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USAFE concludes joint-combat readiness exercise

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa battle staff monitors events during a large-scale defense exercise that consists of computer-based command post simulations to test Airmen assigned to the headquarters on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 22, 2015. The scenarios selected for Exercise Austere Challenge & Judicious Response 2015 are designed to train our forces to face any situation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane/Sensitive information blurred using photo editing software)

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa battle staff monitors events during a large-scale defense exercise in 2015. Exercise Blue Flag 2018 and Joint Warfighting Assessment 2018 are similar exercises that also utilize the battle staff and train our forces to face any situation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane / Sensitive information blurred using photo editing software)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters, the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center and more than 20 coalition partners completed exercise Blue Flag 2018 May 9.

The three-week exercise featured large-scale defense scenarios via computer simulations that trained multi-combatant command coordination with a focus on air, space, and cyberspace combat readiness.

Planning for the exercise began in early July 2017 and included approximately 5,500 U.S. and coalition personnel. The exercise provided command and control training for headquarters staff and Air Operations Center personnel in a dynamic environment.

"The joint and combined training taking place through the cooperation of Blue Flag and the Joint Warfighting Assessment improves our ability to communicate, to cooperate and to bring real, strategic effects to bear in the complex, unpredictable environment of tomorrow's battlefield,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, Air and Space Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration director.

Thomas also served as the Combined Forces Air Component Commander during BF18.

The Joint Warfighting Assessment 2018 was held at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany, and was executed by the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command. JWA 18 occurred simultaneously as BF18 and tested the integration of joint capabilities to win as a joint force.

Thomas said one of USAFE-AFAFRICA’s primary goals is the relentless pursuit of training through experiences like BF and JWA to prepare our forces to respond to the most demanding challenges across Europe and Africa.

“We appreciate the support and engaged participation of the Army, the Navy and all of our many coalition partners who worked together to turn this training into a world-class opportunity to sharpen our skills, increase our readiness and send a clear and unwavering message of deterrence to anyone who would threaten us or our allies,” said Thomas.