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 Nov 5 2020

Allied Air Command demonstrated staff’s ability to execute Air Command and Control

RAMSTEIN, Germany – From Oct 26 to Nov 4, 2020, Allied Air Command conducted exercise Ramstein Ambition 2020, the preparation exercise for the NATO Command Structure Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) staff in full compliance with COVID-19 precautionary measures.

“Keeping our team of Air Command and Control specialists well-trained to lead NATO’s Air Forces is key to Alliance readiness,” said General Jeff Harrigian, Commander of Allied Air Command. “The Ramstein Ambition exercise provided critical training to integrate new staff, prepare them to manage high intensity air operations, and increase their expertise in complex multi-domain environments,” General Harrigian added. 

Keeping our team of Air Command and Control specialists well-trained to lead NATO’s Air Forces is key to Alliance readiness

“This year, we had to adapt our training requirements for incoming staff to the COVID-19 situation,” said Major General Karsten Stoye, Headquarters Allied Air Command Chief of Staff. “The total exercise audience was reduced due to travel limitations in some countries. Supplementation from our deployable control unit, augmentation from the United Kingdom JFAC, the US 603rd Air Operations Centre and additional personnel from across our NATO Allies contributed to a total training audience of more than 400 airmen and airwomen,” he added. 

“Our mitigation for COVID-19 restrictions included scattering the areas involved in the exercise across our HQ building to enabling physical distancing. We ensured staff was constantly wearing masks, we set up air purifiers on the operations floor and we increased cleaning regimes to assure areas were thoroughly disinfected,” General Stoye continued  to say.  “And yet,  with  all  these 

precautions and a reduced number of participants the training clearly demonstrated our ability to execute Air Command and Control,” he added. 

During Ramstein Ambition 2020, staff worked with computer-assisted realistic training scenarios to make themselves familiar with their tasks and deliver Air and Space Power. Simulated links to the Joint level, the Land and Maritime forces, fictitious Space and Cyber incidents as well as 5th generation aircraft integration enabled multi-domain operation training to all participants. The newly established NATO Space Centre was employed for the first time providing training benefit and adding up-to-date challenges. 

“Exercise Ramstein Ambition was this year’s main training event for Allied Air Command, and we really wanted to execute this essential exercise,” General Stoye concluded. “Through careful and responsible adaptation, we protected our staff and at the same time prepared them for their mission,” he said.

For several years, a Ramstein Ambition exercise has been scheduled annually applying the crawl-walk-run principle for the JFAC staff. Specialists from the subordinate Combined Air Operations Centres at Torrejón, Spain, and Uedem, Germany, the Deployable Air Command and Control Centre at Poggio Renatico, Italy, and other Allies’ JFACs have been regularly integrated. They augment and assist the exercise and stand up a JFAC that plans and executes the delivery of NATO Air and Space Power across the entire spectrum of joint operations.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

More than 400 exercise participants enabled exercise Ramstein Ambition 2020 as a training event for Air Command and Control specialists whose mission is key to Alliance readiness. Photo by Sébastien Raffin.

During a visit to the exercise floor, the Commander of Allied Air Command, General Jeffrey Harrigian (back, second from right) underscored the importance of the exercise for his team. He was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Major General Karsten Stoyed (back, second from left). Photo by Sébastien Raffin.
Members of the United Kingdom Joint Force Air Component augmented the exercise facilitating full-fledged Air Command and Control operations in support of AIRCOM staff. Photo by Sébastien Raffin.

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