New AEF Focuses on Small Groups, Multitasking, Burden Sharing

 In U.S. Air Force, Defense, Cyber/ICT, Air, Space, Forces & Capabilities

The new Air and Space Expeditionary Force model, which goes into effect in the next few weeks, will focus on small groups deploy­ing togeth­er, and will likely see Airmen doing more than one job each and deploy­ing to more bare-base loca­tions, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said Sept. 16. He sug­gest­ed that USAF will seek some relief from the deploy­ment burden from the other ser­vices.

The old model of the AEF was essen­tial­ly “crowd­sourc­ing,” Brown said during a press con­fer­ence at AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference, to the point of dis­patch­ing indi­vid­ual airmen, one at a time, to fill vacan­cies in for­ward-deployed areas.

Now, “the key aspect to this is how … we build teams that work togeth­er, and then how do we deploy them togeth­er,” Brown said. “You’ve got to build a model that’s some­what dis­ci­plined to do that” in order to pre­serve readi­ness across the force.

“Flexibility is the key to air­pow­er, but some­times we get a little too flex­i­ble, we have to build a little struc­ture into this, going for­ward.”

The goal will con­tin­ue to be pre­dictabil­i­ty for airmen and their fam­i­lies, Brown said, but with the addi­tion of a more ratio­nal way to present forces to com­bat­ant com­man­ders.

Asked how the changes will be appar­ent to rank-and-file airmen, Brown said “instead of just going out and meet your team when you get to your deployed loca­tion … the goal is to have you deploy with the same folks” each time.

Also, to carry out dynam­ic force employ­ment mis­sions, “You may not be going to” the bases that USAF has rotat­ed in and out of for 25 years in the Middle East. Instead, “We’re going to have to be ready to go places and deploy places where you don’t have an exist­ing struc­ture” of sup­port.

Finally, the push toward “multi-capa­ble airmen” means people will go to a loca­tion “where you’re doing sev­er­al dif­fer­ent things.” He gave as an exam­ple a female Airman in Guam who briefed him on com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and not long after, “she’s in battle rattle and now she’s doing secu­ri­ty. Our Airmen have to have the capa­bil­i­ty to do that. So that’s the aspect that will be dif­fer­ent: where we can trust them to do not only their job,” but others as well. The force will have to be “light, lean and agile,” Brown said.

As for those Airmen in high-demand/low-den­si­ty career fields, Brown said only, “That’s some­thing we have to manage close­ly.” However, he added, “We also have to talk to the Joint Force and say, we have a finite set of resources to do this. We can’t wear them out so they’re not ready for the future.”

Senior USAF lead­ers have said the AEF tech­ni­cal­ly goes into effect October 1, to align with the Pentagon’s Global Force Management system, but the full array of changes may take a few months to be approved and be imple­ment­ed. The new system is meant to do a better job of pre­sent­ing forces to com­bat­ant com­man­ders and stan­dard­ize the num­bers of forces avail­able to them.

Air Force Magazine source|articles

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