LIAISON ELEMENTS WITHIN THE JAOC
Effective liaison between forces is essential for coordinated joint air operations. The JFC and component commanders will exchange liaison elements to assist and coordinate planning and execution of joint air operations. Liaison elements provide senior level interface for air, land, sea, space, and special operation forces. These elements consist of experienced warfare specialists who provide component planning and tasking expertise, coordination capabilities, and the ability to deconflict component operations and joint air operations. A brief summary follows of typical liaison elements. Detailed information can be found in respective supporting command and Service documents.
2. Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE)
The Army Component Commander establishes a BCE to act as the interface between the component commander and the JFACC or the Air Force component commander. The BCE is collocated with the JAOC or the Air Force component AOC. The BCE processes land force requests for air support, monitors and interprets the land battle situation for the JAOC, and provides the necessary interface for the exchange of current operational and intelligence data. The BCE expedites the exchange of information through face-to-face coordination with elements of the JAOC and coordinates air defense and airspace control matters. The BCE is organized into sections which are incorporated throughout the JAOC (e.g., plans, intelligence, operations, fusion, air defense artillery and Army airspace command and control. and airlift).
3. Special Operations Liaison Element (SOLE)
The JFSOCC provides a SOLE to the JFACC/JFC staff or appropriate Service component air command and control facility to coordinate and synchronize SOF air and surface operations with joint air operations. A major SOLE responsibility is shared asset coordination/deconfliction. The SOLE must consider airborne fire support and reconnaissance, command and control platforms, aerial refueling, as well as deconfliction of deep operations. The SOLE chief works directly for the JFSOCC and places liaison officers throughout the JAOC staff. Under the direction of the SOLE chief, these liaison officers provide SOF air and ground operations expertise throughout the JAOC. Because the JFSOCC and the JFACC share a common environment, the deep battlefield, SOF aviation and surface assets must be integrated into joint air operations planning and execution to provide for synergy, integration, coordination, and deconfliction.
In addition to specific JFSOCC objectives supporting the JFC's intent, SOF can act as a significant joint force multiplier by contributing to joint air operations. The senior SOF liaison may seek JFSOCC guidance and approval to contribute to joint air operations in four broad areas. First, SOF can act as an economy of force measure, striking targets which-allow joint air to strike higher priority targets. Second, SOF may be able to conduct surgical operations beyond the capabilities of joint air capabilities/forces (e.g., against weapons of mass destruction production or storage facilities inaccessible to joint air capabilities/forces due to environmental or dispersal concerns). Third, because of unique training and multiple air/ground combat power delivery capabilities, SOF may combine with joint air operations in a synergistic attack (e.g., terminal guidance operations). Finally, SOF may enhance joint air operations with still other unique personnel and platform capabilities, such as providing a tailored joint special operations task force (JSOTF), under the TACON of the JFACC, to assist in locating deep targets.
US Space Command (USSPACECOM) component personnel deploy to assist the JFACC/JFC staff in requesting and using support from space assets. The senior SLO also serves as the Senior Space Liaison to the JAOC, providing direct coordination between the JAOC and USSPACECOM Theater Support Team (TST). Personnel deployed may be from Air Force Forward Space Support to Theater (FSST) Teams and/or the Naval Space Support Team (NSST).
5. Naval and Amphibious Liaison Element (NALE)
The NALE is responsive to the JAOC on matters pertaining to Navy and Marine amphibious operations. The NALE processes Navy force and Marine landing force requests for air support and monitors and interprets the maritime battle situation for the JAOC. The NALE provides the necessary interface for the exchange of current operational and intelligence data between components and the JAOC. The NALE also coordinates maritime requirements for air defense, long-range interdiction, and long-range requirements and monitors Navy and Marine airspace and air traffic control requirements and changes. The NALE provides feedback to the JAOC and components on current and future joint air operations concerning integration of force requirements.
6. Air Mobility Element (AME)
The AME is responsible for the detailed planning and coordinating for all strategic airlift operations in theater. The AME is part of the theater airlift system and should be collocated within the JAOC. Should it become necessary to temporarily assign strategic airlift assets to fulfill the theater airlift mission requirements, then the AME will be the focal point and tasking authority for these missions. JFCs should rely on their JFACC to plan and control theater airlift operations. If a JFACC is not designated, the Air Force Component Commander should plan and control theater airlift. Normally, the planning and control for theater airlift operations will be conducted by specialized airlift sections embedded within functional staff sections of the JAOC.
7. Strategic Liaison Team (STRATLAT)
The STRATLAT provides a small number of advisors for the JFC and the JFACC skilled in nuclear planning and coordination. The STRATLAT will be provided by United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) upon JFC request and will report to and be collocated with the JFC and/or the appropriate component commander(s). When provided, this team will be subordinate to the JFC. The JFC should rely on this team to assist in the preparation of nuclear request and execution messages and for the unique targeting and effects information for nuclear weapons. The STRATLAT will coordinate with the mission planning facilities of USSTRATCOM to optimize the utilization of nuclear weapons, if authorized by the National Command Authorities for use.
8. Air Force Liaison Element (AFLE)
The AFLE provides an interface between the Commander, Air Force Forces (COMAFFOR) and the JFACC for coordinating and synchronizing Air Force units in support of joint air operations. Normally, the AFLE is composed of personnel and equipment for a General Purpose Numbered Air Force's staff and component organizations. AFLE manning is based on a cadre concept with personnel selected for their battle management expertise and a knowledge of C2 concepts and procedures. Additional personnel augment the cadre who are specialists knowledgeable in the capabilities and tactics of the aircraft, intelligence, or weapons systems being employed. The AFLE can be tailored to perform a variety of missions and management functions to match the contingency or operation.