Advancing Lethality through Live-Virtual-Constructive Synthetic Training

by Senior Master Sgt. Shannon Sutton
694th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- During peacetime and armistice operations personal and team tradecraft skill readiness levels can be difficult to determine, especially in career fields where analyzing the unknown is the norm.

No technical orders provide Intelligence Airmen with step-by-step instructions on how to find, fix, and track targets of interest. Moreover, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance tactics, techniques, and procedures exist more as sternly encouraged guidelines rather than clear rule sets.

In this type of environment, simulators are arguably the best method for effective synthetic training for tradecraft skills enhancement.

How does a unit garner simulator-like effects when a simulator does not exist? How does a unit keep its Airmen prepared to protect and defend at a moment’s notice?

The women and men of the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group at Osan Air Base developed an innovative answer to these questions.

In order to maintain their mission-ready posture, the 694th ISRG expanded their rehearsal of concept drills, moving the drills farther away from a traditional table-top setting. ISRG Airmen incorporated mission planning, days’ worth of atmospherics for mission preparation, real-time computing injects, psychological first-aid events, ability-to-survive-and-operate scenarios, drill planning and debriefing with Gamestorming, event flow charts for drill data compilation, and elements of near-real time reporting tests.

Though, the ROC drills originally began in December 2016, in the two years since their inception, the group’s Weapons and Tactics Team incrementally and iteratively grew the quarterly events into live-virtual-constructive combat operations readiness drills known as Jade Scepter.

Jade Scepter training events exist to prepare crew members for real-life scenarios, focusing primarily on trade craft development and weapon system precision.

However, these drills also provide a forum for intelligence support personnel to practice their contingency operations skills, allow Airman Resiliency Team members to determine better means of integrating into operations, and establish a controlled setting for Standardization and Evaluations to compile data for supplementary evaluations.

Adding to the effectiveness of these premium synthetic training events, the 694th ISRG’s location allows incorporation of partners from the 607th Air Operations Center, the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron, the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, and the 36th and 25th Fighter Squadrons.

An example of the advantage the group gains because of its location occurred at the end of 2018 when Jade Scepter served as the catalyst event for the start of 7th Air Force’s nationwide operational readiness drills.

Despite the documented successes of Jade Scepter, the 694th ISRG continuously finds areas for improvement.

In 2019, the group’s Weapons and Tactics Team’s goal is to grow Jade Scepter even more by elevating mission planning with Gamestorming techniques, by developing a library of scenario modules for expedited planning and exportability in addition to customizing virtual injects for enhanced verisimilitude.

Realism must be the primary focus when building training meant to teach Intelligence Airmen to find, fix, and track the unknown with confident expertise.

Jade Scepter is the best synthetic training available to create a realistic mission environment in the absence of a simulator, and it does just that to prepare crews for missions at the 694th ISRG.

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