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JADE FORGE: Enhancing the lethality of intelligence Airmen and joint partners

  • Published
  • By Sean Schroeder
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

At an isolated compound at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Airmen and joint service intel students participate in an innovative training environment called JADE FORGE. 

It sounds like a video game title, exotic weapon, or military operation.   

JADE FORGE stands for Joint All-Domain Expeditionary Forward Operations Readiness Generation Exercise.  It’s a sixth-generation intelligence training initiative at Goodfellow AFB that gives joint service intelligence warriors assigned to the 17th Training Group the opportunity to battle a formidable enemy in the Pacific theater, coordinate the employment of high-tech weaponry, and apply their skills in a realistic scenario much like a real-world military operation.    

This training environment affords them the chance to apply the core functions of intelligence:  analysis, collection, integration and targeting. 

Their scenario involves a simulated deployment in the Indo Pacific region.  The 313th Training Squadron, responsible for executing advanced intel training, hosts the Contingency Intelligence Network Course at JADE FORGE.

In this course, students operate in an austere environment and access high-tech software with specially configured hardware.  They gather and integrate critical intelligence that is used to brief fighter, bomber and cargo pilots to target key military assets and provide valuable logistics support to forward deployed coalition forces.    

“This training enhances our lethality as a force provider to combatant commanders,” said Lt. Col. B. Garrett Williams, 313th TRS commander.  “It helps Airmen understand the ‘why’ of what they are doing; knowing that why is critical to mission execution in a deployed environment.”   

The word ‘jade’ has the connotations of something from the orient, often associated with China.  With regards to the acronym JADE FORGE, the use of the word jade was not an accident, but intentional.

“We put a lot of members in a room, a lot of whiteboarding – juicy naming conventions came up, we just stuck with jade,” said Maj. Christopher Perry, 313th TRS director of operations and one of the leaders behind the JADE FORGE initiative. 

At the core of this exercise is the concept of agile combat employment.  It is an Air Force doctrine that emphasizes a proactive as well as reactive approach to moving on the battlefield that increases survivability while generating combat power. 

“We fight to compete, to win and deter; we fight to get into the air, fight for air superiority, fight to deny our adversaries’ objectives, and fight to sustain ourselves within a near-peer adversary’s geographic environment,” said Perry. 

JADE FORGE is one of three Second Air Force FORGE initiatives.  The first of which is PACER FORGE.  PACER stands for Primary Agile Combat Employment Range.  It is expeditionary training that takes place near the end of Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.  It provides Airmen and Guardians foundational skills to operate in a deployed environment.   

Following PACER FORGE is BRACER FORGE.  BRACER stands for Basic Readiness Agile Combat Employment Reinforcement.  BRACER FORGE gives Airmen and Guardians the opportunity to hone their skills learned from PACER FORGE with an emphasis on incorporating their technical training competencies. 

JADE FORGE is under the umbrella of BRACER FORGE with a focus on applying skills learned from intelligence training.    

“Our involvement in JADE FORGE builds familiarity among Airmen and different career specialty codes and gives them an environment to learn how to work effectively as a team and how to critically think,” said Williams.

It initially started in October of 2022 and utilized the existing resources of Forward Operating Base Sentinel, a training area used by the 344th Military Intelligence Battalion for their Army intel students.

JADE FORGE has significantly grown since then, both in acreage and technological capability.  Its expansion is a direct result of $1.3 million in funding from the City of San Angelo and across the state of Texas through the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant, which was awarded to Goodfellow AFB in August 2022. 

This training initiative is the result of continuous planning, communication and coordination involving representatives from Air Combat Command, Air Education and Training Command, Second Air Force and 17th Training Wing. 

The 17th Training Wing’s JADE FORGE is ever-evolving, as is the geopolitical landscape. 

Exercise planners frequently discuss how to incorporate intel training career field skillsets and training requirements with members of the 17th Training Group and Goodfellow’s joint service partners. 

JADE FORGE provides a valuable experience for today’s joint service intel warriors in the current era of Greater Power Competition with China.