OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of korea -- Founded November 22, 1950, the 303rd Intelligence Squadron, located at Osan Air Base, is one of the most historic units in the U.S. Air Force. The 303rd IS, commonly known as Skivvy Nine, has been on the Korean Peninsula providing timely cryptologic support since the Korean War. The squadron has a rich history and prides itself on years of honorable service defending both U.S. and Korean families on peninsula. To safeguard this long-standing success, the squadron instituted an innovative new program aimed at deliberately developing Airmen while securing success for generations to come.
Commenced in September 2018, the Skivvy Nine Internship Program (SNIP) is an ongoing career development initiative that cultivates young intelligence analysts. The SNIP stands as a high-yield, low-risk answer to the question, “How are we deliberately developing our Airmen?” The program sends analysts to various offices throughout the 694th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group in order to increase an Airman’s cross-functional knowledge, expand mission capabilities, and cultivate problem-solving skills.
SNIP is a unique opportunity for Airmen to change their daily battle rhythm and better understand the scope of group operations by working with other offices around the ISR Group. Chosen interns spend two weeks studying various mission sets that they are not normally exposed to during their standard day-to-day operations. Towards the end of each internship, host offices focus Airmen efforts to execute a capstone event that highlights their newly acquired skills while participating in the program. Two recent internships highlight the success of the program so far.
Senior Airman David Ruiz, a Korean linguist and first term Airman, had minimal exposure to intelligence operations off the operations floor. His flight leadership selected him for a Korean Tactics and Adversary Studies Elements internship in order to develop his skills prior to heading to the Special Operation Forces Tactics Adversarial Studies Element for his follow-on assignment. Ruiz’s capstone event culminated with a brief to his group commander, Col. Lester N. Oberg III. Even though this was the only second briefing Ruiz ever delivered, Oberg remarked, “This could have been your hundredth brief…it looks like you’ve been doing this for years!” Prior to his permanent change of station, Ruiz shared the knowledge and resources he learned from his internship and instructed his peers on how to improve daily operations.
Senior Airman Andrew Democker is also a Korean linguist and first term Airman. His flight selected him for an internship in the ISR Group’s weapons and tactics office in order to prepare him for his PCS to Nellis AFB. The weapons and tactics office did an outstanding job educating Democker on U-2 capabilities, limitations, and tactics. At the end of his two-week internship, Democker delivered an in-depth weapons school style debrief to his squadron commander and peers.
SNIP is the 303rd Intelligence Squadron’s innovative way of honing the common focus shared throughout the Intelligence Community: analysis. Future iterations of the program will expand beyond the 694th ISR Group and leverage the close relationships found on Osan AB by sending Airmen to the 51st Fighter Wing Operational Support Squadron and the 607th Air Operations Center. Broadening analysts’ understanding of intelligence practices throughout the Intelligence Community not only develops and highlights critical thinking and analytic techniques used throughout their careers, but also enables the next generation of leaders to fuse best practices into their day-to-day operations. The deliberate development of today’s Airmen is imperative to ensuring the success of tomorrow’s operations. This rings ever more true for those intelligence professionals stationed at Osan AB who work every day to keep the morning calm.