Air Force Drills Emphasize 'Expeditionary' Combat Skills

By Erwin, Sandra I. | National Defense, December 2004 | Go to article overview

Air Force Drills Emphasize 'Expeditionary' Combat Skills


Erwin, Sandra I., National Defense


Amid efforts to downsize its ranks, the U.S. Air Force is beginning to reorganize its training and education programs.

With the number of aircraft expected to shrink in the years ahead--particularly fighter jets--the service will require a different talent mix, and eventually will end up with fewer fighter pilots and more officers in other specialties considered more relevant to the war on terrorism, officials said.

The catchphrase that best captures the new emphasis in Air Force training programs is "expeditionary combat skills," said Gen. Donald G. Cook, head of the Air Education and Training Command.

The fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq during the past three years has compelled the Air Force to take a fresh look at how it trains recruits, as well as non-commissioned officers and commanding officers, explained Cook.

"We are taking lessons from the war to basic training, tech training, unit training and regional training centers. We have to define what skills our airmen need," he said. "Our challenge is developing a culture of expeditionary airmen."

Although the service began adapting its doctrine and tactics after the Cold War ended, it has yet to refocus its training programs to encourage more airmen and women to develop expertise in areas the Air Force needs, but are perceived as unglamorous. Neglected fields include information operations, space systems, logistics readiness, transportation, supply and maintenance.

"In reality, the Air Force we have today is more like our grandfathers' Army Air Corps than it was our father's Air Force," Cook said.

Underlying the revised approach to training is the expectation that the Air Force will get smaller. The extent of the downsizing, however, is not yet known, said Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper. The cutbacks mostly will affect airplanes, not necessarily service members, he told an Air Force Association symposium. "We will be smaller in equipment, but not that much smaller in people."

As more sophisticated fighter jets such as the F-35 and the F/A-22 enter service during the next decade, the Air Force will be retiring older airplanes in larger quantities than the number of new aircraft it will buy.

"We are replacing current aircraft with fewer aircraft that are more capable," Jumper said. "Typically, it takes three squadrons to make sure we can get two off the ground and deployed. What we want is an Air Force where you have three squadrons and all three can deploy anywhere."

Specialists in growth areas such as space, information operations, and command and control, increasingly will come from the reserves and the Air National Guard.

"There is an opportunity for the Guard and reserve to take advantage of technical school open seats in 2005," Cook said.

The Air Force Space Command, meanwhile, wants to see the service build a "space cadre" of professionals who will be trained to manage complex systems. This career field won't be restricted to commissioned officers, Cook said.

"When we first started flying global positioning system satellites, it was all contractors and lieutenants and captains on the floor," he said. "Today, it is senior airmen. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some opportunities for the right (enlisted) people to get the right jobs."

Flight schools will see fewer active-duty pilots and more "combat systems officers," said Cook.

"We have for too long in the Air Force undervalued the potential and the capability of our navigators," he said. Unlike the Air Force, the U.S. Navy promotes naval flight officers to three-star and two-star rank. "Why? Because early in their Navy careers, they get opportunities to lead, manage, use judgment and make decisions of responsibility."

The combat systems officer will be a new career field in the Air Force, Cook noted. "We take the former navigator career field and we combine it with weapon system officer, electronic warfare officer, and you go through one fundamental training program. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Air Force Drills Emphasize 'Expeditionary' Combat Skills
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.