Since taking command in July 2016, Harrigian has led operations to defeat ISIS, including the liberation of Mosul and the ongoing struggle to liberate Raqqa and the remaining IS-held territory in Iraq and Syria.
“Crush the Islamic State,” he said. “Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind, this is what we do and this is what it is. “
According to Harrigian, part of the AFCENT mission accurately distributes 150 to 175 weapons per day with the support of targeting teams across the United States.
“We have to have an action that gets us going, solves our problems and ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about winning,” Harrigian said. “That’s what our airmen provide us with.
He detailed the operational complexities of the environment that coalition forces face on the ground on a daily basis.
Harrigian emphasized that the role of a leader in every mission is to provide guidance and intent, and then the Airmen execute the mission on the tactical side.
“It comes down to empowering our team. When I talk about empowerment, there is a trust factor, ”he said. “You are going to make a decision and I will support you.”
For the past 20 years, Airmen have used a seven-foot-wide whiteboard to monitor airspace. As technology progressed, aviators on the ground developed the oil tanker planning tool.
“[This tool] allowed them to focus on good quality mission planning, ”said Lt. Col. Enrique Oti, Experimental Director of the Defense Innovation Unit. “It changed the plan… they could use several different options and try out different scenarios. “
Harrigian explained how his team ensures air superiority and that the failure of this mission endangers the joint force while increasing the cost of victory against ISIS.
“At the end of the day, it’s about providing security and stability for those who have to live in this part of the world,” Harrigian said. “I am privileged to be part of this team. It was an experience, personally for me, unlike anything I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of, and I’m just a small part of a big winning team.