Air Operations Center

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USAFCENT CAOC at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, 2009
A look inside the Gen. James H. Doolittle Combined Air and Space Operations Center facility (612th Air and Space Operations Center) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., 2013

An Air Operations Center (AOC) is a type of command center used by the United States Air Force (USAF). It is the senior agency of the Air Force component commander to provide command and control of air operations.[1]

The United States Air Force employs two kinds of AOCs: regional AOCs utilizing the AN/USQ-163 Falconer weapon system that support geographic combatant commanders, and functional AOCs that support functional combatant commanders.[2] When there is more than one U.S. military service working in an AOC, such as when naval aviation from the U.S. Navy (USN) and/or the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is incorporated, it is called a Joint Air Operations Center (JAOC). In cases of allied or coalition (multinational) operations in tandem with USAF or Joint air and space operations, the AOC is called a Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).[1]

An AOC is the senior element of the Theater Air Control System (TACS). The Joint Force Commander (JFC) assigns a Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) to lead the AOC weapon system. If allied or coalition forces are part of the operation, the JFC and JFACC will be redesignated as the CFC and CFACC, respectively.

Quite often the Commander, Air Force Forces (COMAFFOR) is assigned the JFACC/CFACC position for planning and executing theater-wide air and space forces. If another service also provides a significant share of air and space forces, the Deputy JFACC/CFACC will typically be a senior flag officer from that service. For example, during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, when USAF combat air forces (CAF) and mobility air forces (MAF) integrated extensive USN and USMC sea-based and land-based aviation and Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy / Fleet Air Arm aviation, the CFACC was an aeronautically rated USAF lieutenant general, assisted by an aeronautically designated USN rear admiral (upper half) as the Deputy CFACC, and an aeronautically rated RAF air commodore as the Senior British Officer (Air).

Divisions[edit]

There are five divisions in the AOC. These separate, but distinct, organizations fuse information that eventually becomes the Air Tasking Order. Staffing of these divisions consists primarily of USAF officers of various specialities in the ranks of captain, major and lieutenant colonel, supported by a smaller cohort of enlisted airmen, typically in the rank of staff sergeant and above. When conducting joint air and space operations, U.S. Army and USMC officers of similar rank and USN officers in the ranks of lieutenant, lieutenant commander and commander will also provide augmentative manning as required, the majority of whom will be aeronautically rated/aeronautically designated. Senior leadership oversight of the AOC is provided by USAF colonels and general officers and USN captains and flag officers.

Strategy Division (SRD)[edit]

  • Strategy Plans Team
  • Strategy Guidance Team
  • Operational Assessment Team
  • Information Operations Team

Combat Plans Division (CPD)[edit]

  • Target Effects Team
  • Master Air Attack Plan Team
  • Air Tasking Order Production Team
  • Command and Control Planning Team

Combat Operations Division (COD)[edit]

  • Offensive Ops Team
  • Defensive Ops Team
  • Personnel Recovery
  • Senior Intelligence Duty Officer
  • Joint Interface Control Officer
  • Weather Specialty Team
  • Naval Air Liaison Element (NALE)
    • USN + USMC; NALE also provides personnel/support to CPD and ISRD

Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Division (ISRD)[edit]

  • Analysis, Correlation, and Fusion
  • Targeting and Tactical Assessment
  • ISR Operations

Air Mobility Division (AMD)[edit]

  • AMD Chief
  • Deputy AMD Chief
  • Superintendent
  • Air Mobility Control Team (AMCT)
    • Execution Cell
    • Mission Management
    • Flight Management
    • USAPAT Mission Planner
    • Maintenance
  • Airlift Control Team (ALCT)
    • Airlift Plans
    • DV Airlifts
    • Diplomatic Clearance
    • Requirements
  • Air Refueling Control Team (ARCT)
  • Aeromedical Evacuation Control Team (AECT)
  • Unique Missions Support Team (AMDU)

Active Air Operations Centers[edit]

List of Active US Air Force Air Operations Centers
Name Emblem Location Country Major Command Parent Organization Unified Combat Command Type Role
601st Air Operations Center 601st Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Tyndall AFB, Florida  United States Air Combat Command First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) US Northern Command Regional Command and control for air defense, homeland security and civil support missions for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command across the Continental US, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.[3]
603rd Air Operations Center 603d Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Ramstein AB  Germany US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Third Air Force US European Command and US Africa Command Regional Command and control of air and space operations in Europe and Africa.[4]
607th Air Operations Center 607 Air Operations Group (later 607 Air and Space Operations Center) emblem.png Osan AB  South Korea Pacific Air Forces Seventh Air Force (Air Forces Korea) US Indo-Pacific Command Regional Command and control of air and space operations in the Korean peninsula, supporting US Forces Korea.[5]
608th Air Operations Center 608 Air Operations Group (later 608th Air and Space Operations Center)emblem.png Barksdale AFB, Louisiana  United States Air Force Global Strike Command Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) US Strategic Command Functional Command and control of long-range strike missions.[6]
609th Air Operations Center 609th Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Al Udeid Air Base  Qatar Air Combat Command US Air Forces Central US Central Command Regional Also known as the Combined Air Operations Center, commands and controls the USAF operations from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia.[7]
611th Air Operations Center USAF - 611 Air Operations Center.png Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska  United States Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force US Northern Command Regional Command and control for the Alaskan Region of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Alaskan Command and Eleventh Air Force within and surrounding Alaska.[8]
612th Air Operations Center 612th Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Davis Mothan AFB, Arizona  United States Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) US Southern Command Regional Command and control of USAF operations in the Caribbean, Central and South America.[9]
613th Air Operations Center 613th Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii  United States Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force US Indo-Pacific Command Regional Command and control of USAF operations in the throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.[10]
616th Operations Center Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas  United States Air Combat Command Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) US Cyber Command Functional Command and control of USAF worldwide intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance and cyberwarfare operations.
618th Air Operations Center 618 Air & Space Operations Ctr.svg Scott AFB, Illinois  United States Air Mobility Command Eighteenth Air Force (Air Forces Transportation) US Transportation Command Functional Also known as Tanker Airlift Control Center, it plans, schedules and directs airlift, air-refueling and aeromedical evacuation operations around the world.[11]
Combined Air Operations Center - Experimental Joint Base Langley–Eustis, Virginia  United States Air Combat Command US Air Force Warfare Center N/A Test and evaluation Test bed for command and control systems. Operated by the 505th Command and Control Wing.[12]
Combined Air Operations Center - Nellis CAOC-Nellis.PNG Nellis AFB, Nevada  United States Air Combat Command US Air Force Warfare Center N/A Training Provides command and control training to the US Military and coalition partners. Operated by the 505th Command and Control Wing.[13]

Inactive Air Operations Centers[edit]

List of Inactive US Air Force Air Operations Centers
Name Emblem Location Country Major Command Named or Numbered Air Force Unified Combat Command Type Role
614th Air Operations Center 614 AOC Patch (white background).jpg Vandenberg AFB, California  United States United States Space Force Space Operations Command US Space Command Functional Transitioned to the US Space Force with the rest of Air Force Space Command on 20 December 2019.[14]
617th Air and Space Operations Center 617th Air and Space Operations Center.PNG Ramstein AB  Germany United States Air Forces Africa Seventeenth Air Force (Air Forces Africa) US Africa Command Regional Operational between 1 October 2008 and 1 October 2011. Merged with 603rd AOC.[15][16]
623rd Air Operations Center 623 Air & Space Operations Center emblem.jpg Hurlburt Field, Florida  United States Air Force Special Operations Command Twenty-Third Air Force (Air Forces Special Operations Forces) US Special Operations Command Functional Re-designated as the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center (AFSOAWC) on 11 February 2013. Provided command and control of special forces.[17]

AOC-equipping Units[edit]

NATO CAOC[edit]

Since July 2013 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also uses the Combined Air Operations Centre concept at two locations (Torrejon, Spain and Uedem, Germany) with a deployable Air Operations Centre at Poggio Renatico, Italy. Previously, supporting the air component commands were 5 static Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) to direct NATO air operations: in Finderup, Denmark; Eskisehir, Turkey; Larissa, Greece; Torrejon, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. There were 2 further CAOCs with a static as well as a deployable role; Uedem, Germany and Poggio Renatico. The static CAOCs can support Allied air operations from their fixed locations, while the deployable CAOC will move where they are needed.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Air Force Doctrine Document 1-2, Air Force Glossary Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. 11 January 2007. Accessed 29 January 2011.
  2. ^ Air Force Doctrine Document 2, Operations and Organization Archived 13 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. 3 April 2007. Accessed 29 January 2011.
  3. ^ "601st Air Operations Centre". CONR-1AF (AFNORTH). US Air Force. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ "603rd Air and Space Operations Centre – Fact Sheet" (PDF). US Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa. US Air Force. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  5. ^ "607th Air Operations Center". Seventh Air Force. US Air Force. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  6. ^ "608th Air Operations Center". Eighth Air Force. US Air Force. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC)". US Air Forces Central Command. US Air Force. July 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  8. ^ "611th Air Operations Center". Joint Base Elemendorf-Ricahrdson. US Air Force. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  9. ^ "612th Air Operations Center". 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern). US Air Force. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  10. ^ "613th Air Operations Center". Pacific Air Forces. US Air Force. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  11. ^ "About Us". 618th Air Operations Center. US Air Force. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  12. ^ Betit, 2nd Lt. Brooke; Brown, Senior Airman Jason J. (13 August 2013). "605th TES tests next-gen weapons systems at Langley". Air Combat Command. US Air Force. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Nellis' Combined Air Operations Center doubles capacity". Air Combat Command. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  14. ^ Hirsch, Steve (4 June 2018). "Departing Head of Space Ops Center Cites Importance of Cooperation with Allies". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  15. ^ Svan, Jennifer H. (20 October 2011). "Air Force merges two command and control units in Germany". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  16. ^ Fisher, Master Sgt. Jim (2 June 2009). "617th Air and Space Operations Center activates at Ramstein". US Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa. US Air Force. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Air Force Special Operations Command 25th Anniversary Issue" (PDF). Hurlburt Chapter #398 – Air Force Association. June 2015. p. 10. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ "112d Air Operations Squadron Homepage". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  21. ^ NYANG – 152d AOG Homepage
  22. ^ Air Force Reserve News