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Valiant Shield is a biennial, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S.-only, Joint Field Training exercise focused on command, control, communication, computers and intelligence, or C4I, integration between U.S. warfighting forces to execute current deliberate and contingency operational plans.
This 12-day air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace exercise enables real-world proficiency in training the joint force through detecting, locating, tracking, and engaging adversary targets. Valiant Shield also blended real-world forces and technology of today with the advanced next-generation systems and simulated capabilities of tomorrow.
“The ShOC-N was able to connect, share, and display critical information utilizing its robust ability to ‘shadow’ networks and systems to provide otherwise inaccessible data to U.S. forces distributed globally in a contested and degraded operational environment,” said Lt. Col. John Ohlund, 805th CTS commander, Nellis AFB, Nevada.
Ohlund continued, “As the Air Force’s premier Battle Lab supporting the development, advancement, and maturation of key technologies and capabilities, Valiant Shield 2022 presented a tremendous opportunity for the ShOC-N to utilize its capabilities to connect and share proprietary data sources to multiple mission partners across multiple domains and service specific infrastructures in a timely and relevant manner enabling successful operations against a simulated near-peer adversary environment with the joint force.”
Planning and coordination for this exercise began well over a year ago with ShOC-N’s focus on collaborating with the Joint Tactical Integrated Fire Control, or JTIFC, team.
“The JTIFC team is a multi-service and industry effort with the goal of enhancing integrated fire control capabilities across the services by connecting existing sensors, C2 and weapon systems through real-time sensor networks to demonstrate a truly joint, cross-service kill chain,” said Maj. Joshua Shaw, 805th CTS director of operations.
Members of this JTIFC Team who participated in Valiant Shield 2022 included the Missile Defense Agency, Tactical Systems Integration Lab, or TSIL, 1st Multi-Domain Task Force, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force; all of which connected to the ShOC-N during the exercise to pass critical, timely, and precise targeting information amongst all units involved.
“This unique ShOC-N ability provides a node in enabling cross-service and cross-domain firing solutions in an otherwise impossible data sharing environment, showcasing the ShOC-N’s criticality in accessing, connecting, and sharing disparate data sources to enable the effective employment of joint services fires,” said Shaw.
“The ShOC-N was a key component in accomplishing some first-ever examples of cross-service JADC2 [Joint All-Domain Command and Control] interoperability during Valiant Shield 2022,” said Ohlund. “One of the key successes was the use of a cooperative LVC [live, virtual, and constructive] environment, which was developed and refined by the ShOC-N, TSIL, NIWC-P [Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific], and the U.S. Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity.”
This LVC environment provided the framework during exercise execution of passing vital data seamlessly between nodes disbursed globally at several locations within the continental U.S. and the islands of Guam and Palau in the Pacific, with multiple and redundant network paths utilizing edge computing.
Critical to this effort was the employment of Headquarters Air Force Chief Architect Offices Edge Connect nodes located at the ShOC-N, TSIL, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, NIWC-P, Guam, and Palau, enabling the Army’s Integrated Fire Control Network, or IFCN, connectivity between Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System and significant end items. HAF’s Edge Connect also enabled JTIFC and tactical data link connectivity.
The establishment of multiple Joint Track Management Capability also bridged connections from the U.S. Army IFCN to the U.S. Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Capability, allowing participating units to find, fix, track, target, and engage constructive hostile air and naval targets generated by the ShOC-N. This tactical connectivity allowed multiple successful constructive engagements by utilizing precision-long range fires over the 12-day exercise.
“ShOC-N was glad to facilitate data sharing and TTP development in-theater. The goal is to fold the hard lessons learned into our ongoing and iterative joint fires development effort," said Don McKee, 805th CTS/ShOC-N Valiant Shield 2022 lead network and application integrator.
The planning for the Valiant Shield 2024 execution has already begun; incorporating lessons learned from VS 22 will enhance USINDOPACOM joint forces’ ability to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Exercise Valiant Shield 2022 demonstrated the critical role ShOC-N plays in evolving all-domain operation concepts, applications, and architectures for operational relevance through capability advancement and technical solutions,” said Col. Aaron Gibney, 505th Combat Training Group commander, Nellis AFB, Nevada.
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