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A Marine conducts a brief during exercise Bold Quest aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Oct. 24. Bold Quest is a joint service, multinational coalition capability exercise that will test the incorporation of a multi-functional air operations center in a combined and joint environment. The Marine is with Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Marine Aircraft Group 31.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips

MACS-2 participates in Bold Quest

27 Oct 2016 | Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Marine Air Control Squadron 2 is participating in Exercise Bold Quest aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Army Garrison, Fort Stewart, Ga., Oct. 24 – Nov. 4.

The exercise gives the opportunity for the Early Warning and Control Detachment with MACS-2 to train with other services and multinational forces. They combined the Direct Air Support Center and the Tactical Air Operations Center into one joint operations center.

“Bold Quest is a glimpse into the future,” said 1st Lt. Jorge Nolasco, the operations officer in charge with MACS-2. “Coming up with a way to effectively combine two traditionally separate air operation centers into one multi-functional air operations center has been in the works for a long time.”

The MAOC concept streamlines two agencies and creates a more efficient task force with greater capabilities. To support the air operations of the exercise, there are a total of 77 Marines involved and a civilian radar technician. This includes Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. These Marines will provide the radar and communication element of the exercise for the flight operations.

“Some of the testing points of this exercise involve how we can use this MAOC in a joint service and multinational environment,” said Nolasco. “We want to see a successful iteration of the MAOC. Halfway through the exercise we will move to Fort Stewart, Ga. From there we will be working with joint partners. Anytime we can get that real world training is great.”

Bold Quest involves the U.S. armed forces and 10 multinational forces, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. Fort Stewart, Ga. provides adequate training grounds and ranges to conduct large scale exercises. In the past the exercise has been held on the west coast.

“This is important, due to our location,” said Nolasco. “We have so many bases surrounding us in the Savannah to Florida region. This is the first time it’s been held here and so far we like what we are seeing. Moving forward this should continue.”

The knowledge and experience gained from Bold Quest will be used by Marine Corps leadership to evaluate the fusion of DASC and the TAOC; in particular to assess if the Marine Corps can streamline and become more efficient. The Marines also receive real world training to prepare them for deployments, namely working in joint service and multinational environments.

“This has a lot of implications on the Marine Corps and how we structure our command and control system,” said Nolasco. “We are providing the resources for leadership to decide if this can work. It will change our capabilities and how we bring the fight to the enemy.”

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