US Air Force Creates New Information Warfare Training and Research Detachment, Addresses Operations In Information Environment

The speed of the internet system with lots of information.

The US Air Force’s Air Combat Command has created a new information warfare (IW) training and research detachment aimed at improving the way the service prepares personnel to conduct operations. According to a statement, the detachment “will conduct IW training and research events to address the growing importance of operations in the information environment and the electromagnetic spectrum.”

“If we want to be a resolute world power, we must not only compete in the global commons but also compete and win in contested sovereigns,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command. “Most competition, if not all combat, will take place in the electromagnetic spectrum. Focusing our offensive and defensive capabilities in the digitally-enabled domain is critical to honing our lethality.”

For the last few years, the Air Force divisions – such as Air Combat Command, the Air Force Research Lab, the Secretary of the Air Force’s Concepts, Development and Management Office, and various academic organizations – have worked to improve training in IW. They have created a hybrid, wing-level organization to connect airmen from multiple locations to accelerate readiness through training and research, especially through live-virtual-constructive environments. They have also organized and executed 22 information warfare-focused global events to reimagine traditional training and research models. Each event has provided IW-focused training and research to support a larger Air Force mission, such as air superiority; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. 

“We’ve adapted a ‘build, learn, correct, repeat’ model,” said Col. Christopher Budde, chief of Air Combat Command’s information warfare division. “We are experimenting with sustainable processes and events in quick succession to scale conceptual ideas, operationally test them, then integrate these processes across the larger federated enterprise.”

Conducting world-wide training experimentation, testing and training in the information environment and electromagnetic spectrum has proven to be superior to traditional approaches.    

“The distributed nature of the events means they can be conducted more frequently, can be ongoing, and members can participate in multiple iterations,” Budde said. “If a unit is unable to participate in an event, they can jump back into a future iteration when available, but the challenges in the information environment continue and the teams have to respond with the capabilities available.”