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U.S. Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group exit via rope an Air Force CV-22 Osprey during Emerald Warrior 2011 March 1, 2011, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Emerald Warrior is an annual two-week joint/combined tactical exercise sponsored by U.S. Special Operations Command to provide realistic training opportunities to conventional and special operations forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. DeNoris Mickle/Released)
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EW-11: Joint training for joint operations

Posted 3/14/2011   Updated 3/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Kristen D. Duncan
Air Force Special Operations Command

3/14/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla.  -- A joint service and interagency exercise using both "live" and "virtual" forces concluded here Friday.

Emerald Warrior concentrates on integrated tactics and multi-service command and control, as well as leverages lessons from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom to provide trained and ready forces to combatant commanders.

"Emerald Warrior provides the only joint readiness exercise designed by (Special Operations Forces) -- both air and ground participants -- with unique integration and interoperability requirements not available in conventional exercises alone," said Brig. Gen. Michael Kingsley, 23rd Air Force commander. "This is the only exercise where readiness training is determined from the ground up by the warfighter."

According to the Air Force Special Operations Command Directorate of Air, Space and Information Operations, Emerald Warriors trains 1,200 to 1,400 special operators and conventional forces annually, and it is the only accredited irregular warfare exercise. The training provides certification for forward deployers and meets tactical and operational joint mission essential tasks and high-priority Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff training requirements.

Components of U.S. Special Operations Command are involved, as well as conventional, interagency and non-governmental agencies. In addition to providing tactical airlift, fires support and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance assets, more than 900 servicemembers support this exercise on the ground and in command and control elements.

"Exercises of this degree cannot execute without Joint Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Air Force and Joint National Training Capability funding, support and exercise-training enablers," General Kingsley said. "Our warriors deserve nothing but the best replication of realistic combat environments."

Emerald Warrior is the ideal venue for integrated joint fires support, using live and virtual forces for DoD's Next Generation of training.

"The incorporation of tactical simulators in a 'Live Virtual Constructive Distributed environment' that can augment traditional training has proven to be of great cost savings to our warfighters while providing the same effective training," the brigadier general said. "In the SOF community, we have very perishable core skill sets that we must train...but equally important is how we integrate as a SOF force into the conventional, coalition and interagency forces and the joint environments of modern warfare. We fight jointly so we must train jointly."

He said one of the primary benefits is collectively using different terminology, cultures and systems in training, to be better equipped on the battlefield.

Emerald Warrior stretches across 1.5 million acres of air and ground space, covering multiple ranges and training areas.

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