380 AEW advances ACE capabilities during joint, multinational exercise Published Aug. 29, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Christian Silvera 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates -- Amid present and future warfighting challenges across the region, the U.S. Air Force routinely pursues opportunities to further enhance its capabilities and maintain air superiority. The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, alongside multiple U.S. Central Command units and regional and allied partners, participated in Operation Agile Spartan 23.2 in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR), Aug. 20-24, 2023. During the exercise, the 380th AEW demonstrated their agile combat employment (ACE) capabilities, which involves rapidly shifting operations from large, primary bases to smaller, dispersed forward operating locations in concert with allies and partners. This approach aims to increase their strategic advantage and reduce the vulnerability to attacks from adversaries. “Exercising ACE in the USCENTCOM AOR allows us to showcase our capabilities to our partners, provides opportunities for partner nation integration, and deters our adversaries,” said Maj. Hollis Troxel, 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron director of operations. “The 380th AEW was able to show we are not wholly dependent on a primary base of operations, and that we are able to operate from other locations effectively.” While conducting ACE operations, the 380th AEW provided Base Operations Support-Integrator, Command and Control, and Mission Generation capabilities. These functions play a fundamental role in sustaining the Air Force’s ability to engage effectively in demanding environments, conserving assets and manpower in the process. Reflecting back on the exercise, Troxel, who was the forward deployed detachment commander, emphasized a key lesson among several that were learned. “The biggest lesson learned was the importance of host nation relations,” said Troxel. “These relationships are paramount to allowing the U.S. Air Force to operate in countries within the AOR and provides the flexibility to ACE, which is essential to being agile.” While forward deployed for the exercise, Airmen assigned to the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron and the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing worked together to provide rapid support to the 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft during their flight operations. The combined effort of the wing and joint force partners contributed to the successful completion of the exercise, overcoming any encountered obstacles. “With any operation, problems will arise on the spot, but the team rapidly adapted to their environment to ensure issues were mitigated and capabilities were sustained,” said Troxel. “This was a team effort across the 380th AEW and US Embassy. Each career field did their part, making the whole operation a success.” Overall, the 380th AEW’s hard work and dedication throughout the exercise strengthened their capabilities and partnerships across all domains, reinforcing regional security.