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    Team Dover’s Multi-Capable Airmen



    Courtesy Story

    436th Airlift Wing

    “We must focus on the Joint Warfighting Concept, enabled by Joint All-Domain Command and Control and rapidly move forward with digital, low cost, high tech, warfighting capacities. Most importantly, we must empower our incredible Airmen to solve any problem. We must place value in multi-capable and adaptable team builders, and courageous problem solvers that demonstrate value in diversity of thought, ingenuity and initiative.” – Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown.

    The 2018 National Defense Strategy and CSAF Action Order C, “Accelerate Change or Lose” both acknowledge the United States is engaged in increasing strategic competition with near-peer threats. Due to technical advances in long-range weapon systems, we can no longer consider our overseas projection platforms, and even some stateside bases, as safe havens from which we can project airpower undeterred.

    To combat this threat, the Air Force has introduced Agile Combat Employment, a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power across the continuum of competition. Simply put, ACE is designed to disrupt the enemy’s offensive and targeting processes, thereby giving friendly forces flexibility and survivability across the domains of warfare. The ACE construct depends on Multi-Capable Airmen, or Airmen capable of accomplishing tasks outside their Air Force specialty code, to operate on cross-functional teams to provide combat support to ACE force elements in forward locations.

    MCA is an initiative requiring a significant cultural shift from the traditional training models that focus on restrictive, highly specialized training within an Airman’s career field, to a capabilities-based and adaptive method of training. Cultural changes can take years, or even decades to take hold, but our steadfast oath to support and defend the United States may be in jeopardy unless we act decisively and deliberately. Because of the urgency of this initiative, the 436th Airlift Wing has developed an MCA working group, which addresses many of the transitions necessary to cross-functionally train specific Team Dover Airmen in command and control, mission generation and base operations support, to serve as force multipliers in small combat support teams.

    A significant degree of risk is associated with Airmen operating outside the purview of their normally assigned tasks. However, as warfighters we are familiar with the assumption of risk to gain and maintain a tactical advantage, and we cannot be dissuaded from the task at hand based on the potential for risk alone. We need to develop leaders at the lowest level who are empowered to make appropriate risk assessments and act decisively to complete objectives vital to mission accomplishment. That is not to say all risks should be assumed at all levels of leadership at all times. Part of the risk assessment process is making that determination, and Airmen need to elevate risks to the appropriate levels, when time allows.

    In a high-end fight, where seconds matter, decentralized command and execution are key to proactive maneuvers, and a necessity to maintaining tactical advantage. We cannot afford to succumb to paralysis in these precious moments due to a failure to accept a necessary risk. While we all hope that day never comes, the greatest risk of all would be a failure to produce Airmen appropriately trained and equipped to fight tomorrow’s war. In order to evolve with the changing landscape of warfare, we must continue to evolve ACE and MCA initiatives in spite of the risks, because the dangers are too great otherwise.



    Date Taken: 07.22.2021
    Date Posted: 07.22.2021 08:52
    Story ID: 401456

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