US joint forces carry out simulated concept of operations drill

Air and surface units from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force came together to conduct a concept of operations simulated exercise during Valiant Shield 2016, Sept. 17.

The concept of operations simulation is designed to improve the interoperability and tactics between multiple U.S. military branches.

Units participating in the exercise included carrier strike group 5 including USS Ronald Reagan, Carrier Air Wing 5, USS Chancellorsville, USS Barry, USS John S. McCain, USS Stethem, USS Benfold, USS McCampbell, USS Curtis Wilbur, the Wasp-class USS Bonhomme Richard, the San Antonio-class USS Green Bay, and the Whidbey Island-class USS Germantown, aircraft from the 199th Fighter Squadrons, 18th Fighter Squadron, 44th Fighter Squadron and the 67th Fighter Squadron.

“The goal of this exercise was to test and stress the joint and integrated air and missile defense of a Carrier Strike Group and Expeditionary Strike Group,” said Capt. Wilson Marks, commanding officer of Chancellorsville.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), Commander, Task Force 70’s Air Defense Commander, led the exercise. The ship gave guidance and direction to the units and coordinated between surface and air units.

“Valiant Shield furthered joint interoperability concepts among the branches by planning and executing in several mission areas with emerging and existing tactical systems from the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps,” said Cmdr. Michael Posey, one of Valiant Shield’s main planners. “This exercise set the conditions to further refine tactical integration of new weapons systems, deconfliction measures, and procedures.”

Throughout the exercise the units were required to work together to protect the targeted unit. Protecting the unit was completed by using a number of ballistic missile defense tactics and air defense tactics.

VS16 is a biennial, U.S.-only, field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on joint training among U.S. forces to conduct a range of missions in the air, sea, land, and cyberspace.