The Air Operations Center of the Future

The air operations center of the future must evolve to include multi-domain operations, including space and cyberspace, to be able to provide “on demand” targeting instead of the archaic air tasking order system the Air Force has been used to. In future operations, strike aircraft will leave their base with just a general idea of where to go, with the air operations center providing targets in the “terminal stage” of the mission to keep the tasking up to date and flexible to deal with future adversaries, Maj. Gen. Thomas Deale, director of operations for Air Combat Command, said at ASC16. During Operation Desert Storm, the air operations center worked on a 72-hour schedule to provide an air tasking order. That method is “archaic,” akin to broadcast TV compared to today’s on demand responsiveness, Deale said. The “key enablers” of future air operations centers will need space and cyber inputs to shape targeting, “fusing all domains to bring about mission success,” Deale said.