Expeditionary leader development: training and development.
There are numerous initiatives to ensure we now grow mission support group (MSG) commanders, as well as other combat support (CS) colonels, to command and control (C2) in an expeditionary environment, both at and above wing level.
The MSG Commanders Course and the new Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) Executive Warrior Course will provide training for MSG commanders, potential expeditionary MSG commanders, and A-4s. Eagle Flag will provide the final field training exercise for CS personnel prior to their air and space expeditionary force (AEF) rotation and give them the opportunity to test their ability to open and establish an airbase and provide initial command and control. On the academic side, one of Air Command and Staff College's (ACSC) eight new specialized studies will provide an overview of Agile Combat Support for officers and civilians within and outside the ACS community. The Air Force Institute of Technology is revamping short courses to be in line with the new combat wing organization and logistics processes. Finally, the Advanced Logistics Readiness Officer Course will provide a special logistics expertise to the warfighter.
The following paragraphs describe these initiatives in greater detail.
* Eagle Flag, Air Mobility Warfare Center (AMWC), Ft Dix, New Jersey. Eagle Flag's mission is to exercise opening and establishing an airbase to initial operating capability and provide initial command and control. Air Force lessons learned indicate we can open and establish bases, but it is often on the backs of our great CS warriors, who learn as they go. Through a combination of doctrine (the Global Mobility Concept of Operations [CONOPS], ACS CONOPS, and training [Eagle Flag]), we can reduce the footprint for this mission while having a new airfield ready for mission forces in record time. Eagle Flag will consist of 29 functional areas. It is a 1-week, fully integrated field training exercise, with the first scheduled for 13 October 2003. Down the road, Eagle Flag may be expanded to be conducted in the Nevada desert and integrated into Red Flag, Blue Flag, or other operations and C2 exercises. Like its operations counterpart (Red Flag), Eagle Flag is an opportunity to open and establish a base in a learning environment before deploying. "A field-training exercise completes the [AEF preparatory] training by integrating all [combat support] specialties into one military operation striving toward a single mission" says Major General Timothy A. Peppe, special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force for AEF.
* MSG Commanders Course, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The Logistics Group Commander and Support Group Commander Courses have transitioned to Maintenance Group Commander and MSG Commanders Courses at Air University (AU). These courses traditionally have focused on peacetime and home-station issues. AU added expeditionary flavor to the MSG Commanders Course by providing experienced expeditionary commanders for panels, an ECS training session, and additional expeditionary focus from guest speakers.
* ECS Executive Warrior Course, AMWC, Ft Dix, New Jersey. This new course will stand up in January 2004 for potential expeditionary MSG (EMSG) commanders and A 4s to provide more extensive expeditionary training at the operational level of war. It consists of three parts: a mentor's bureau, a 1-week seminar, and a quick reference handbook. The mentor's bureau provides potential expeditionary group commanders and A-4s access to graduated counterparts for guidance. These mentors also may assist or sit on panels during the seminar, which will address hot topics, trends within combat support, and lessons learned. Topics would likely include the en route system, reachback supply, deployment preparation, and opening and establishing a base. The quick reference handbook provides information for the deployed group commander or A-4.
* Advanced Logistics Readiness Officer Course, AMWC, Ft Dix, New Jersey. This advanced course came from a Corona decision to create highly skilled operational logistics readiness officers competent in ACS command and control and experts on ACS and ECS processes. The course will provide warfighting commanders with officers who possess special expertise in the application of expeditionary logistics and the ability to leverage effects-based logistics to improve combat capability. The course will focus on the ACS processes of Ready the Force, Prepare the Battlespace, Position the Force, Employ the Force, Sustain the Force, and Recover the Force. The target audience will be fully qualified logistics readiness officer captains with 6-8 years of service. Those completing this course will be targeted for key positions in logistics readiness squadrons, wing combat support centers, A-4/A-5, air operations centers, regional supply squadrons, and other CSC2 nodes. They will be highly skilled logisticians capable of not only providing combat support to air expeditionary forces and warfighting commanders but also instructing unit level logistics officers and advising senior commanders. The first class is scheduled for February 2004.
* ACSC Agile Combat Support, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. At Corona Fall 2002, the Air Force adopted a new vision for deliberate personnel development, and in November 2002, the Chief of Staff released the force development construct. It is designed to link our education, training, experiences, promotions, and assignment policies and programs to force requirements and institutional needs. Currently, ACSC is approximately 10 months long with two semesters, focusing on international security; military studies; and leadership, command, and communications studies. The new ACSC course contains three modules. The first two are focused on strategy and airpower, leadership, and joint warfighting. The third will provide specialized studies, which will run for 7 weeks. Two weeks will focus on command, and the other five will be devoted to specialized professional development. Courses being developed for the specialized study program are Air and Space Power Employment, Plans and Programs, Acquisition Management, Political-Military Strategist, Space Operations, Mobility Operations, Information Operations, and Agile Combat Support. The audience of the ACS course is expected to consist of personnel from multiple Air Force specialty codes with follow-on assignments to an Air or Joint Staff within the ACS community or an assignment in a base-level maintenance support group, maintenance group, or wing staff. ACS CONOPS master processes will provide the outline for the course: Ready the Force, Prepare the Battlespace, Position the Force, Employ the Force, Sustain the Force, and Recover the Force. The curriculum will include expeditionary, as well as in-garrison, education. Case studies, classroom instruction, and field trips will round out the education.
As these programs are developed, processes are being put in place to ensure tactics, techniques, and procedures are updated; lessons learned are incorporated into training; and doctrine is continuously improved. The next push in the leadership pillar of DOTMLPF is to incorporate more CSC2 into exercises, wargames, and experimentation.
Major Hess chairs the ECS Training Working Group, consisting of ECS functional managers from the Air Staff She is assigned to the Planning, Doctrine, and Wargames Division, Directorate of Logistics Readiness, Air Force Installations and Logistics.