Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

Air Force Establishes Significant Evolution in Foreign Area Officer Career Field

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021


The Department of the Air Force announced Jan. 15, the opportunity for U.S. Air Force officers to voluntarily transfer into an internationally-focused core career field beginning spring 2021.

Since 2005, the Foreign Area Officer program has organized and trained select Air Force officers to be language-enabled, culturally astute, and operationally relevant regional experts.

More than 800 officers are currently certified as FAOs, filling a critical role in providing essential support to the National Defense Strategy by engaging foreign military leaders and government officials to build partner capability and capacity.

The restructuring of the FAO program is part of the Air Force’s broader reorientation toward great power competition. The recommendation that emerged from an Air Force cross-functional team’s year-long study was to establish the FAO career field as a strategic core career field while retaining operational relevance.

Until now, the Air Force FAO program operated as a secondary career field, alternating assignments between FAO and the officer’s core Air Force specialty code, or AFSC. This presented a key challenge in managing FAOs as strategic assets.

“Focusing FAO development on International Airmen skills and experiences, rather than challenging officers to hit milestones in two career fields, is more important than ever to increase awareness in our current strategic context with both our allies and partners and in the joint community,” said Kelli Seybolt, deputy under secretary of the Air Force, international affairs.

This strategic core career field will now be a Secretary of the Air Force International Affairs-managed AFSC, 16F or 16Z, to better cultivate professional development with a strategic international perspective. Within this new core AFSC, FAOs will be poised for more efficient utilization to meet Air Force strategic needs and will compete for promotion advancement within a single developmental category of professional FAO peers.

Continued operational relevance will be achieved through “FAO-minded” Intervening Operational Tours in each FAO’s original AFSC that sustains the various operational skillsets of each specialty and enhances Air Force strategic international engagement interests within those fields. It presents an increased return on FAO investment to provide deepened regional expertise and requires less in terms of training, sustainment, and manpower to support FAO development. Restructure of the FAO program, and increased primary emphasis in FAO development, will reduce the required inventory for FAOs from other AFSCs by approximately 30%.

“The United States Air Force FAO career field has been improving tremendously over the past decade,” stated Col. Lawrence E. Pravecek, FAO career field manager. “With the changes in the officer promotion system, now is the perfect time to take the next step in managing the development of our international experts. The choice to request transfer into the FAO Core AFSC will be a personal decision. All of us volunteered to serve, and now we ask for volunteers to help build a new AFSC that is tailor-made to provide the internationally-minded officers that our nation needs.”

For those already certified as FAOs or in the FAO training pipeline, applications for transfer to 16F or 16Z as their new core AFSC will begin early 2021. At that time, all eligible personnel will receive a direct email from the Air Force Personnel Center announcing the opening of the application window and providing directions to submit their applications online. FAOs who do not volunteer to transfer will remain in their current AFSC, while maintaining 16F as a secondary AFSC.

Air Force Reserve Component members will be notified by the AF Reserve or Air National Guard regarding ARC-specific processes. For questions/feedback, send email to the FAO Program Workflow Box at [email protected].

For FAO resources, visit www.milsuite.mil/book.groups/air-force-ias.

For ARC programs, visit www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/arc-international-affairs-specialist-program.

By Jill Marie Diem, Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs

This Is My Squad: Forging Leadership Skills Through the Squad Leader Development Course

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

“This Is My Squad,” an initiative of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston, aims to build more cohesive units across the Army and empower noncommissioned officers with the leadership skills to anticipate issues and address them early on. The Army Resilience Directorate’s contribution to TIMS is the Squad Leader Development Course, which aims to advance this initiative by giving squad leaders the opportunity to critically reflect on their leadership style and learn to employ evidence-based leadership skills. Leaders who understand their leadership philosophy, know their Soldiers, and live the Army Values can forge cohesive Army units that are strong and resilient in the face of any challenge.

SLDC facilitators will guide squad leaders to craft their personal leadership philosophy focusing on the areas of commitment, trust, and developing others. A personal leadership philosophy can increase leader consistency and effectiveness. It provides a plan for value-based action, which can be particularly helpful in challenging moments or at tough decision points. A personal leadership philosophy, particularly when shared with others, can improve relationships. It allows others to understand a leader’s values, priorities, approach to decision-making, and expectations. During this two-day course, squad leaders discuss doctrine from Army Doctrine Publication 6-22 and research from the field of human performance, organizational psychology, and positive psychology to highlight the impact and importance of squad-level leadership behaviors. During the course, Soldiers discuss effective leader behaviors in different components of leadership to include character, motivation, trust, and developing others. The intent of the course is to motivate students to identify, adopt, and internalize leadership behaviors outlined in doctrine and supported by research. R2 Performance Experts delivered SLDC as a pilot from Dec. 1-2 to 24 squad leaders that make up Grinston’s TIMS Leadership Panel. On Dec. 3, the TLP provided feedback to R2’s Curriculum Development Team on the course content and design so organizers can make improvements before making the course available to all squad leaders.

ARD requested that the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research conduct a longitudinal evaluation of SLDC to determine the effectiveness of the training in improving squad leader knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that foster unit trust and exemplify ethical leadership. In partnership with R2 Performance Experts at Fort Riley, Kansas, it is anticipated that SLDC will be delivered to squad leaders with the 1st Infantry Division in March 2021. Half of the participating squad leaders will be randomized to receive SLDC training as part of the evaluation. The other half will be assigned to a wait-list control group to receive training following the completion of the evaluation. Soldiers receiving SLDC will complete surveys before training, following training, and at follow-ups scheduled over two months after the training. Surveys are designed to assess Soldier’s pre-training knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and offer Soldiers the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the training.

By Piers Kowalski, Laura Kirschner, Ian Gutierrez, and Susannah Knust, Ph.D., Army Resilience Directorate

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Down Time Books

Sunday, January 10th, 2021

I wanted to give everyone some things to do during your downtime. I have talked about military movies in the past, so I thought books would be the next best thing to cover. I have always been a firm believer in trying to learn new things. I believe during downtime; you should be doing what you can to improve wherever you can. I had an old C.O. that use to say, “always improve your fighting position.” He meant that you might think you are good, but you can always be better. Uses downtime to improve yourself. You can take a dive COI online or read about different things that might help you. There used to be a time you would have to take books with you on deployment to give you something to do when you were not working. I have always tried to read books about military history as I think you can still learn from the past. Here are some books in no order, but The Element of Surprise by Darryl Young is one of my favorites. There are many SEAL Vietnam books, and this was the first one I read and the one I like the most. I had more on here, but I cut it back. I took books out that are also movies, like Band of Brothers, Black Hawk Down, and We were Soldiers. As I am sure you know, you will get more from the book than from the movie. I also left out the books I know everyone has read or knows about or says they have read, like Sun Tzu, many people love to say they have read that book.  

The Element of Surprise by Darryl Young

Journals of Robert Rogers of the Rangers by Robert Rogers

Inside the V.C. and the NVA by Michael Lanning and Dan Cragg

On War by Carl von Clausewitz

Attack by Erwin Rommel

On Guerrilla Warfare: Mao Tse-tung

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

The Liberator by Alex Kershaw

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

Stormtrooper Tactics: Innovation in the German Army by Bruce Gudmundsson

The One that Got Away by Chris Ryan

The Odd Angry Shot by William Nagle and Paul Ham

Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, by Malcolm McConnell

My Commando Operations by Otto Skorzeny

Commando: Special Forces in World War II by Kenneth Macksey

American Commando: Evans Carlson, His Marine Raiders by John F. Wukovits

Striking Back: A Jewish Commando’s War Against the Nazis by Peter Masters

The Water is Never Cold: The Origins of U.S. Naval Combat Demolition Units, UDTs, and SEALs. by James Odell

We Few U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam by Nick Brokhausen

The Swamp Fox How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution by John Oller

The Jedburghs The Secret History of the Allied Special Forces by Will Irwin 

SOG The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John Plaster

Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimons

Never in Finer Company the Men of the Great War’s Lost Battalion by Edward G. Lengel

Brandenburg Division – Commandos of the Reich by Eric Lefevre

Bush War Operator by A.J. Balaam

Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, by John Smith

German Combat Divers in World War II by Michael Jung

Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941: A Navy Diver’s Memoir by Edward C. Raymer

Soldier Five, The Real Truth About the Bravo Two Zero Mission by Mike Coburn

SAS: Secret War in South East Asia by Peter Dickens

The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan by Lester W. Grau,

Tribe: Sebastian Junger

The Last 100 Yards the NCO contribution to Warfare: by H.J. Pool


‘When Failure Thrives – Institutions And The Evolution Of Postwar Airborne Forces’

Saturday, January 9th, 2021

Published in 2015, ‘When Failure Thrives – Institutions And The Evolution Of Postwar Airborne Forces‘ was the first imprint from Army Press.

Author Marc R Devore examines the post-1945 evolution of airborne forces the US, UK and USSR have ever accomplished their objectives at an acceptable cost.

Go ahead and read it, the arguments are always the same either way, but it’s worth knowing what gets put in from of decision makers.

Thanks to Mud!

Ten Weeks in Thailand: 1st SFG(A) Green Beret is First US Soldier to Complete Royal Thai Army’s Ranger School

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Wearing Royal Thai Army (RTA) fatigues and black leather boots, a U.S. Army Green Beret wades waist deep through a swamp carrying a heavy rucksack and an old-fashioned Mannlicher M1888 bolt-action rifle. With soaked feet and pain spreading through tired muscles, there are still miles left to trudge.

The night prior, he slept an hour because of a successful patrol in the swamps. On nights where the patrols are unsatisfactory, he’s lucky for a half hour of uninterrupted sleep in the quagmire. Twenty-two hours out of the day are devoted to patrolling.

The other 72 days of the RTA Ranger School are just as relentless. Earning the Royal Thai Army Ranger Badge is a grueling effort, but high attrition rates are unusual for the course. The candidates rely on one another to push each other through to the end, whether it means carrying another’s rucksack for five weeks due to a broken ankle or a quick nudge to awaken a tired teammate. From Oct. 17 to Dec. 29, 2020, a Green Beret with 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) attended the RTA’s Ranger School in the Kingdom of Thailand and earned the Thai Ranger Badge along with recognition as the course’s distinguished graduate.

Furthermore, he became the first U.S. servicemember to attend in more than 40 years, and the first to graduate the course in its modern form. Life changing is what Ranger School is, the Green Beret said. You can’t write or call your family back home; here, your family are your brothers and instructors.

The Green Beret was recognized as a valued teammate whom instructors came to rely on. As the course progressed, instructors placed him in key positions to facilitate the successful completion of missions within his platoon.

“It’s a lifetime bond here,” he said. “I will always remember these guys and I will always keep in contact with them. It’s like brother-to-brother mentorship.”

Ranger School consists of different phases: mountain, forest, swamp, maritime and urban combat. In each phase, a candidate is assessed on the positions of squad or platoon leader, medic, pace man and map, and compass man.

“As a Green Beret, we’re supposed to be masters of the basics,” the Green Beret said. “This course took me back to the basics. For instance, navigating off one map per platoon…In an [Operational Detachment Alpha], you have eight maps plus GPS.”

To pass RTA Ranger School, you must compose operations orders and lead squad or platoon-sized elements on missions. All interactions between teammates and instructors are in Thai.

“You have to be fluent in this language,” he said. “The instructors don’t speak English and there are no translators here.”

As well as being fluent in Thai, the Green Beret is U.S. Army Ranger qualified and drew a contrast between U.S. and RTA Ranger Schools. In U.S. Army Ranger School, a severe enough injury would result in a medical drop from the course, he said. At Thai Ranger School, instructors encourage Ranger Buddies to help one another by shouldering the weight of an injured soldier.

The course was comprised of students from U.S. Army Special Forces, Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Police, Royal King’s Guards, and the Royal Thai Special Mission Unit. Of the 198 who started the course, 187 graduated.

According to the award write up given by the RTA, the Green Beret’s conduct demonstrates the value the U.S. Army places on equal partnership in support of the U.S.-Thai alliance. His performance set the example for future U.S. Army attendees to the RTA’s Ranger School.

“It’s not so much what he gives to my formation, but what he gives to our entire force at-large in that he is a tactical and cultural diplomat for our country and Army,” said the Soldier’s Company Commander from 1st SFG (A). “The skills that he comes back with and the relationships he forged while there will better prepare both countries to operate with each other for our mutual defense.”

Story by SGT Anthony Bryant, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)

USAF Issues New Physical Fitness Program Manual Which Includes Waist Measurement, Four Days After Eliminating Waist Measurement From Assessment

Monday, January 4th, 2021

Nothing could be more 2020 than the Air Force publishing a new version of AF Manual 36-2905 “Air Force Physical Fitness Program” on 11 December with a four component test, just four days after fundamentally changing the program by issuing guidance to eliminate the waist measurement component.

The test will still consist of a 1.5 mile run, 1 minute of pushups and 1 minute of situps. However, the composite score will be calculated with full points for the waist measurement portion until system changes can be made.

On the upside, the AFMAN is only 77 pages instead of the 147 pages in the old Air Force Instruction issued in 2013. Hopefully, it won’t take another seven years to update the latest, outdated guidance.

Royal Air Force Officer Brings Skills to Moody AFB

Thursday, December 31st, 2020


After nearly 14 years of service in the Royal Air Force, Flight Lieutenant Chris Bradshaw has traveled 4,300 miles from the Force Protection Force of the RAF Regiment to share his expertise with the 820th Base Defense Group at Moody Air Force Base.

As part of a larger exchange program between the RAF and U.S. Air Force that encompasses positions from the Pentagon down, Bradshaw currently holds the position of director of operations at the 824th BDS.

“The relationship that the Royal Air Force has had with the base defense group is longstanding because we are likely to operate together,” Bradshaw said. “Every year there is a tri-service exercise between the U.K., the French and the Americans. The position here is to help develop that exercising program to make sure relationships are maintained and that we can be interoperable as we move forward into next-generation warfare.”

The position is filled on a volunteer basis. Applicants volunteered about a year and a half early and the RAF chose from that list. After being chosen, Bradshaw still had to complete a number of tasks to secure his position in the 820th BDG.

“I’ve moved over my family as well,” Bradshaw said. “So to bring my wife, who is an active-duty Royal Air Force officer and my son – that was a bit more tricky, (but) fortunately, the (Royal) Air Force managed to give her a three-year career break. We had to jump through that hoop initially to make sure we could continue on the process.

“Then, it was all the visa applications, making sure that I came out here and got to meet who I was going to work for. Then, it was just bouncing back and forth to sort out schooling and education for my son. There was a lot, but it’s been worth it.”

The Force Protection Force’s role is to mitigate vulnerabilities and ensure end-to-end protection of air and space power, at home or deployed. Bradshaw previously worked in Train Advise Assist Command – Air, in the air-to-ground role as a joint terminal attack controller.

“(A few years ago), that’s what I did for (about) four and a half years,” Bradshaw said. “Having that experience and then working for the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing, I understand what they’re talking about because I speak the language, too.

“I became the director of operations for the 824th BDS because they wanted to plug-and-play some experience of mine. I’ll sit in that position for 18 months. Then, the plan is to move up to the group where I’ll conduct work directly for the colonel in an area of his choosing.”

Bradshaw isn’t the only one bringing unique opportunities to the table. The BDG offers multiple capabilities such as air assault, airborne, ranger and jungle courses that Bradshaw will be able to participate in and learn from.

“That will be good for me operating as an entity on the ground, protecting and defending our RAF assets and infrastructure,” Bradshaw said. “To have that link would be quite beneficial. I’m not going to get the opportunity again and I need to prove the concept for future exchange personnel that it’s open; the door is there. You need to step in and jump out.”

The tactical skills Bradshaw has and will have learned are not the only things he’s taking away from his time with the BDG. Bradshaw says his favorite experience from the program has been seeing people from diverse backgrounds and he’s looking forward to meeting more as he moves to new positions.

“The U.S. is so huge compared to the U.K. that even at the squadron level, you’ve got people from so many different backgrounds, so many different life hurdles and obstacles they’ve had to overcome, that the breadth of individual is vast,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve been extremely well integrated, well looked-after. Everyone is extremely friendly. I still get treated equally, which is as expected.

“It’s been a big change for us having to come across to make this leap, but it’s been made easier by that fact that people have been so welcoming.”

By SrA Hayden Legg and A1C Taryn Butler, 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Future Warfare Writing Program at Army University Press

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

Generally, works of fiction about the future are considered science fiction and allow us to look at current issues by placing our minds in a “what-if?” environment. In some cases, science fiction is also used as a wargaming tool to consider what might be.

Army University Press sponsors a Future Warfare Writing Program – program which is worth checking out.

They offer both Fiction and Nonfiction versions of the program where would-be futurists take a look at trends in Warfighting.

Complex [environment] is defined as an environment that is not only unknown, but unknowable and constantly changing. The Army cannot predict who it will fight, where it will fight, and with what coalition it will fight.

TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1; The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World 2020-2040, 31 October 2014

Although it’s a few years old, the U.S. Army TRADOC Mad Scientist Initiative is my favorite.

Everything is available at www.armyupress.army.mil/Special-Topics/Future-Warfare-Writing-Program.