The change, which went into effect April 30, reflects the broader shift across the Air Force on the importance of information and data. It also brings direct influence on talent management, improved training and resource optimization for the career field, which consists of approximately 550 military operations research analysts. The analysts are data science experts who provide recommendations to commanders and decision-makers at all levels, across a wide range of functional areas.
Under the change, all total force operations research analyst officers convert from 61A to the newly created 15A AFSC.
“This move from the acquisition community to realign with operations AFSCs returns us to our roots and aligns us with our industry counterparts to provide data analytics to the warfighter,” said Col. Michael Artelli, Air Force chief analyst and the first 15A career field manager.
“As adversaries employ technology to shorten their adaptation timeline, we, in turn, have to quicken our decision-making process by arming decision-makers with relevant, accurate and timely decision support,” he said.
Administrative changes will take place automatically; no training is required for the AFSC update. The change occurring April 30 was the last step in the process. The transition began Jan. 17, when functional authority of the career field moved from SAF/AQ to HAF/A9.
Operations research analysts are experts in data science and advanced analytics, but more generally apply advanced analytical methods and mathematical models to better understand complex systems and situations.
“The analytic tradecraft is critical in the information warfare environment and fundamental to power projection in the 21st century,” Artelli said. “The warfighter’s ability to leverage the analytic tradecraft is becoming an essential part of supporting national interests. Our analysts support operations in the operations assessments teams within the Air Operations Centers … they are the backbone to numbered Air Force A9s, MAJCOM/A9s and HAF/A9.”
In addition to the new classification, the Air Force is providing a retention bonus for operations research analyst officers of $15,000 per year for 4 years. This bonus is not impacted by the AFSC change.
Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein approved the 15A AFSC badge on May 11. The newly minted 15A AFSC badge will be revealed on May 21 at the Air Force Analytic Community’s Annual Awards Ceremony.
“The recent changes allow the career field to modernize the analytic tradecraft,” Artelli said. “This modernization improves the Department of the Air Force’s ability to compete with analytics, aligns us with our industry counterparts and drives innovation to provide data analytics to our leaders and the warfighter.”