The AirSea Battle Laboratory

Andersen AFB, Guam AirSea Battle may have gotten a new name earlier this year, but the concept is still alive in the Pacific, although its execution remains a bit nebulous, officials told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit here. “We do things out here twice a year that are truly joint, with Cope North and Valiant Shield every other year, but a lot of other times the joint training we do is, quite frankly, a pick-up game,” said Col. Reid Langdon, commander of the 36th Operations Group. For example, Langdon said Pacific Air Forces requested that crews who rotate to Andersen as part of the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence “focus on AirSea Battle-specific” tactics, techniques, and procedures. But, “they haven’t given us those yet.” Col. Lee Anderson, commander of the 36th Contingency Response Group, referred to it as the “bumper sticker” effect. “It’s a great War College paper; it’s a great operational concept, but there hasn’t been a lot of ‘so what’ yet,” said Anderson. However, Valiant Shield—US Pacific Command’s largest exercise, which is hosted by Andersen—“is becoming a movement toward that ‘so what,’” he added. Valiant Shield 2014 “was the largest one I’d ever seen,” said Steve “Taz” Wolborsky, director of the 36th Wing plans, programs, and readiness. At its peak, 135 aircraft operated from Andersen and the total number of participants “was somewhere around 18,000.” Wolborsky said, “We kind of call this the AirSea Battle laboratory.”