CAS Integration Group to Stand up at Nellis

Headquarters Air Force convened representatives from all the services, US Special Operations Command, and other entities at the Pentagon last week as part of “close air support focus week,” generating several new joint initiatives to improve the CAS mission, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle told reporters Friday. The services agreed to improve and expand training opportunities for both aviators and in-demand joint tactical air control parties, by using live virtual constructive training and even contracted CAS aircraft for joint terminal attack controller training, Carlisle said. Service exercises will be aligned to better coordinate CAS training, such as combining Blue Flag exercises with the Army Warfighter Assessment, he said. In addition, a new organization, dubbed the “CAS Integration Group,” will stand up at Nellis AFB, Nev. This will be a joint organization that will work to “advance the CAS mission set,” Carlisle said. It will include elements of air support squadrons, JTAC training, support to the Army’s National Training Center in California and at other sites, with the intent to improve training and effectiveness in the mission, Carlisle added. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh hosted the week-long event, and the outbrief was attended by Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno, Marine Corps Commandant Joseph Dunford, Navy Vice Adm. Scott Swift, National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Frank Grass, and others.