Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

AFSOC’s Second Summit Tackles How to Instill Mission Command

Saturday, June 3rd, 2023


Air Force Special Operations Command’s second Mission Command Summit concluded its three-day event on May 18 with the goal to generate how to instill a culture of mission command across the formation.

During the first summit, the team developed the philosophy of mission command which empowers our commanders and subordinates to execute assigned missions using some or all of the seven joint functions. Those missions are assigned by commanders via mission-type orders that ultimately enable subordinates to operate competently and confidently.

This summit provided an opportunity to connect key stakeholders from DAF, joint and ally counterparts to have candid conversations about the vision for mission command in AFSOC’s new force presentation construct. 

“Our future operating environment looks very different than how we’ve fought over the last three decades and our adversaries have been paying attention to that,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, AFSOC commander who provided opening remarks for the summit. “We’ve become on reliant on our global reach, active FOBs (forward operating bases) and centralized command/decentralized execution. For us to be successful, we need to shift our focus to the control piece, which is mission command.”

He expanded on the “how” and laid out the aspects that surround mission command: mutual trust built through exercises, ensuring clear commander’s intent, having an aggressive but disciplined mindset, a higher tolerance for risk and building competence.

“Developing mission command across our command will take more than writing doctrine or policy,” said Bauernfeind. “This is why we’ve established the headquarters A7 and are establishing the Air Commando Development Center this summer. This will allow us to focus that energy to synchronize and coordinate the training, education, exercising and experimentation that are required to develop the competence around mission command. And competence leads to the first aspect of mission command, mutual trust.”

This is yet another change AFSOC is tackling to prepare Air Commandos for the future operating environment. The command has been a pathfinder for the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr.’s five drivers for change across the force: AF Force Generation, Agile Combat Employment, Multi-capable Airmen, wing A-staff implementation and now, mission command.

Moving forward, the 492 Special Operations Training Group and A7 are outlining actions and owners for the identified barriers to normalize mission command in AFSOC formations and updating the Mission Command Toolkit to rollout the next version at Commando Rally scheduled for June 2023.

“There’s no denying that this is a heavy developmental effort across the Air Force, but here in AFSOC, we’re up for the task,” said Bauernfeind.

By 2nd Lt Cassandra Saphore, AFSOC Public Affairs

AirLand Battle Emerges: Field Manual 100—5 Operations, 1982 and 1986 Editions: TRADOC 50th Anniversary Series

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s 50th anniversary is July 1, 2023. In celebration, the TRADOC Communication Directorate in collaboration with the TRADOC Military History and Heritage Office, is sharing an article series highlighting key moments in TRADOC’s history to include the evolution of training, AirLand Battle, and gender integration.

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – In 1976, TRADOC distributed 176,000 copies of the new Field Manual 100—5 Operations. This massive publication and dissemination effort marked but one of Gen. William E. DePuy’s, TRADOC’s first commanding general, purposes for the manual—to drive rapid change throughout an Army confronting an upgraded Soviet threat in Europe and contending with the aftermath of the long Vietnam War. Fresh doctrine, Depuy reasoned, would serve as a guidon for the Army, shaping everything it did, from training and education, to developing leaders and new equipment. Another no less significant purpose was to provide Soldiers with clear and practical guidance on how to fight and win on the modern battlefield against a peer opponent.

However, significant criticisms of Depuy’s brainchild emerged almost as soon as the last manual left the presses. First, many assessed that it prioritized defensive operations; the chapter on defense was indeed more robust than the one tackling the offense. Consequently, the term Active Defense quickly emerged as a shorthand reference for the manual. Second, the manual stressed the science of the application of modern firepower and force ratios, ignoring, some argued, the fundamental human element in warfare. Third, others contended the doctrine focused too narrowly on the Western European battlefield to the detriment of other forms of conflict across the spectrum of war. Finally, operational commanders worried that, in concentrating on tactical combat at the forward edge of the battle area, the manual neglected a key element of Soviet doctrine—that of echeloning forces in depth to maintain the momentum of any attack. This emphasis might commit U.S. Army ground forces to an attritional fight they could not win. Whatever their specific objections, all critics agreed with Depuy that future success started with 100—5, the Army’s capstone field manual, and that 100—5 should direct the force in all that it did.

A series of TRADOC commanders—Gen. Donn A. Starry (1977-1981), Gen. Glenn K. Otis (1981-1983), and Gen. William R. Richardson (1983-1986)—took up the challenge and led the effort to revise the 1976 document, culminating in two new Operations manuals that appeared in 1982 and 1986 respectively. Their sustained, consistent, and collective efforts saw not just revised doctrine, but the development of training and the fielding of equipment to make the doctrine work in practice.

Taken together, the 1982 and 1986 editions of FM 100—5 addressed the perceived weaknesses of the earlier manual. For example, they introduced a concept, dubbed AirLand Battle, that dealt with the problem of Soviet offensive doctrine by emphasizing attacking throughout the depth of the battlespace through synchronized effort across the joint force. While the Army primarily managed the frontline fight, the Air Force (mainly) as well as Army attack aviation and long-range fires would attrite and disrupt second echelon Soviet forces. Furthermore, the new doctrine highlighted the value of maneuver and aggressive action with both local and deep counterattacks serving to shock adversaries and enhance the morale of Soldiers, who would now hit back as well as defend.

Although thankfully never tested in Western Europe, the TRADOC-led effort to transform Army doctrine and the force in tandem with it contributed directly to success in the Gulf War of 1990-1991. Echoes may also be heard today in the Army’s current multidomain operations concept.

By Courtesy, TRADOC Military History and Heritage Office

AFSOC Conducts First-Ever Command Chief Change of Responsibility Ceremony

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023


During a first-ever Air Force Major Command Change of Responsibility ceremony, Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Green assumed Command Chief responsibilities for Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., May 19.

Taking the colors from Chief Master Sgt. Cory Olson, Green became the 11th command chief of AFSOC which boasts approximately 22,000 total force and civilian Air Commandos worldwide.
AFSOC commander, Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind presided over the ceremony.

“Command Chief Olson’s warfighting mindset, his sound guidance and his wisdom advanced this command for the future,” said Bauernfeind. “Command Chief Green is absolutely the right leader to manage and accelerate the change necessary to evolve Air Force Special Operations Command for the future.”

Change of Responsibility ceremonies are a standard within the joint community, but this was the first for an Air Force Major Command. Bauernfeind directed the holding of the ceremony to highlight the critical role of the senior enlisted leader in mission success.

Green spoke on the meaning of the title worn by the Airmen of AFSOC, “Air Commandos.”

“[The meaning of Air Commando] is not the planes. It’s not the cool kits,” said Green. “It’s what we’re called to do. It’s the mission. It’s the people. It’s the team.”

Among the attendance of roughly 250 individuals were notable guests such as Deputy Chief for Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Joanne Bass, and U.S. Special Operations Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Army Command Sergeant Major Shane Shorter.

Green entered the Air Force in September 1995. His background includes positions as an instructor and maintenance technician on the C-130 and various other non-standard aircraft. Throughout his career he has filled numerous roles including Flying Crew Chief, Combat Aviation Advisor, Maintenance Superintendent, and Senior Enlisted Advisor. 

By SSgt Caleb Pavao

AFSOC Establishes New Directorate: A7 Air Commando Development

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023


On April 25, Air Force Special Operations Command established the Air Commando Development Directorate, also known as the A7, that will lead the way America’s Air Commando’s deliberately train, exercise, experience, and educate to prepare, prevent, and prevail in competition.

This new directorate is aimed at providing policy, oversight, and guidance to support the Command’s collective training, readying Air Commando’s to win.

“We have a no-fail mission to ensure America’s Air Commandos are Ready to Fight Tonight,” said Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, AFSOC commander. “The A7 will serve as the AFSOC HQ Champion to ensure prioritization and integration of training, education, exercises and experiences for the command as we evolve to a new force presentation model.” 

Col. Eries L.G. Mentzer will serve as the first AFSOC/A7, Air Commando Development director and CMSgt Jeremiah Clark as the senior enlisted leader. The new directorate is the key integrator for the headquarters staff and will also closely collaborate with Headquarters Air Force and USSOCOM counterparts, as well as AETC, SOF partners, and allies to maximize knowledge sharing and leverage best practices.

“As the command broadens from decades of success countering violent extremism and organically gaining experience and building relationship through high ops tempo deployments, the A7 and Air Commando Development Center will orient Air Commandos to the evolved force presentation model, strengthened though integrated training and exercise experiences in a mission command culture,” said Mentzer.

In response to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. “CQ” Brown’s cultural change areas, the A7 is also leading the command’s pivot to a Mission Command culture.  In partnership with joint counterparts and the LeMay Center, A7 will host the second Mission Command Summit, from 16-18 May, at Hurlburt Field to identify barriers to Mission Command in AFSOC formations.

The execution arm for the A7 will be the Air Commando Development Center, which is scheduled for activation on July 14 at Hurlburt Field.  The center will be comprised of units focused on education, training, and exercise integration executed by the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, the 371st Special Operations Combat Training Squadron, and the 370th Special Operations Combat Training Squadron.

By Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

19th SFS Implements New ACE Training Course

Monday, May 15th, 2023


The 19th Security Forces Squadron recently implemented a new 30-day training program to equip defenders with the foundational skills and knowledge to counter peer adversaries, ensure security in an Agile Combat Employment environment and develop leadership qualities as valuable multi-capable Airmen.

The locally designed program, known as Agile Combat Employment and Leadership for Multi-Capable Airmen, was implemented in the squadron to reteach and emphasize the basics of air base ground defense and help train for atypical missions.

Defenders were able to expand their knowledge on dismounted operations and tactics and conduct by-law training, which teaches and evaluates use of non-lethal weapons for de-escalation, to demonstrate mission readiness in a contested environment and at home station.

“The main goal of this program is to better the capability of our defenders by honing in on close-quarters battle tactics and focusing on doing things to help out our adjacent forces, such as explosive ordnance disposal, medical and other career fields,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Jackson, 19th SFS training instructor.

During the course, Airmen went through scenarios where they practiced security and troop-leading procedures while demonstrating base defense principles, force protection measures and multi-domain awareness.

ACE-LMC is an improved and revised program that was constructed from a previous week-long program called Horse Blanket.

“Horse Blanket was beneficial, but it only focused on by-law training and not much on dismounted operations,” Jackson said. “ACE-LMC helps us practice more on our skills and become more agile in order to be ready for tomorrow’s fight.”

Throughout the course, Airmen practiced active threat response in ready training areas, basic communications, chemical biological radiological and nuclear training, comprehensive Airmen fitness, integrated defense, small arms and tactical combat casualty care.

The 30-day training course culminated in a 12-hour field training exercise where defenders spent the night in a simulated contested environment, drilled securing and assuming control over an airfield and practiced various scenarios relating to air base ground defense.

As an instructor, Jackson gives defenders skillset repetitions that can be used in future operations and empowers Airmen at all levels with the opportunity to lead and train in a contested environment.

“My role as the lead instructor for the course is to motivate and bring the intensity back into our career field,” Jackson said. “We are trying to get Airmen out of their comfort zones and make sure that they are able to carry out the mission anytime and anywhere.”

The ACE-LMC program has successfully introduced critical training into the squadron, aiding in the development of mission-ready Airmen. All defenders are able to benefit from the course, whether they are fresh out of technical training or they have been in the unit for a while.

“As an Airman who just graduated from tech school not too long ago, ACE-LMC has been a refresher and I am able to enhance my skills,” said Airman 1st Class Angel Sacta Espinoza, 19th SFS main entry controller. “It really makes us think outside the box and realize that this is preparing us for future conflict against our adversaries. We are touching on stuff we don’t really perform day to day.”

Although ACE-LMC is currently only available to security forces members, Jackson said his hope is for Airmen from other career fields to be able to experience this training in the future.

“We are trying to integrate adjacent career fields to join in the course as well in order for them to gain familiarization on skills that could help them during a situation not related to their job,” Jackson said. “We want to make it bigger and better every time, and every day we learn something new and different in order to improve the course.”

By Airman 1st Class Maria Umanzor Guzman, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

AFSOC Implements Wing-Level A-staffs, Breaks Down Bureaucratic Barriers and Increases Readiness

Thursday, May 4th, 2023


Five wings assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command implemented the new wing air staff (A-staff) structure on March 30, 2023.

This change has been in the works since the 2021 CORONA Conference when Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown Jr. approved a redesign of the wing headquarters that adds a functional staff to an existing wing headquarter staff. The A-staff is designed to break down bureaucratic barriers, improve speed and quality of decision making, allow better alignment with higher headquarters and grow leaders needed for Great Power Competition.

“By reorganizing wing staffs, we streamline authoritative actions and processes throughout the chain of command,” said Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, AFSOC Director of Operations (A3). “This new structure alleviates the administrative burden at the squadron level allowing them to focus on the mission.”

Each wing within AFSOC is organized with an A-staff that best suits their mission set, which includes:

A1 – Manpower, Personnel, and Services  

A2 – Intelligence                                  

A3 – Operations  

A4 – Logistics, Engineering & Force Protection

A5 – Plans & Requirements 

A6 – Communications  

Wing Staff Agencies – such as Public Affairs, History, Chaplain, JAG Corps, Inspector General, etc., transition to Special Staff in the A-staff model.

Ultimately, Airmen are exposed to the wing A-staff and their processes earlier in their careers, making them better prepared for operating within joint organizations.

“Prior to this change, Airmen were arriving to headquarters assignments and joint deployments without a good or even general understanding of how a numbered staff functions,” said Col. Christopher Busque, AFSOC Director of Manpower, Personnel and Services (A1). “This new structure addresses that concern by allowing Airmen to gain exposure to the A-staff construct earlier on in their careers.”

The transitioning AFSOC wings are expected to meet full operational capability of the A-staff implementation by early FY24.

By 2nd Lt Cassandra Saphore

Effective June 1, First Term Airmen Can Retrain into AFSCs Under 90% Manning in Lieu of Separation

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023


The Air Force is changing the process of how First Term Airmen can retrain to provide additional opportunities for Airmen to stay in uniform instead of separating.

Effective June 1, all FTA can retrain into any Air Force Specialty Code they qualify for that is under 90% manned prior to separation, even if their current AFSC is below 90% manned.

Qualified Airmen must be within their retaining window and meet medical, Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory standards, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score and physical fitness standards to be approved.

“Glad to see us make this change as it relates to retraining opportunities for the force,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. “Providing these opportunities for our Airmen helps us keep talent on the bench. While this particular change impacts First Term Airmen, expect to see more initiatives like this as we evolve our policies and talent management to focus on the force of the future and building the Air Force our nation needs.”

Additionally, the FTA Retaining Selection Board is also no longer required during the retraining application process. This removes the racking-and-stacking retraining application process based on the number of quotas needed for a more streamlined ‘first in, first out’ process. Phase 1 FTA retraining quotas will be open to all FTAs entering their retraining window during Fiscal Year 2024.

The Exception to Policy will be reassessed June 1, 2024, unless it is rescinded earlier.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

U.S. Military Academy at West Point Defends Title at SIG Relentless Warrior Championship

Monday, May 1st, 2023

NEWINGTON, N.H., (April 28, 2023) – SIG SAUER, Inc. is honored to announce the conclusion of the Fourth Annual SIG Relentless Warrior Championship. On Friday, April 7 through Saturday, April 8, 2023, over one hundred cadets from the United States Air Force Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Military Academy at West Point, Norwich University, Texas A & M, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech and the Royal Military College of Canada competed in the SIG Relentless Warrior Championship at the SIG SAUER Academy in Epping, New Hampshire. The course of fire consisted of six mission stages that tested the marksmanship and leadership skills of our future military leaders. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point Combat Weapons Team defended their title for the third year in a row to earn the honor of 2023 SIG Relentless Warrior Champion.

“The SIG SAUER Relentless Warrior Championship serves as the capstone event for our club’s training throughout the year.  It provides a unique test of shooting ability, physical agility, and problem-solving while engaging with peers from other service academies, senior ROTC programs, and allied nations. SIG’s superb facilities and world-class staff make this an unforgettable experience,” said MAJ Sean Marquis – OIC of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Combat Weapons Team.

“The goal of the Combat Weapons Team is to develop highly proficient shooters, leaders, and instructors. From the moment a cadet joins the team, they begin an immersion into understanding firearms, the principles of marksmanship, physical fitness, mindset, combat shooting, accuracy, speed, and tactics. This cross-training of disciplines helps mold them into amazing tactical and competitive shooters,” continued Gary Salman, Head Coach, U.S. Military Academy at West Point Combat Weapons Team.  “Every new season, we train with the intention of embracing the SIG Relentless Warrior mindset. This mindset helps instill the goals we have as a cohesive team. I am so proud of the accomplishments of our entire team, especially some of our new members who have never participated in a competition before. Thank you to SIG for providing this amazing opportunity to compete and bring together so many like-minded individuals who may someday be fighting side by side.”

Additional top awards for the SIG Relentless Warrior Championship are as follows:

Top Gun: Leon Ward, U.S. Military Academy at West Point

High Lady: Uta Givens, U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Top Shot: Awarded to the best shooter from each participating school:

U.S. Air Force Academy: Jeremy Kappel

U.S. Coast Guard Academy: Thomas Hughes Gill

U.S. Naval Academy: Jaimeson Hamsho

U.S. Military Academy at West Point: Leon Ward

Norwich University: Ryan Cranston

Texas A&M: Chance De Vos

Virginia Military Institute: Kevin Ryan

Virginia Polytechnic Institute: Christopher Campione

Royal Military College of Canada: Samuel Payne

“It’s an honor for SIG to host the SIG SAUER Relentless Warrior Championship and provide this opportunity for the cadets to compete and come together as they prepare to lead and serve our country and defend our freedoms,” concluded Tom Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales, SIG SAUER, Inc.