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Defender Flag Field Exercise Tests, Validates Ground Defense Operations

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

FORT BLISS, Texas (AFNS) —  

U.S. Air Force Defenders tested and validated the career field’s operations for base defense in the New Mexico desert Oct. 23-27 during the inaugural Defender Flag field exercise.

More than 180 Defenders from every major command participated in the event, thanks to help from support agencies, Headquarters Air Force, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and the Air Force Security Forces Center.

The live-fire exercise provided realistic assessment and validation of base defense tactics, techniques and procedures during intense, realistic scenarios, said Lt. Col. Christopher Jackson, chief of the AFSFC’s Security Forces Training Support Division and event lead for both Defender Flag and Defender Challenge. It also tested and evaluated new concepts, TTPs and equipment, identifying potential gaps and needed changes to career field training curriculum.

The field exercise was conducted simultaneously with Defender Challenge, the security forces competition to determine the best-of-the-best in combat tactics, weapons proficiency and physical endurance. Both events, hosted by the Air Force Security Forces career field, were planned and executed by the AFSFC.

The team members who helped put together Defender Flag had a tremendous amount of pressure on their shoulders, Jackson said.

“The countless members of the team who helped put together Defender Flag knew how important the event would be to help us get ready for the next fight,” the lieutenant colonel said. “They knew the mission planning was absolutely critical and even more important was collecting data we can use for TTPs to inform training and equipment we’ll need for the future fight.”

“The fight of yesterday looks different than what is needed for the fight of tomorrow,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Sherman, Air Force director of security forces. “Strategic competition is our primary national security challenge and events like Defender Flag and Defender Challenge are paramount to our career field’s success.”

The security forces career field is in an evolutionary period, he added, so holding Defender Flag at this time was important.

“This exercise is helping the career field assess Defender skillsets in challenging environments and testing innovative tactics to solve difficult problems,” Sherman said, with lessons applied across the force.

“We realize that the threats we’re seeing in strategic competition and the way the world is around us calls for a change. It calls for us to relook at ourselves and who we are, how we look at base defense and how we see ourselves as being the greatest contribution to the U.S. Air Force. What Defenders did during both events displayed our potential,” Sherman said. “We’re setting the course for the future … identifying what we are incredible at, the areas where we have gaps and how we need to sharpen our sword to be prepared for what lies ahead.”

Much has changed with security forces operations and training since 2015, said Chief Master Sgt. Donnie Gallagher, security forces career field manager, and “Defender Flag is arguably the most important thing going on right now in Defender Nation.

“We’re getting after things from a different mindset, trying to really see where we’re at,” the chief said. “Are we as good as we think we are, or do we have a lot of work to do? What we did last week will lay the foundation for things to come on how we evolve as a career field to get after the base defense mission, which has become our primary purpose.”

For the chief, Defender Flag was an eye-opening experience.

“It really pointed out some things we need to get after, maybe in our training environment at home station versus what we do at some of our readiness training venues,” he said. “It validated the importance of physical fitness. The sheer weight of our weapons, armor and heavy equipment points to the importance of being at the peak point of fitness. Therefore, we are looking at different physical training program options to reinforce this fact.”

For tactics and other aspects of security forces operations, “we need to get out the honing stone and sharpen the sword … but we’re looking pretty good,” Gallagher said.

Both Defender Flag and Defender Challenge are helping to make sure Defenders are trained and ready for the future fight.

They validated everything the Air Force did after the former Defender Next-32 Initiative, which directed a more challenging and realistic training curriculum for Defenders, the chief explained.

“The strategy General Sherman is forming today will reshape what we’re getting after and how we support air power throughout the world,” Gallagher said. “We’re more than any law enforcement agency. Our biggest mission is getting after our peer-peer, near-peer global competitors. Change is coming.”

Story by Debbie Aragon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Photos by Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini

Climatic Lab Returns Home Under 96th Test Wing

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023


After almost eight years, Eglin Air Force Base’s McKinley Climatic Lab returns to 96th Test Wing possession as of Oct. 1.

The realignment moves the lab from Arnold Engineering Development Complex back to the 96th Range Group. A 2016 Air Force Test Center consolidation moved the lab under the unit at Arnold AFB, Tennessee.

The return, to better align with local infrastructure and Eglin AFB’s test and evaluation missions, puts the Lab back under the 782nd Test Squadron.

The capabilities available at the Lab help engineers ensure maximum reliability and operational capability of complex systems as global operational theaters continue to impose harsh environments.

Tests at the facility for the Department of Defense, other government agencies and private industry included items such as large aircraft, tanks, missile launchers, shelters, engines, automobiles and tires.

The Climatic Laboratory has five testing chambers: the main chamber; the equipment test chamber; the sun, wind, rain and dust chamber; the salt fog chamber and the altitude chamber.

The main chamber is the largest environmental chamber in the world. At approximately 252 feet wide, 260 feet deep and 70 feet high, tests have consisted of large items and systems for aircraft such as the B-2 Spirit Bomber and the C-5 Galaxy. The temperatures achieved in the chamber range between -65 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit with a simulation of all climatic conditions including heat, snow, rain, wind, sand and dust.

The equipment test chamber is 130 feet long, 30 feet wide and 25 feet high. Although it is smaller, it has the same capabilities of the main chamber. Tests usually consist of jet engines, small vehicles and turbine-driven ground power units.

The sun, wind, rain and dust chamber produces ambient or hot test conditions. Wind-blown rain at rates up to 25 inches per hour and heavy sand and dust storms can also be created in this chamber.

Because of the corrosive properties of salt fog test conditions, the salt fog chamber was designed to provide an ambient test chamber that is away from other test chambers. The chamber has two steam-fed heat exchangers that create the temperature to perform the salt fog test.

The chamber is approximately 55 feet long, 16 feet wide and 16 feet high. The chamber doesn’t have refrigeration capability.

The altitude chamber can create pressure altitudes as high as 80,000 feet with a temperature capability of -80 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The chamber measures 13 by 9 feet and 6 feet high.

By Samuel King Jr., Air Force Test Center

Theater Fires and Multi-Domain Operations in the USAREUR-AF Area of Operation

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023

WASHINGTON — The 56th Artillery Command and the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, co-hosted a Warriors Corner presentation titled “Theater Fires and Multidomain Operations,” during the 2023 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 11, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Col. Seth Knazovich, chief of staff for the 56th Artillery Command was joined by Col. Patrick Moffett, commander of the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force to present their organizations and share valuable insights.

Knazovich initiated the discussion by emphasizing the complexity of theater fires and multi-domain operations, demonstrating USAREUR-AF’s theater fires architecture and forward focus on key influences including threat, interoperability, setting the theater for the Army of 2030 in Europe and employing the full spectrum of multi-domain capabilities to achieve convergence in depth.

“The 56th Artillery Command continues to incorporate the use of innovative technologies, such as the long-range hypersonic weapon and medium range capability battery as well as new formations, like the Theater Information Advantage Detachment into European exercises to understand and demonstrate how these capabilities support and provide opportunities for both the land component and joint allied forces in Europe,” said Knazovich.

Knazovich described employing multi-domain capabilities in depth as a part of large-scale combat operations.

“The 56th Artillery Command, not only shapes the theater with traditional surface-to-surface platforms, but also the space, information, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities available, both from the U.S. as well as our NATO allies and partners,” said Knazovich.

Knazovich said that the 56th Artillery Command’s headquarters and subordinate commands work together to synchronize capabilities and converge effects in time and space. He emphasized the success of multi-domain operations is greatly attributed to the support of two key organizations, the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force and the 19th Battlefield Coordination Attachment. Highlighting how the organizations play a pivotal role in training, exercises, and joint partnerships alongside NATO allies.

While introducing the 2nd MDTF, Moffett shared the vision for the organization and the challenges they have faced while focusing throughout Europe and Africa. The 2nd MDTF is positioned as the land component commander’s “go-to organization” for multi-domain operations and effects. This mission sets the organization apart and allows for adaptation to the evolving threat landscape.

“The 2nd MDTF operates daily in competition, while remaining trained and postured to transition to conflict whenever called,” said Moffett. “We operate at the cutting edge of capabilities to ensure we are prepared for tomorrow’s fight.”

Moffett shared that part of the preparation includes training alongside allies and partners while commenting on the success and challenges of Arcane Thunder, the 2nd MDTF’s flagship exercise.

“Arcane Thunder 23 was a game-changer,” said Moffett. “It allowed us to fine-tune our skills, push boundaries, and demonstrate our capabilities across Europe.”

Moffett explained that sharing data across multi-domain operations is a critical element of working with NATO partners during exercises. Improving data sharing, especially in electromagnetic spectrum and cyber operations, along with ensuring classified information is accessible at the right level and shared with allies is a key priority.

The presentation focused on modernizing and employing full spectrum multi-domain capabilities to achieve convergence in depth. Attendees heard fist-hand how focused the 56th Artillery Command and 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force is in establishing a cohesive joint and allied theater fires Architecture through federated mission networks, developing Soldiers, and training in exercises alongside our allies and partners. Further focusing on building systems capable of leveraging the best asset to create the best effect to achieve convergence.

“This is the future of fires in Europe,” concluded Knazovich.

The 56th Artillery Command and the 2nd Multi-Domain Task Force illustrated the critical role of theater fires and multi-domain operations in contemporary warfare. This collaborative effort paves the way for a more secure and effective defense posture for the United States and its allies in Europe.

For more information on the 56th Artillery Command, visit their official website.

Story by Casey Slusser

D-Cell Redesignated 24th Rapid Deployment Squadron

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023


The 24th Special Operations Wing redesignated Detachment 1, also known as Deployment Cell or “D-Cell,” to the Rapid Deployment Squadron during a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 6, 2023.

A geographically separated unit from the 24 SOW at Hurlburt Field, Fla., the Rapid Deployment Squadron consists of members across 15 career fields, forming four agile teams. These teams of multi-capable Airmen are trained in 49 cross-functional tasks including survival, evasion, resistance and escape training, advanced shooting and advanced combat casualty care.

The primary role of the RDS is to “bare base,” which is to rapidly turn austere locations into fully functional bases.

Col. Daniel Magruder, Jr., presided over the ceremony and gave opening remarks.

“Over 60 years ago, General Curtis Lemay established a unit that supported deployment operations,” said Magruder. “While your customer has changed over the years from U.S. Strike Command, which doesn’t exist anymore, your dedication to mission accomplishment hasn’t wavered.

The ceremony included the inactivation of Det-1, along with the activation of the 24th RDS and assumption of command.

“I’m encouraged that every member of your unit’s long blue line knows exactly where the unit came from,” said Magruder. “You know what it provides to our nation and the joint force, and where it’s going as it’s redesignated the 24th Rapid Deployment Squadron.”

In the last 54 years, both D-Cell and Det-1 have served under three different commands with its members participating in over 30 operations and four wars.

After accepting the guideon, Lt. Col. Michael Biederman, Commander, 24th RDS, expressed his excitement for the future.

“We have gained clarity on how AFSOC sees us and have rekindled our relationships with our partners to forge ahead in what we do best establishing bare bases and providing specialized engineering, logistics, services and security expertise in supporting the tip of the spear,” said Biederman. “In our uncertain geopolitical future I am certain the 24th Rapid Deployment Squadron will carry on DCELLs historic namesake to the far reaches of the globe.”

By Capt Savannah Stephens, 24th Special Operations Wing

SETAF-AF Welcomes New Civil Affairs Battalion

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023

VICENZA, Italy – The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) Civil Affairs Battalion conducted a change of responsibility during a ceremony Aug. 25, 2023, at Caserma Del Din, Vicenza, Italy.

During the ceremony, the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, from Knoxville, TN, assumed responsibility as the SETAF-AF CA Battalion from the outgoing 450th Civil Affairs Battalion.

“Our Civil Affairs Battalion provides us a critical capability,” said Maj. Gen. Todd Wasmund, SETAF-AF commanding general. “They help us understand the concerns and perspectives of the civilian populations in the countries in which we partner and help to meet their needs. They help our African partners build their own capacity to increase civil-military engagement and build trust between the military and those they protect.”

SETAF-AF coordinates all U.S. Army activities in Africa in support of U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa.

The U.S. Army Reserve, Maryland-based battalion worked hand-in-hand with several African partners including Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Malawi, Liberia, Morocco, Djibouti, Kenya, Ghana, and Tunisia during their nine-month deployment to the U.S. Africa Command Area of Responsibility. Across the continent, the battalion played a vital role in fostering partnerships between the U.S. Army, host nation forces and their respective public.

Army Civil Affairs Soldiers work closely in partnership with other government agencies or the militaries of allied nations.

“I would like to thank all of our African Partners and the Soldiers of SETAF-AF for laying a solid foundation of operations for us,” said 540th Civil Affairs Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Kevin. Martin. “The past nine months has been an incredible experience, and we wouldn’t endeavor to continue forward with the mission, jointly with all partners for success.”

The incoming civil affairs battalion assumes responsibility for all Army civil affairs duties within the African continent supporting the SETAF-AF mission.

“I would like to thank the outgoing Civil Affairs Battalion for laying a solid foundation of operations for us and we will endeavor to continue forward with the mission, jointly with all partners for success,” said Lt. Col. James Favuzzi, the commander of 489th Civil Affairs Battalion.

Over the next nine months, the battalion will provide approximately 90 Soldiers, 10 civil affairs teams, and one medical functional specialist team to conduct engagements across Africa in support of SETAF-AF.

“We receive tremendous support to our mission from the U.S. Army Reserve, evidenced by the work and accomplishments of the 540th,” said Wasmund. “We’re confident that the new team from the 489th will build upon that important work in the months ahead.”

By Billy Lacroix

BDG Rehearses ACE, Validates SFS Tactics at Red Flag

Saturday, August 12th, 2023

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — The 820th Base Defense Group (BDG) honed their air base defense expertise necessary for Agile Combat Employment, July 16 to 30, 2023, during exercise Red Flag 23-3 at Nellis AFB, Nev.

During the exercise, 83 air base defense professionals and security forces members combined forces from seven squadrons to independently rehearse forward operating site and contingency-location missions while validating security force-specific implementation.

“The BDG is unique in that we focus on the downrange deployment related execution tasks,” said Col. Joe Sorensen, 820th BDG Commander. “The BDG benefits from being singularly focused on expeditionary and contingency operations, allowing us to develop combat-related capabilities and provide that expertise to elevate the security forces enterprise.”

A BDG headquarters element aligned 66-members from various organizations’ Air Force Specialty Codes into a blue force team which executed three iterations of establishing the temporary basing structure required for Agile Combat Employment.

ACE relies on the agile combat support provided by forward operating sites and contingency locations to provide temporary basing options for refueling and rearmament of aircraft closer to the fight to provide flexibility to combatant commanders in how they employ air assets.

“The first thing that we highlighted was the success of our headquarters element,” said Master Sgt. Bradley Akers, 820th BDG weapons and tactics chief. “We haven’t had a formal battle staff training program in the BDG for quite a while, so this has been the opportunity for us to redesign it, retrain it, and see how it operates.”

This headquarters element received warning orders and air tasking orders anywhere from 30 to 72 hours in advance of a mission and was responsible for generating operations orders, organizing squads, aggregating mission information and directing security and sustainment for up to 36 hours of continuous field operations.

“Had we not had the BDG’s headquarters element, it would not have been nearly as successful as it was,” said Master Sgt. Niles Bartram, 377th Weapons System Security Squadron weapons and tactics chief. “It was a pretty clear indicator that the BDG members bring a significant capability, and we need to find a way to duplicate that in some of our traditional squadrons if we’re going to be able to execute these ACE mission-sets or future theater operations.”

These personnel didn’t have access to aircraft to perform their training, but they didn’t allow this limitation to impede their ability to provide a realistic training and testing opportunity required to validate the tactics they generated. A motivated adversary force led by Air Force Special Operations Command’s Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element provided a very real threat which tested defensive fortifications and Airmen’s fortitude alike.

These blue force air base defenders entrenched in the desert landscape in temperatures elevating to a peak of 117 degrees Fahrenheit as their adversaries launched physical attacks with blank rounds and attempted to exploit vulnerabilities found through ground reconnaissance.

Through this arduous testing of defensive capabilities, 820th BDG members and their mission partners validated that their new squad sizes and formations function and survive first contact with an adversary.

“We took a lot of tactics that are in development at the BDG, new [unit type code] squad sizes, to include rifle squad, weapons squads, headquarters elements, reconnaissance teams, and we’ve tested all those out there with non-BDG security forces members to see what kind of leveling training is needed security forces-wide,” said Akers. “We learned that a lot of our new squad sizes and formations work, and they can be trained throughout the enterprise with minimal leveling training.”

These validations contribute to the 820th BDG objectives of restructuring to meet future warfighting demands.

“We’re trying to bring ourselves back to focusing on defense aligned with doctrine,” said Akers. “We’re reorganizing ourselves, and we’re trying to use that information to reorganize the whole career field to do any type of defensive operation.”

Story by 1st Lt Christian Little, 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing

Davis-Monthan AFB Identified as AFSOC’s Next Power Projection Wing

Tuesday, August 8th, 2023


The Department of the Air Force selected Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, as the preferred location to host Air Force Special Operation Command’s third power projection wing.

Transforming the 492nd Special Operations Wing into a power projection wing with all of AFSOC’s mission capabilities (strike, mobility, ISR, air/ground integration) will enable the Air Force to regionally focus each power projection wing on a geographic combatant commander. The transition will also allow AFSOC to further diversify its locations to protect against natural disasters by ensuring it can maintain its ability to respond to president-directed missions on very tight timelines.

The additional location will also permit AFSOC to take advantage of the Barry M. Goldwater Range, which will provide additional training opportunities, capacity and increased prioritization as its forces prepare to meet the priorities of the National Defense Strategy.

Standing up the new wing at Davis-Monthan AFB requires several relocations, planned throughout the next five years. The final decision will be made following completion of the environmental impact analysis process.

The following outlines the planned transition actions:

The 492nd SOW at Hurlburt Field, Florida, will relocate to Davis-Monthan AFB. The relocation includes the 492nd SOW’s transition from support wing into a power projection wing.

The U-28 Draco fleets at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, and Hurlburt Field will be replaced by the OA-1K Armed Overwatch aircraft. As part of the 492nd SOW’s transition to a power projection wing, one OA-1K Armed Overwatch squadron will relocate from Hurlburt Field to Davis-Monthan AFB.

An MC-130J Commando II squadron will relocate from Cannon AFB to Davis-Monthan AFB to join the 492nd SOW.

An additional MC-130J squadron will activate at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The 21st Special Tactics Squadron will relocate from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina, to Davis-Monthan AFB.

The 22nd Special Tactics Squadron will relocate from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to Davis-Monthan AFB.

The 492nd Theater Air Operations Squadron will activate at Duke Field and transfer to Davis- Monthan AFB.

The 47th Fighter Squadron (24 A-10s), the 354th Fighter Squadron (26 A-10s) and the 357th Fighter Squadron (28 A-10s) at Davis-Monthan AFB will inactivate and their respective A-10s will be retired. The 47th FS and 357th FS will continue A-10 formal training until inactivation.

The 34th Weapons Squadron and the 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron will relocate from Nellis AFB, Nevada, to Davis-Monthan AFB, transferring five HH-60W Jolly Green IIs. 

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Summit Predicts Army of 2030, Future Designs for 2040

Sunday, August 6th, 2023

FORT LIBERTY, N.C. — Achieving the Army of 2030 and designing the Army of 2040 will require transformative vision, thoughtful leadership and sound investment, according to speakers at the July 26-27 Association of the U.S. Army Warfighter Summit and Exposition in Fayetteville, N.C.

Senior Army leaders from nearby Fort Liberty, N.C., across the U.S. Army and industry provided details and discussions on “America’s Army: Ready for Today, Modernizing for 2030 and Beyond.” The theme echoes the Army’s three priorities: people, readiness and modernization. This is the second year AUSA hosted the Warfighter Summit.

More than 800 attendees heard about the future of Soldier training and Army doctrine, Army modernization over the next seven to 17 years, the XVIII Airborne Corps’ role as America’s Contingency Force, the role of Army Security Force Assistance Brigades in 2030, insights from recent conflicts in Europe, training units at the Army’s Combat Training Centers and irregular war campaigning for 2030 with U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The summit’s primary focus is the Soldier and the defense industry professionals who support the Army warfighter. The summit linked Fort Liberty Soldiers and senior leaders with industry partners to increase understanding of the Army’s emerging requirements and strengthen the partnership between Fort Liberty, AUSA and the surrounding community. Over 65 exhibitors highlighted organizations that provide Soldiers with educational and employment opportunities, military equipment and high-tech devices. The audience included active-duty Army, U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers.

In addition to civilian, commercial vendors, the Warfighter Summit featured U.S. Army equipment, including: the Joint Lightweight Tactical Vehicle, the Infantry Squad Vehicle, the Polaris MRZR-D4, the Ground Mobility Vehicle, the MH-6M Light Assault Helicopter and the AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter.

The Army has been consistent and persistent in pursuing modernization initiatives to deliver the Army of 2030 and design the Army of 2040.  It is committed to six modernization portfolios: long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, the network, air and missile defense, and Solider lethality.

Delivering the Army of 2030 and designing the Army of 2040 are priorities of Forces Command, Army Futures Command and Army Training and Doctrine Command. All three commands — as well as the U.S. Army Special Operations Command — were represented at the two-day professional forum.

The Warfighter Summit opened July 26 with a keynote presentation by Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command.

“The Army’s most valuable asset is its people,” said Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “This is a big, total-team effort and we will succeed at this,” Brito said. “To deliver the Army of 2030 and get ready for 2040, we are turning today’s recruiting challenge into an opportunity and continuing to innovate our talent management approaches.”

“From an acquisition lens, 2030 is really tomorrow,” he said.

Brito said the Army is at an “inflection point right now,” facing changes like those it made 50 years ago at the start of the all-volunteer force and the creation of TRADOC and FORSCOM.

“I think from a technology perspective, this is probably the most disruptive period of time since World War II,” said Gen. James Rainey, Army Futures Command commanding general.

“War remains a contest of wills between human beings: people,” Rainey said. “You have to be able to impose your will. You have to be willing to pay the cost. Because of that, we are going to need the U.S. Army to be able to dominate the land domain … anywhere against any body as part of a joint force with partners and allies. To do that, we need people ”

FORSCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Sims celebrated his 53rd birthday with a keynote speech at the AUSA Summit.

“Kids these days. I’ve seen you on the job … In training, on deployments and with your teams. I know what you are all about. When I travel around the force, I witness levels of insight and resourcefulness among junior Soldiers.”

“Kids today are smart,” Sims said. “They have unfettered access to all the world’s information. They know how to navigate and apply it in useful ways. Smart young Soldiers have always been one of the Army’s biggest competitive advantages.”

Sims also spoke about “Training the Force of 2030” — to include the Army’s premier Combat Training Centers: the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Johnson, Lousiana.

Fort Liberty leaders emphasized the Army post’s role as America’s Contingency Force during a discussion by Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty, and by XVIII Airborne Corps’ Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas J. “T.J” Holland.

“The XVIII Airborne Corps is really FORSCOM’s and the Army’s contribution to the contingency force,” Donahue said. “It’s made up of four separate divisions, but the ‘critical sauce’ is those separate brigades. That forms the Army’s contribution to any time we have to go anywhere to compete against any adversary across the globe. Fort Liberty is the strategic platform for the U.S. Army. It has every contingency Special Operations Forces; every contingency force on the larger capability is here.”

U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s deputy commanding general, Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, also highlighted Fort Liberty’s vital role in irregular warfare.

“USASOC provides all of the Army Special Operations Forces to the Joint Force,” Roberson said. Over the last 20 years, we were focused on irregular warfare campaigning throughout the world.”

Maj. Gen. Donn Hill, commanding general of the Army Security Force Assistance Command, also based at Fort Liberty, said “The adviser teams of today are designed to advise at the tactical level. We were all about counterinsurgency and stability operations, but the world has changed. The Army is changing.”

“We’re in 30 countries on any given day,” Hill said about the six security force assistance brigades. Additionally, the teams are on the ground persistently, spending six months with allied partner armies before they are replaced by another team of Soldiers.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Vereen, deputy Army chief of staff for installations, G-9, at the Pentagon discussed employment opportunities for Soldiers and spouses. “The G-9 enables readiness through our quality-of-life plans, programs and policies that help the Army recruit, train, fight and win,” he said.

A highlight of the Warfighter Summit was a discussion by Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston, who spoke about the key leadership role of the U.S. Army’s Non-Commissioned Officer Corps. He also conducted a panel discussion with Fort Liberty NCOs and Soldiers about the 75th anniversary of the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces.

By FORSCOM Public Affairs