by Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
3/25/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S.
Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa command staff members
stepped up last week to the challenge of supporting four Unified
Combatant Commands' large-scale defense exercises, aimed at training
members and improving regional response capabilities.
The four globally positioned COCOM exercises included U.S. European
Command's Austere Challenge 2015, U.S. Africa Command's Judicious
Response 2015, U.S. Strategic Command's Global Lightning 2015 and U.S.
Transportation Command's Turbo Challenge 2015.
While the exercise objectives were not new, the synchronized efforts
gave new breath to bolstering inter-service approaches to the
ever-changing military challenges of today's world.
"We are always moving forward, learning and improving our processes.
This exercise is no different in that endeavor, however, it is unique,"
said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air
"By combining our efforts across these commands, we have intentionally
turned up the heat on ourselves to identify seams or cracks in our
efforts to provide the best land, air and sea defense capabilities our
The computer-based command post simulations ranging from combat
responses to humanitarian assistance across various regions provided
real-time, emergency response scenarios to battle staff commanders and
subject matter experts. As a result of the numerous scenarios,
commanders and staff had to make deliberate and calculated decisions as
to how to meet the mission with limited assets from the Air Force, Army,
Navy or Marine Corps.
"We live in a very dynamic and evolving world, where it seems there is
always more than one emergency taking place," said Roberson. "We need to
better understand how to best provide the most comprehensive support
when our forces are pulled in different directions."
In order to support the 24/7 work demands during the two week event,
nearly 350 augmentees were brought in to work alongside 3rd AF and
USAFE-AFAFRICA headquarters staff. Ultimately, the exercise not only
helped improve internal processes, but served to train the next
generation of service members for the potential challenges ahead.
"We are very grateful for all of the augmentees, reservists, active duty
and civilian counterparts who helped make this possible," said
Roberson. "This is a great opportunity for those who have seen their
fair share of exercises to mentor and prepare our younger Airmen who
will eventually become tomorrow's leaders. I encourage each and every
one who is a part of this to ask questions, challenge processes, take
notes and channel those up your chain of command. That's where true
innovation comes from and that's how we will continue to improve."