U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORTHERN EDGE HISTORY

 

 

 

 

Jack Frost 1975-1977 & 1979
Northern Edge evolved over the years from Jack Frost, Brim Frost and Arctic Warrior exercises. The first of these was Jack Frost 75, an Alaskan Command sponsored exercise, which ran from January 7 to February 14, 1975. Jack Frost 75 focused on joint operations and training in an arctic environment. Jack Frost 76 marked the beginning of the exercises sponsored by the US Readiness Command.

Jack Frost 77 exercised command and control techniques and procedures for joint task force operations. Later that year, US Readiness Command learned that the nickname, Jack Frost, was prohibited by JCS publications. The command received approval for the name Brim Frost, and the final Jack Frost exercise ran in 1979.

Brim Frost 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 & 1989
Brim Frost 81 was sponsored by US Readiness Command. Brim Frost 83 was conducted from January 10 to February 11, 1983. Brim Frost 85 began December 10, 1984 and concluded January 24,1985, with more than 18,000 military troops participating. All three of these operations exercised the ability of Joint Task Force Alaska to conduct winter operations.

Brim Frost 87 involved more than 24,000 active and reserve Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy personnel. More than 143 Air Force aircraft, 130 Army aircraft, and five major Coast Guard cutters employed during Brim Frost 87. Brim Frost 89, sponsored by Forces Command, involved more than 26,000 troops with a cost of $15 million. This exercise involved numerous communications initiatives such as AWACS, satellites, and electronic intelligence.

Arctic Warrior 1991
Arctic Warrior 91 replaced the Brim Frost exercises with the reestablishment of Alaska Command in 1990. It also transferred the exercise sponsorship from Forces Command to Pacific Command. The exercise ran from January 25 to February 6, 1991. It featured live fire and had more than 10,000 troops participating.

Northern Edge 1993-2004
The first Northern Edge exercise kicked-off in 1993. This exercise was scaled in comparison. ALCOM designed it to be an internal training event for the headquarters and component headquarters staffs. The exercise emphasized the joint operations, campaign planning and logistics planning.

Northern Edge 94 field training exercise ran from March 11 to March 18, 1994. This exercise, considerably larger than 1993, involved more than 14,600 military personnel. ALCOM activated the joint task force Northern Edge in response to a simulated National Command Authority mission that provided forces to conduct peace enforcement operations. To add realism, the Red Cross, International Medical Corps, Feed the Children and other non-government agencies participated.

Northern Edge 95 and 96 each consisted of three phases, and included more than 14,000 personnel participated in the joint exercise. This exercise tested and validated ALCOM's ability to field a deployable joint task force.

Northern Edge 97, with more than 9,000 personnel, divided its field training into two parts, held in different locations. Major air and ground maneuvers were held at Fort Greely. The naval harbor defense portion was held at Seward, Alaska. Planners focused on night high-tech activities, air interdiction, deep strike missions and the land maneuver forces during conventional ground combat.

Northern Edge 98 kicked off with a mass airborne drop of 600 troops in training areas southeast of Fairbanks, while maritime forces began protecting the harbor in Ketchikan. The mock town of Simpsonville was used for joint live fire exercises, which became a pivotal part of the field training. Apache helicopters supported a brigade air assault and more than 1,200 sorties assisted air operations. The USS Ingraham was the high value unit for the port security portion of the exercise and the U. S. Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) was the main defender.

Northern Edge 99 included a night airborne mass jump, a brigade air assault, more than 1,200 air sorties flown, theater missile defense, information operations, harbor defense, and a three-day and -night live fire at Simpsonville.

During Northern Edge 2000, there were a number of live-fire exercises, an airborne operation, and multiple close air support missions flown. A robust theater missile defense cell took part in the exercise by conducting antiballistic missile operations against a simulated attack. Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), made its first appearance in Northern Edge providing battlefield commanders with near real-time aerial imagery.

The scenario for Northern Edge 2001 facilitated unit level training, theater engagement, and joint operations in a cold climate. Additionally, the naval exercise emphasized joint and combined port security and harbor defense operations in a friendly host nation. The highlight of the naval exercise, for the second year in a row, was the use of trained dolphins to help detect underwater intruders.
Northern Edge 2002 had the benefit of training with crews from an aircraft carrier and its accompanying support ships. The USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN operated from the Gulf of Alaska, and its aircraft, including the new F-18 Super Hornet, flew into the interior of the state to hone their warfighting skills training with and against other military participants. Some of the skills practiced include air interdiction against main supply routes, precision strikes, combat search and rescue of downed aircrew and tactical airlift support. The area around Valdez served as the backdrop for the maritime activities and ground defense maneuvers, which centered on protecting the visiting USS DUBUQUE and the Valdez Marine Terminal.
The war in Iraq forced the scope of Northern Edge 2003 exercise to contract, but it was still the state's largest annual joint training exercise. The exercise focused on homeland defense scenarios and incorporated theater missile defense, force protection, air-to-air fighter aircraft engagements, joint exercises, combat search and rescue, harbor defense and maritime operations.
Subsequent Northern Edge exercises would focus on homeland defense/homeland security operations during odd-numbered years and would focus on joint warfare operations during even-numbered years.
More than 9,000 Airmen, Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Coast Guardsmen from active duty, reserve and National Guard units participated in Northern Edge 2004, which focused on air-centric tactics and procedures with an emphasis on air-to-air, air-to-ground, and on personnel recovery operations in remote areas of the Pacific Alaska Range Complex near Fairbanks, Alaska and over water in the Gulf. Aircraft participated from the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, several fighter units from Pacific Air Forces, robust aerial tanker support, multi-service helicopter support, and a fighter unit from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. 


ALASKA SHIELD/NORTHERN EDGE 2005
Northern Edge 2005 was combined with the State of Alaska's homeland security exercise called Alaska Shield which incorporated federal, state and local organizations in natural and human-made disaster and terrorist-related scenarios in an interagency environment.
After more than a year's worth of planning and preparation, the U.S. Northern Command, in coordination with the State of Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and other federal, state, and local government partners conducted ALASKA SHIELD and NORTHERN EDGE 2005 from 15-19 August 2005. This exercise provided a wide range of simulated natural disasters and terrorist events in 21 communities throughout Alaska designed to train military and civilian "first responders" and test organizational and integration skills at all levels of government. This exercise was considered a capstone event for Alaska's three year Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Plan. Scenario elements and venues included an earthquake in Juneau, bioterrorism in Ketchikan and Juneau, critical infrastructure protection at Fort Greely refinery, and terrorist attacks in various cities throughout Alaska. NORAD objectives for this exercise included the following:

Provide air sovereignty
Execute counter-air operations
Operate a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear warning and reporting system
Support other US and Canadian Government Agencies as directed by the Secretary of Defense
Exercise Operation NOBLE EAGLE procedures
Exercise an Air/Expanded Maritime Interception Operation (EMIO)



NORTHERN EDGE 2006

Northern Edge 2006 was a joint training exercise running from 5-6 June 2006. The exercise was aimed at helping prepare forces to respond to crises in the Asian Pacific region. Participants practices defensive counter-air, close-air support, air interdiction of maritime targets and personnel recovery missions.

It included approximately 5,000 US active duty and reserve component soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. Major participating units included US Army Alaska, Pacific Air Forces, Air Combat Command, Marine Forces Pacific, Special Operations Command Pacific and US Pacific Fleet. Naval units included the Carrier Air Wing 11 from Naval Air Station LeMoore, California. Marine units included the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from Okinawa. Army units included the 1st of the 52nd Aviation Battalion from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Air Force units included the 3rd Wing from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; the 354th Fighter Wing from Eielson AFB, Alaska; Alaska Air National Guard 176th Wing from Kulis Air Station and the 168th Air Refueling Wing from Eielson AFB; the 509th Bomb Wing from Whiteman AFB, Missouri; The 1st Fighter Wing from Langely, Virginia; the 180th Fighter Wing from Toledo, Ohio; and the 18th Wing from Kadena, Japan. Small elements of Special Operations Forces also participated.

The exercise involved over 110 aircraft including: B-2 Spirit, CH-47 Chinook, E-2C Hawkeye, E-3B Sentry AWACS, EA-6B Prowler, F-22A Raptor, F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16C Falcon, F/A-18C and F/A-18D Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, HC-130 Hercules, HH-60 Pavehawk, KC-130 Hercules, KC-135 Stratotanker, SH-60B Seahawk and the UH-60 Blackhawk.

Two US Navy destroyers participated in the exercise. The USS Chafee based its operations out of Seward and the USS O'Kane participated out of Homer.


Approved by: 3WG History Office 9 May 2007


 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Air Force Photo

 

 

Exercise Northern Edge '98 hones skills in Alaska

 

A C-130 from the 144th Airlift Squadron Alaska's Kulis Air National Guard Base prepares to takeoff from Fort Greely, Alaska. C-130s from the 144th and the 517th Airlift Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, flew 99 missions in support of Northern Edge '98 and carried more than 1,400 passengers and transported over 660,000 pounds of equipment in the first four days of the exercise. (Photo by Senior Airman Adam Wooten)