Air Forces Europe [AFEUR]
US Air Forces in Europe planned for, stood up, and certified a 24/7 warfighting headquarters. Called Air Forces Europe, or AFEUR, its mission is to provide theater planning, sustainment, and execution in the Global War on Terrorism, contingencies, and daily operations. As all of this was accomplished, over 550 USAFE HQ personnel were ear-tagged, and were trained, to perform as part of a wartime construct for AFEUR. Eventually, AFEUR will assume the role and responsibilities currently performed by the Numbered Air Forces.
Situational awareness [SA] is a key aspect of AFEUR's mission. AFEUR improved operational SA across the command by giving flying units with the appropriate mechanisms to receive command-wide data relative to Air Tasking Order / asset utilization. In addition to providing USAFE this "Big ATO", AFEUR improved interoperability between the AFEUR Air and Space Operations Center and NATO. AFEUR dramatically increased SA with access to key NATO C2 systems, including NATO's Recognized Air Picture and ATO generation tool.
The USAFE command director is responsible for the direction and operation of the USAFE AFEUR (warfighting headquarters). The command director follows the direction of the COMUSAFE/COMAFFOR in directing all air forces operations within the EUCOM AOR during contingencies or wartime. The candidate should have extensive operational knowledge, understand MAJCOM/theater issues, and be able to respond effectively to joint operational requirements. The command director grade requirement is Colonel.
More than 1,000 Airmen comprised a theater and forward deployed air operations staff drawing mostly from Air Force warriors from the 16th Air Force, Air Forces Europe, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and stateside augmentee members for the second of three training exercises -- Exercise Austere Challenge 2004 -- designed to test the Air Force's warfighting headquarters concept. Phase II of AC04 successfully tested the plans created during Phase I for the warfighting team's ability to deploy troops, weapons systems and equipment downrange. The Theater AFFOR Logistics members provide the forward AFFOR Logistics chief a reach back capability to resource and distribute requirements to the forward deployed locations.
USAFE's realistic planning and training was cemented through Air Forces Europe when it became the world's first certified AF warfighting headquarters in April 2004. During the three-phase Austere Challenge Exercise designed to validate the ability to perform our missions, the AFEUR Air Operations Center and staff successfully fought a 1,500 sortie/day war, planned a large scale Non-combatant Evacuation Operation and deployed, bedded down and sustained thousands of combat forces.
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