Operation LONE STAR

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Nathan Call
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The 315th Training Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, is adapting its intelligence training to the rapidly evolving national defense landscape by shifting focus from counterterrorism in the Middle East to the Great Power Competition in the Indo-Pacific region.

As a result, the 315th TRS launched a new multifaceted capstone exercise scenario this month focused on training future intelligence professionals to counter the growing threat of near-peer adversaries and maintain preparedness for all scenarios. This new capstone spans five intelligence specialties in the Air Force and Space Force: Intelligence Officers, Operational Intelligence Analysts, Geospatial Imagery Specialists, Human Intelligence Specialists and Targeting Analysts.

In the modernized scenario, intelligence students are introduced to new tools, tactics and competency-based learning. “These tools and skills the students learn are foundational and transferable, allowing intelligence members to be successful in any unit to which they are assigned,” said Capt. Christopher Browning, 315th TRS Integrated Operations Exercise flight commander. 

The integration of Analysis Exploitation Teams is another notable addition, emphasizing collaboration and information sharing among intelligence specialties. This shift from a conflict-based scenario to one involving AETs reflects a broader and more dynamic operational environment, mirroring the many complexities that Great Power introduces.  

“The AETs represent problem-centric cross-functional teams made up of the intelligence specialties that will conduct battlespace characterization, fuse intelligence and work with the ISRD and unit level ops to provide timely intelligence assessments, conduct target development and maintain a common intelligence picture,” said Maj. Paul Wilson, 315th TRS director of operations. 

Finally, in a groundbreaking development, future iterations of this scenario are set to introduce elements of realism by incorporating portions of the scenario within a degraded environment, requiring the inclusion of Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency communication tactics. This strategic move aims to parallel the challenging conditions that intelligence students might encounter in a confrontation with a near-peer adversary. 

“Here in the 315th, we are accelerating change and preparing for the threat of Great Power Competition,” said Staff Sgt. Cameron Frison, 315th TRS Integrated Operations Exercise section chief. “We’re working diligently to align intelligence training with the comprehensive changes we are seeing implemented throughout the Department of Defense and the Air Force.”