19th AW focuses on strategic thinking during KingFish ACE exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- The 19th Airlift Wing participated in a multi-day table top exercise, known as KingFish Agile Combat Employment, Feb. 28 - March 4, to further prepare Airmen for tomorrow’s fight.

KingFish ACE is a board game focused on the planning, deployment, and execution of Multi-Capable Airmen supporting ACE concepts. The game is intended to help military planners and Airmen understand the relationships between task, threat, capabilities, time and the complexities of ACE.

According to KingFish ACE designer, Lt. Col. Troy Pierce, the game is focused on a hypothetical contingency in the Western Pacific within the 2020-2030 timeframe.

Pierce said the board game is designed to accelerate the learning process by providing Airmen a fun, challenging, and competitive game to better understand how to successfully employ forces within a complex expeditionary environment.

“The purpose of creating this game was to allow people to understand these concepts in a way that they can visualize it, learn from it and understand it,” Pierce said.  “I want our Airmen to really get a feel for all of these ideas in a more tangible fashion.”

During the exercise, Airmen of all ranks were distributed into teams and worked together to mission plan and explore various concepts to overcome system variables while avoiding prescriptive processes to enable maximum creativity and learning.

Simply stated, the game is designed for multiple courses of action to achieve mission success, meaning players are not confined to a singular avenue to “win.” Moreover, KingFish ACE deliberately showcases various Air Force mission sets, allowing Airmen to see firsthand how their career field duties fit into the Air Force’s larger strategic picture.

“Each Airman needs to understand where they fit in and how they fill a critical role,” Pierce said. “Whether they are an aerial porter, maintainer, or a security forces member, they need to understand how potential strategic threats and variables can impact their operations and how they can overcome those challenges.”

Participants of the exercise said it was an “eye-opening experience,” adding that prioritizing teamwork and strong leadership was paramount in order to accomplish the mission.

“This exercise gave us an overall look on specific conflicts when analyzing multiple scenarios to figure out what’s needed and how to respond,” said Staff Sgt. Stafford Hampton, 19th Force Support Squadron manpower analyst.  “If you look at how we are accelerating change, this training makes our Airmen more flexible and flexibility is the key to air power.”

It’s important for Airmen to be able to understand and adopt the mindset and doctrine that ACE brings to the Air Force as a whole, Hampton continued.

“Our National Defense Strategy has identified certain competitors as our pacing threat and this game was designed with that in mind,” Pierce said. “The game also addresses a significant amount of complexity associated with that environment. Change comes from our innovative Airmen and experimentation at the lowest possible levels, which is what’s driving change in the Air Force.”