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Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) 10-3

Posted 4/6/2010   Updated 4/6/2010 Email story   Print story


by Linda Maines

4/6/2010 - Langley AFB, VA -- JEFX is a Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF)-directed series of experiments combining live, virtual and constructive air, space, naval, and ground forces, and process and technology innovation into a near-seamless joint warfighting environment. These highly-focused, multi-Service experiments are designed to rigorously assess and make recommendations on selected capabilities that enable decision superiority and fill identified capability gaps needed today to produce desired effects in the joint battlespace. It also allows for emphasis on integration and interoperability with existing C2 systems or sub-systems.

Today's Air Force (AF) faces dual challenges of engaging in war while fundamentally reshaping how we fly, fight and win in a multitude of environments. JEFX affords the AF and its mission partners, a "low-risk" environment to experiment with and assess new or refined concepts, processes, technology, tactics, techniques and procedures; by providing, an opportunity to put initiatives through their paces in a controlled, but operationally-realistic environment, without excessive cost or putting personnel and equipment at risk.

JEFX has proven itself to be adaptive throughout its twelve years in an effort to be responsive to the warfighter needs, for example listed below are recent JEFX Initiatives/Capabilities/Processes Delivered to the Warfighter by User:

Combat Air Forces
Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) - High altitude persistent gateway for dissimilar communications systems. (JEFX 06)
Roll-On Beyond-line-of-sight Enhancement (ROBE) - airborne gateway that allows Link 16 information to be sent/received beyond line of sight (JEFX 08)
Strategic Worldwide Integration Capability (SWIC) - tool for planning & executing global strike missions in support of USSTRATCOM (JEFX 08)
Project Suter - comprehensive, dynamic C2 of kinetic & non-kinetic operations against threat networks (JEFX 02, 04, 08)

Mobility Forces
Visualization of Expeditionary Sites Tool (VEST)/Base Support & Expeditionary (BaS&E) Planning Tool - integrated bed-down and expeditionary planning tool (JEFX 04/06)

In late 2008, the Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC) decided to leverage expertise, manpower, and infrastructure and provide more frequent JEFX events to foster a more agile battle rhythm, able to continuously push out critical capabilities proven to solve identified needs.

We also have been working towards a more persistent environment that can be federated to other activities. The new strategy allows GCIC to better leverage outside agency activities and resources, reducing the cost of set up and tear down and yet remain flexible in order to meet our senior leaders as well as warfighter needs.

Several factors led to re-shaping JEFX. First, the program decision memorandum IV, PDM IV, made cuts to the AF battlelabs, which included our C2 intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance (ISR) battlelab. By leveraging the expertise, capabilities and best practices of the C2ISR Battlelab, CAOC-X, and JEFX, the GCIC organization was able to gain efficiencies while increasing effectiveness and shared knowledge.

Second factor, no organization or program is ever without room for improvement. Warfighter needs change and we have learned to adapt quickly to new factors. We heard our airmen loud and clear when they said experimentation is a good thing; however, they need capabilities now, not in two years, so we developed a continuous cycle to keep relevant with current needs as our above deliverable schedule reflects, by user.

Today, we are engaged with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces using tactics that are difficult to combat with conventional means. The AF is seeking joint approaches and new ways of using existing capabilities to combat today's IW challenges; hence our theme this year for JEFX 10-3.

The JEFX team remains committed to meeting both conventional and unconventional current warfighting challenges. In Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (IF), our Joint warfighter team is engaged today in two IW conflicts. Both the Al Qaeda and the Taliban Insurgency present threats to our forces that are difficult to combat with conventional warfare tactics and traditional or garrison-type forces.

The AF is seeking joint approaches and new ways of using existing capabilities to fill capability gaps identified in the AF's Capabilities Review and Risk Assessment process. JEFX 10 will experiment with new approaches to filling these capability gaps and meeting today's IW challenges. Focus areas will include command and control in IW, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) support to IW, Close Precision Engagement, Base Defense and Force Protection, and Building Partnerships.

Initiative and Assessment
Initiatives are assessed from a technical, as well as, an operational utility standpoint. Based on specifically identified objectives the assessors develop measures of effectiveness and related measures of performance for each initiative objective.

They then build a supporting data collection plan. The data collection plan will specify the source, location, frequency of collection. The assessors work closely with experiment designers and controllers to ensure the experiment generates the required data points in support of assessment objectives. Assessment activities are scoped to contain the right balance of operator utility and technical assessment.

There are four areas of assessment:

· Technical Assessment assesses the ability of the initiative to perform as advertised

· Operational Utility Assessment measures the "initiative value" to enable warfighter's to execute missions and tasks.

· Capability Assessment evaluates how well proposed solutions (initiatives) and existing infrastructure solves warfighter capability gaps.

· Experiment Management Assessment is a continuous effort to improve the overall process and focus on major changes required to improve future AF experimentation

In closing, today's environment makes rapid, informed investment decisions vital. Experiments provide a low risk venue to explore, assess, advance, integrate and standardize new, emerging and legacy, technologies, processes, tactics, techniques and procedures; and accelerates critical capabilities to the warfighter....JEFX is the AF's experiment.

Tomorrow's mission partner needs will change, and once again JEFX will adapt quickly to meet the latest challenge.

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