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Normally, the commander of a numbered air force (NAF) is designated as the Air Force forces (AFFOR) commander, and as the JFACC. In this case, the AFFOR AOC hosts the JAOC. The USAF AOC is the senior agency of the TACS. It is task organized to provide centralized planning and control and to ease decentralized execution of air and air defense operations. The JAOC develops and executes the ATO. If the JFACC is also designated the ACA, his JAOC develops the ACO.

USAF Air Operations Center as JAOC

The USAF AOC is the operational facility in which the commander of Air Force forces (COMAFFOR) or JFACC, when so designated by the JFC, has centralized the planning, direction, and control over committed air assets. The JAOC works at the component or force level, and gives the COMAFFOR and/or JFACC with the following:

  • Supervises the activities of assigned or attached forces.
  • Monitors the actions of enemy and friendly forces.
  • Control joint and combined force air assets.

The deployed JAOC integrates equipment and cadre personnel from the staff of the numbered air force (NAF) and component organizations. JAOC manning is based on a cadre concept with personnel picked for their battle management expertise and knowledge of C2 concepts and procedures. The cadre personnel are augmented by personnel who are specialists knowledgeable in the current capabilities, tactics, and procedures of each of the C4I systems, weapons platforms, or service-unique functions in use.

USAF JAOC Functions

The USAF JAOC can be tailored to do a variety of missions and management functions. In any case, the JAOC performs the following three basic management functions:

  • Flight management. The flight management function consists of two parts. First, air operations planning culminating in the production of an ATO. Secondly, monitoring and tracking the progress of tasked missions to include relaying any changes or deviations to affected control agencies or flying units.
  • Battle management. The battle management function of the JAOC is defined as the decisions and actions taken in direct response to the presence or activities of enemy forces. The battle management function is the most critical activity in the JAOC. It may decide the success or failure of the theater forces to achieve their assigned objectives.
  • Systems management. Systems management focuses on communications. It is the building and maintaining of links between all elements of the TACS. Airspace management and communications management are normally considered subsets of the function. The major concern of the AOC in this area is the exchange of C2 information, such as the following:


-Orders of battle.


-Threat alerts.

-Air logistical status.

USAF JAOC Organization

JAOC organization may vary among NAFs. All JAOC are made up of six staff elements responsible for the following:

  • Operations.
  • Plans.
  • Intelligence.
  • Logistics.
  • Communications-electronics.
  • CSS.

The size of JAOC depends on the size of the forces (land, sea, and air) involved and the C2 needed. During a contingency operation, the USAF component could range in size from a single squadron to numerous wings.

Initially, the JAOC may have only two tasks as follows:

  • Guide the arrival and positioning of air resources.
  • Prepare the plans and agreements needed for their continued support and operations.

The size of the JAOC may vary. It could begin as a limited capability represented in the small quick response package (QRP). Later a more robust limited response package (LRP) may evolve. And finally, a fully operational theater response package (TRP) capable of a Desert Storm level of effort may develop. Whatever the size of the force involved, the necessity for the COMAFFOR and/or JFACC to have one central system to exercise control over his forces remains the same. The figure below represents a notional USAF JFACC structure providing a JAOC.

When constituted, a typical JAOC consists of a JAOC director and based on the USAF AOC structure the following six elements:

  • Combat plans division (CPD).
  • Combat operations division (COD).
  • CID.
  • LRC.
  • CSSC

The figure below illustrates the makeup of the organization.

In addition, a DIRMOBFOR may be assigned to the JFACC staff as a liaison from AMC. Otherwise the the theater ACC may appoint a DIRMOBFOR. The DIRMOBFOR may be authorized direct coordination with the ALCC of the JAOC for airlift matters, even though the ALCC may be external to the JAOC.

JAOC Director

The JAOC director (typically the director of operations of the USAF component) is responsible for the centralized planning, directing, controlling, and coordination of air assets and theater wide-area surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) assets available to the JFACC. The director is responsible to the COMAFFOR. who may be the JFACC, for tasking all assigned air operations.

Combat Plans Division

The CPD is responsible for the air operations planning of the JAOC. The CPD is typically divided into the following elements:

  • Air campaign branch (ACB).
  • Joint guidance, apportionment, and targeting cell.
  • ATO branch (ATOB).
  • Airspace control branch.
  • Plans intelligence branch.

The CPD performs the following:

  • Develops air strategy.
  • Makes apportionment and allocation recommendations.
  • Produces the ATO and related documents to include the following;


-Target nomination list (TNL).

-Tactical operations data (TACOPDAT).

-Operational tasking data link (OPTASKLINK) messages.

Combat Operations Division

The COD is responsible for execution of the current ATO. The COD is typically divided into the following branches:

  • Offensive operations (OOB).
  • Defensive operations (DOB).
  • Airspace control.
  • Weather support (WSB).
  • Operations intelligence.

The COD may also include a rescue coordination center (RCC) which supports or could be designated as the joint search and rescue center (JSRC).

Combat Intelligence Division

CID directs the activities of the following:

  • Plans intelligence.
  • Operations intelligence.
  • Intelligence support.

Plans intelligence and operations intelligence are physically and fictionally integrated with the CPD and COD, respectively. To support JAOC requirements, the CID coordinates requests for support from the following:

  • Air intelligence agency.
  • Air Force information warfare center (AFIWC).
  • The major command (MAJCOM) to which the CID is assigned.
  • Combatant (unified) command intelligence assets

Systems Control Center

The SYSCON center directs the use and linking of USAF communications-computer systems (C-CS) elements in the theater of operations. The SYSCON center may also be responsible for the joint network of the theater. The SYSCON center consists of the following branches:

  • Site management.
  • Operations control.
  • System administration (SYSAD).
  • Deployed systems support.
  • Total risk assessment cost estimate (TRACE) team/engineering.

Logistics Readiness Center

The LRC is the focal point for all air related logistics issues in a theater of operations. It is responsible for the centralized direction and control of the deployment, reception, and redeployment of the logistics assets and the execution of logistics fictions. The LRC also supervises logistics actions related to the following:

  • Mobility.
  • Operations.
  • Aircraft serviceability.
  • Munitions.
  • Aerospace ground equipment.
  • Readiness spares packages.
  • Petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL).

The LRC consists of the following branches:

  • Logistics plans.
  • Aircraft maintenance.
  • Supply and fuels.
  • Transportation.
  • Contracting.

Combat Service Support Center

The CSSC is responsible for theater "bed down" support functions. The CSSC consists of the following branches:

  • Engineering.
  • Personnel.
  • Services.
  • Security Police.
  • Medical.
  • Information management.

Airlift Coordination Cell

The ALCC is normally collocated with the AOC The ALCC does detailed planning, coordinating and tasking for theater assigned air mobility forces. If not collocated, the DIRMOBFOR acts as the liaison from the AMC for ALCC matters.

The ALCC functions include the following:

  • Gives centralized control of theater assigned air mobility forces (tanker and airlift).
  • Develops the airlift part of ATO and the airlift mission schedule.
  • Coordinates, directs and commits assets to preplanned and immediate airlift needs.
  • Gives guidance to the joint force commander's agent (JFCA) on available airlift assets.
  • Disapproves requests when no airlift assets are available.
  • Receives advance notification of immediate airlift requests from the TALO.

The ALCC major divisions the areas follows:

  • Airlift operations. On the basis of validated airlift request, plans the airlift mission schedule and airlift portion of the ATO.
  • Tanker operations. Aerial refueling experts in combat plans to coordinate tanker support for the combat air force (CAF).
  • C2. Monitors the execution of airlift and tanker operations.
  • Combat operations. Monitors the status of airfields, drop, landing, and extraction zones. Personnel in combat operations give briefings to recommended tactics.

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