Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, discussed efforts to accelerate change within “The First Command” during this year’s 2021 virtual Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference Feb. 25.
The “Accelerating Change Across the Air Force,” panel focused on how the Air Force is executing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.‘s action orders to challenge the status quo and make necessary changes in the Air Force today, so that it is are ready for tomorrow.
“Gen. Brown’s Action Order A, or Airmen, is really in the wheelhouse for AETC and is the main effort inside AETC,” Webb said. “Here in The First Command, we are making strides in how we recruit, assess, education, train, experience and develop Airmen at every level with the attributes needed to win the high-end fight.”
As the force development command, AETC is deliberately developing today’s Airmen to be multi-capable Airmen.
“Multi-capable Airmen have an agile mindset, can understand commander intent and mission type orders and possess the wherewithal to move out and be successful,” Webb said. “Therefore, aspects like empowerment, initiative, analytical and critical thinking and speed, all become very important for our Airmen.”
These competencies, known as Foundational Competencies, can now be quantified because of work within AETC. A competency is a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics that manifest in an observable and measurable pattern of behaviors.
The Airman’s Foundational Competencies are categorized into four major groups: Developing Self, Developing Others, Developing Ideas, and Developing Organizations. To help Airmen gain a better understanding of their competency proficiency level, an Air Force Competencies section was recently added to MyVector.
When explaining the AETC role in accelerating change, Webb said, “As you would expect we work hand-in-glove with our Air Staff, A1 (personnel) in particular, and it’s a complete focus on Airmen, innovation and education and training methods that will really bring us into the 21st century way of learning.”
In addition to a more competitive approach to developing Airmen, AETC is revamping curriculum and streamlining the training pipeline. With initiatives like Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5, the first step in a synchronized, cloud-based learning experience that incorporates immersive technology and new learning methods to achieve student proficiency.
“We are full-fledged into UPT 2.5, where we see our Airmen fully winged after six months in the T-6,” Webb said. “But, there are any number of efforts, whether it’s RPA (remotely piloted aircraft), helicopters, or civilian path to wings. We really focus on the aspect of getting to student-centered learning and pushing early access to content to our Airmen.”
AETC is transforming education and training and infusing agility, while progressing at the speed of learning. The transformation includes initiatives such as modular curriculum, Airmen-centered instruction and classrooms and blended learning.
“To be successful, the Airmen we need today are not the same Airmen we are going to need tomorrow,” Webb said. “We simply must innovate both how we think, how we learn, and how we utilize technology. Really, our efforts inside of the command are on the Airman’s mind.
Force development is the framework that links training, education and experiential learning to develop an Airman’s competencies to out-think and out-perform any adversary in air, space and cyberspace. Airmen and Guardians can stay informed using The Force Development Gateway and Force Development Service Catalog, which can be accessed through the Air Force Portal front page under the Education / Training / Force Development section.
Other senior leaders on the panel included:
Gen. Mark D. Kelly, commander, Air Combat Command
Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander, U.S. Forces Europe, U.S. Forces Africa
Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, commander Pacific Air Forces
Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, commander, Air Force Materiel Command
Gen. Timothy M. Ray, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command
Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander, Air Mobility Command