Combined Air Operations Center Torrejon completes major exercise

Operations staff at work during Exercise Torrejon Alternate. Even in a COVID-19 environment NATO personnel still practice mission-essential training. Photo courtesy of CAOC Torrejon.

On Nov. 6, the Combined Air Operations Center — Torrejon completed a 10-day exercise involving NATO members from CAOC Torrejon and Allied partners from the Spanish Joint Force Air Component.

The Ramstein Ambition 2020 — Torrejon Alternate Exercise was part of HQ Allied Air Command annual training portfolio to train the Crisis Establishment staff in Command and Control situations, while certifying new NATO military members in their CE JFAC roles. Even with the travel limitations of COVID-19, the Air Command team worked with the leadership of CAOC Torrejon to execute the annual training, creating a major Article 5 simulation that tested JFAC-ready members, assigned to CAOC Torrejon. This command and control exercise, which ran in conjunction with Ex Ramstein Ambition taking place at HQ Allied Air Command, culminated with the successful completion of major annual training objectives.

“We have been able to adjust to the COVID environment with all available safety measures in place. This has allowed us to execute successfully all the exercises CAOC Torrejon has been involved this year, ensuring the qualification of all our personnel to fulfill our mission.” said Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz, Commander CAOC Torrejon.

Following strict COVID-19 health protocols, CAOC-Torrejon and HQ Air Command adapted to the continued situation, while ensuring valuable training continues and preparing staff for a crisis situation. The exercise is important for the readiness of NATO, while also providing an opportunity for the Spanish JFAC to augment military members into several key JFAC positions.

Overall, the Exercise demonstrated the ability of Air Command to successfully operate during a worldwide pandemic. At the end of the Exercise, several new JFAC members were certified as Mission Ready for their Crisis Establishment roles.