OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
In modern warfare, the ability to communicate rapidly and effectively can be the difference between victory and defeat. To effectively maintain Fight Tonight readiness and provide the best possible defense of the Republic of Korea, servicemembers must function test their capabilities and identify ways to improve their procedures, which is exactly why they conduct routine training exercises.
The 7th Air Force recently conducted exercise Enduring PACE from May 15-19, 2023. The exercise put communication equipment to the test and involved communications Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, the 51st Fighter Wing, the 607th Air Operations Center here at Osan Air Base and other communications units dispersed throughout the Republic of Korea.
“Enduring Pace is an exercise that practices communications resilience across multiple networks, ensuring the Commander’s ability to operate in any environment,” said Master Sgt. Adam Johnson, 7th Air Force contingency and exercise manager. “The 8th Communication Squadron, 51st Communication Squadron, 607th Air Communications Squadron, and 607th Materiel Maintenance Squadron detachments, execute exercise requirements in parallel while maintaining coordination with 7th AF Staff.”
A key aspect of contingency communication is the efficiency in which equipment can be deployed and employed.
“Our portion of this exercise is doing an in-house contingency test of all our systems,” said Staff Sgt. Acacia Gilbert, 607th ACOMS radio frequency transmissions supervisor. “We are trying to see how quickly we can get our systems up and running and functional, according to our base plan.”
Enduring PACE aimed at establishing operational-to-tactical communications linkages, which are essential for command and control during contingencies. Another goal was to conduct communication systems validation between all Air Force components from contingency locations throughout the ROK.
“Communication resilience across the Peninsula is essential for the ROK and U.S. to partner effectively,” said Johnson. “With the capability to communicate quickly and securely, our partnership can coordinate operations across different regions and respond to changes more effectively. Without reliable communication for Command and Control, our ability to project Air Power promptly would be degraded.”
Every exercise has challenges and shortfalls and that is a good thing because it provides the opportunity for process improvement.
“The greatest success of this exercise is our Airmen’s ability to adapt and overcome challenges to achieve their objectives,” said Johnson. “Looking at all the entities involved across 7 AF, U.S. Forces Korea, INDOPACOM, and Defense Information Systems Agency, the Airmen on the ground shoulder the preponderance of responsibilities. Their dedication not only provides Command and Control during exercises but in everyday life in the Air Force.”
Exercise Enduring PACE is conducted quarterly as part of the routine training cycle here in the ROK.
“One goal of the exercise is to stoke innovation in the future of Command and Control,” said Johnson. “The 7th AF takes feedback from all units involved to help shape the future of communications. As Enduring Pace continues each quarter, we’re excited to see where the next generation of Airman take us.”