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USAF Conducts Air Operations Center Contingency Planning Exercise

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The U.S. Air Force facilitated a 24-hour exercise focused on ensuring that the  618th Air Operations Center continues support activities despite degraded communications that may result from power outages or cyberattacks, C4ISrnet reported Saturday.

The Air Force unit, also known as the Tanker Airlift Control Center, handles over 134 daily sorties and mobility aircraft used for aerial refueling as well as cargo and personnel transport. TACC also manages weather data, maintenance information and diplomatic clearances.

Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas, commander of the 618th AOC, said the Air Force may prepare for instances of widespread outage by investing in backup technologies such as fax machines, walkie-talkies and high-frequency radios.

Lt. Col. Benjamin Carroll, deputy director of the strategy directorate, said the service branch may consider authorizing other AOCs to issue diplomatic clearances in the event that TACC experiences disrupted operations.

“There is going to be a ripple effect,” noted USAF Master Sgt. Samantha Lanier. “I think the biggest impact will be tomorrow — how we recover, how easy it is to recover.”