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NEWS | Nov. 7, 2023

Sixteenth Air Force hosts Information Warfare WEPTAC

By Matthew McGovern Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) Public Affairs

The Sixteenth Air Force Weapons and Tactics Branch hosted the fourth annual Information Warfare Weapons and Tactics Conference at Sixteenth Air Force headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Oct. 23-27.

This year’s WEPTAC brought together more than 120 IW experts from nine Air Force major commands across the globe to solve the toughest challenges and emerging IW obstacles.

“Few venues exist where experts from throughout the Information Warfare community are brought together into the same room to tackle a specific problem,” said Capt. Erik Nelson, Sixteenth Air Force deputy branch chief, weapons and tactics. “Our Airmen have the knowledge and expertise to solve these difficult problems and IW WEPTAC provides the venue to gain advocacy at the highest levels of the Air Force.”

The IW experts ranged from information operations, weather, electronic warfare, public affairs, operations research, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, cyber and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.    

“IW WEPTAC presented a unique opportunity for the participants to learn about IW functions that don’t regularly integrate,” said Capt. Johnny Freeman, U.S. Air Force Weapons School instructor. “Even Airmen from the same career but working under different commands were able to share knowledge and lessons learned from the way they did business in their respective areas of responsibility.”

This year’s working groups focused on prioritizing non-kinetic targets in armed conflict, baselining the information environment, and IW Force Packaging.
The groups teamed up to develop “non-materiel” solutions by using existing tools and capabilities in more effective ways to solve these difficult problems. 

“IW is comprised of a diverse umbrella of specialties,” Freeman said. “IW WEPTAC brought experts from those disparate fields into one room and we were able to provide unique solutions to the problems presented to us by our near peer adversaries. I really believe the work accomplished makes us more effective and ensures the Air Force doesn't get complacent by continuing to evolve and improve to meet the emerging global challenges.”

Science and technology representatives from Clemson University and Air Force Research Lab also attended the conference to discuss emerging IW obstacles and provide their perspective to the groups and their ongoing IW projects.
Information gained at this WEPTAC eventually turns into policy, just as past WEPTAC outcomes created Air Force IW doctrine. This conference is a continuous process to mature IW, a Sixteenth Air Force priority.

“The work doesn't end when the conference ends, we [Sixteenth Air Force Weapons and Tactics Branch] do our part to ensure these ideas are exercised, documented and disseminated throughout the force,” Nelson said.  “The participants have also made new connections that will undoubtedly lead to integration opportunities over the next year and beyond.”