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Sat, Feb 20, 2010

Air Guard Assesses Its Domestic Aviation Support

First Ever War Game To Evaluate ANG Capabilities

Having the right equipment and the right capabilities can save lives in a domestic emergency, and that's why nearly 100 Air National Guard domestic operations experts from across the nation are gathering in Arlington, VA, Feb. 23-24, in the first ever "Aviation Support for Domestic Operations" war game.

The two-day, capabilities-based assessment will draw subject matter and planning experts into two, regional-based scenarios to investigate the value of National Guard-operated light, manned, fixed-wing aviation platforms into the Air Guard's domestic operations capabilities. "If we can capture this data, we can show their dual use domestically and overseas," said Air Force Maj. Andrew Platt of the Air Guard's Requirements Integration Office.

Air Guard officials said these aviation support platforms can make all the difference to emergency responders. Some platforms provide intelligence awareness and assessment, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), command and control, communications and light airlift, but officials here want to measure and analyze the performance of light, manned, fixed-wing aviation platforms to determine their potential to the states and territories.

In the past, successful missions were flown after Hurricane Katrina with the Guard's RC-26 ISR aircraft. In 2008, those same light, manned, fixed-wing aviation platforms were used with success in firefighting operations and most notably during the Midwest floods that involved six states.

There, aircraft from West Virginia and Mississippi were dispatched to help in a multi-agency response. They flew valuable ISR missions over the flooded areas and relayed information to help repair critical infrastructure.


The war game here, said Platt, is designed to characterize and quantify the demand for those types of missions as well other manmade disasters. It will also establish domestic aviation requirements for the Air Guard. "We will break those 100 folks into teams based on FEMA region, and present them with scenarios that increase in complexity as the war game goes on," said Platt.

Post-war game analysts here will then look at each platform's use and compare it to the Air Guard's capabilities. This process will help Air Guard officials find gaps and seams in their current force structure.

Another mission, officials said, is to examine a "global military operations environment to find synergies between those domestic capabilities." The RC-26 platform is another good example, because it provides tactical intelligence and manned tactical ISR to warfighters overseas, but is also used by the Guard in domestic counter-drug missions and other support to the governors.

Such capabilities must be examined by the field, officials said, and the war game provides the platform to make that possible.

ANN Salutes Master Sgt. Mike Smith, National Guard Bureau



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