tools to train air component and joint leaders and their staff, using well-established tactics, techniques, procedures and C2 software applications.  The 505th TRS is designated as the Department of Defense’s AOC formal training unit where current operations and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance students participate in an end-of-course exercise using the current AOC software, Theater Battle Management Core System.  

The 505th CTS and 505th TRS will both actively contribute to the development and refinement of Kessel Run applications.

The 505th CTS hosted the Langley team on the unit’s operations floor where 58 members of Team BLUE FLAG received a glimpse of new Kessel Run tools.  The professional control force, replication cell, operators, and AOC part-task trainer personnel bring an enterprise-level knowledge base and will be key to the future software development.  In addition to providing feedback on the software, the 505th CTS will continue to help the 700th ASUS develop operational requirements and align the requirements towards joint and coalition exercise audiences.  

“The 700th ASUS training team not only provided an overview of the different Kessel Run applications, but they also engaged in discussion with the experts in the 505th CTS, gaining valuable perspective on our unique responsibility to provide air components with a realistic operational-level training environment,” said Elizabeth Casey, 505th CTS professional control force operator.  “The exposure to KRADOS applications is important to our team and the lessons helped us better see the future not only for the 505th CCW but for the entire AOC enterprise.”

In addition to providing feedback on the software, the 505th CTS will continue to help the 700th ASUS develop operational requirements and align the requirements towards joint and coalition exercise audiences.  

“The 700th ASUS familiarization provided essential insight into KRADOS applications that our training audiences will require for current and future exercise scenarios,” said Lt. Col. Aarron Cornine, 505th CTS commander.  “The 505th CTS team will use this familiarization and insight to deliver more effective scenarios to train air component commander’s staffs against adversary threats.”  

The 700th ASUS  also provided, for the first time, KRADOS exposure to AOC initial qualification training instructors and students.  The team specifically demonstrated: Slapshot (Mission Planning Application); JIGSAW (Tanker Planning Tool); and SPACER (Airspace Allocation Tool). 

“While these programs are not fully integrated into AOC software baselines, this exposure will show students how these applications are used at other global and geographic AOCs,” said Lt. Col. Kari Mott, 505th TRS commander.  “The 505th Training Squadron is now well-postured to provide initial exposure and familiarization of these applications to students that will work in AOCs across the globe.”

The 505th TRS commander and her lead instructors also met with the Langley Team to discuss the future of training these new systems.  

The 700th ASUS and 505th TRS walked away from the event with a plan to formalize quarterly meetings and include subject matter experts to help develop future software applications and validate the existing applications in the Kessel Run suite.  

“I am excited for the future when KRADOS applications are able to plan and produce an ATO [air tasking order],” said Mott. 

The working relationship established between the 505th CCW and the 700th ASUS will ensure timely, accurate, and inclusive feedback will be delivered to Kessel Run, ensuring their continued delivery of combat-capable C2 software applications.  

“Developing and providing new training practices that take advantage of Kessel Run’s continuous delivery model is essential to preparing our operational C2 professionals with the knowledge needed to plan, execute, and assess combat operations at the speed of relevance against strategic threats identified in our National Defense Strategy,” said Lt. Col. Shaun Humphrey, 700th ASUS commander.  “Close cooperation with the 505th CCW is critical to ensuring development and training, both at the initial qualification and continuation training levels, are valuable and measurable in the future.”

While this was only the first meeting between the two units, regular collaboration will help accelerate and advance USAF operational C2 systems and capabilities.  

“This initial meeting gets after my vision of accelerating and advancing the next generation of Air Force C2 systems and capabilities and rapidly parlays Kessel Run applications into the global AOC enterprise,” Col. Frederick “Trey” Coleman, 505th CCW commander.  “The relationship between the 505th CCW and 700th ASUS will drive a closer alignment for our future C2 training, testing, experimentation, and exercises.”