Air Mobility Command uses ChatOps to support largest-ever readiness exercise
To stay perpetually prepared to execute its vital missions, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) of the U.S. Air Force carries out comprehensive, recurring readiness exercises called Mobility Guardian.
Mobility Guardian 2023 (MG23) deployed 3,000 U.S. and Allied Forces personnel, with detachments from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Japan. The effort enabled more than 15,000 U.S. and global forces to take part in extensive simultaneous exercises across the Indo-Pacific region.
The goal of MG23 was to demonstrate that AMC could seamlessly integrate with Allied Forces to provide airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and humanitarian and disaster assistance. It also enabled AMC and its mission partners to hone their interoperability and collaboration at maximum sustained tempo and under multiple levels of isolation.
By design, Mobility Guardian exercises are largely unscripted. That requires troops to think on their feet, quickly establish communication and other services, and dynamically adapt when operations don’t go as planned. AMC airmen can test out command-and-control (C2) applications, communications capabilities, and collaboration tools in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments.
To that end, MG23 relied on ChatOps for certain aspects of communication and collaboration throughout the exercise. ChatOps enabled teams to leverage tools such as asynchronous communication channels and collaboration platforms to support mission activities. When AMC employed ChatOps for MG23, it utilized Mattermost.
A secure, centralized ChatOps platform
AMC is a major Air Force command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Its 110,000 personnel provide airlift and aerial refueling for all U.S. armed forces, as well as global air mobility for humanitarian support across the globe. AMC’s ability to deliver Rapid Global Mobility sets the U.S. military apart from other national forces.
AMC relies on purpose-built communication platforms such as its Global Decision Support System 2 (GDSS2). GDSS2 provides unit- and force-level mission planning, scheduling, and tracking of all mobility airlift and air refueling missions.
AMC also depends on Mattermost collaboration capabilities through the Platform One government-to-government software and hardware factory for rapid application development, delivery, and deployment. In fact, AMC is among the DoD’s most active users of Mattermost. For instance, the solution enables flight crews to securely access critical documents from mobile devices anywhere in the world. Mattermost is built on open standards, allowing for seamless integration with open source applications like Puckboard, AMC’s flight crew scheduling application.
Platform One runs Mattermost in a secure, on-premises deployment that ensures data integrity and digital sovereignty. Its deployment of ChatOps provides secure access to communication channels, data, and technology tools in a centralized collaboration environment. Those capabilities are what enabled the solution to act as a lowest common denominator for ChatOps across joint forces during MG23. By implementing ChatOps in this way, operators at the 618th Air Operations Center (AOC) and at the tactical edge were able to provide instant updates to key leaders and quickly address operational challenges as they arose.
Managing pertinent mission data
Mobility Airmen operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide unrivaled global mobility. Every day, Air Mobility Command plans, tasks, and executes missions around the world. ChatOps allows for the use of flexible, scalable command-and-control communication tools to maintain a constant connection among mission teams and decision-makers.
ChatOps enables AMC to manage pertinent mission data in context-relevant communication channels to ensure the right personnel have secure access to the right information at the right time. For instance, this approach enables messaging, file sharing, and collaboration on computers and mobile devices across Mobility Air Forces (MAF) field forces and the Air Forces Transportation (AFTRANS) C2 enterprise.
Platform One is leveraging the Mattermost application framework to develop new functionality and integrations that will scale its adoption across the DoD.
For its part, AMC is using context-relevant ChatOps channels to streamline operational and tactical communication to improve situational awareness and accelerate decision-making. It also uses automated playbooks and digitized checklists within the ChatOps solution to enhance analysis and after-action reporting.
Readiness exercises like MG23 enable AMC to understand and overcome the “tyranny of distance” when operating in vast theaters as it delivers the Rapid Global Mobility the Joint Force and allied partners depend on.