A planned Close Air Support Integration Group between the Air Force and the other services will try to meet increased CAS training demands, said Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle. The services agreed that the integration between their components as well as the joint force constantly has to get better, Carlisle told reporters during a March 6 press briefing. He noted that in 1990, the Air Force had 100 percent of its requirement filled for joint terminal attack controllers, some 450 personnel. Today, there are 1,500 JTACs, and “we’re still not meeting the requirement,” he said. Currency and training demands have gone up, and as JTACs face the possibility of operating in more contested environments, the training will change and likely grow more demanding, said Carlisle. When asked how soon the CAS group would stand up, Carlisle said he would start the process “very soon.” He said he’s anticipating assigning aircraft to the effort, eventually 12 F-16s. However, the aircraft are not currently available, he noted, and ACC will “have to work through this.” In addition to standing up the CAS group and coordinating major joint exercises, efforts are underway to move the Joint Staff’s joint fires steering group into the Joint Staff’s joint force development office (J7).
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