JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Members of the 12th Operations Support Squadron (OSS) and 559th Flying Training Squadron, both assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, visited Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Headquarters, July 8-10, 2019.
The immersion allowed members from Air Education and Training Command (AETC) to take a closer look at Pacific theater operations and to build a relationship with PACAF as a component major command (C-MAJCOM).
“This relationship is important because the National Defense Strategy puts a priority on the threats in the Pacific. PACAF with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) have developed plans to defeat those threats,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Cameron, 12th OSS commander. “In AETC, we need to find opportunities to organize, train and equip in such a way that supports PACAF to execute those plans.”
At Air Education and Training Command, members are tasked with force development for all Airmen and providing multi-domain, joint warfighting-capable Airmen to combatant commanders to meet the needs of the national security environment.
“The main focus of our visit is to establish the connections and fundamentally understand what the challenges are for PACAF and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies,” said Maj. Joseph Visalli, 12th OSS director of staff. “Many of our pilots and operators are familiar with the Middle East conflicts, but it’s totally different out here in the Pacific. We’re trying to understand the differences and challenges that PACAF and USINDOPACOM have undertaken.”
One of the goals for the visit was for the 12th OSS to better align and train to the Pacific warfighting plan to include dispersal operations and the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operating concept.
“Some of the most pressing challenges with ACE will come in the form of operations support,” said Cameron. ”We have sent our most experienced senior civilian service members forward to gain critical insight that helps us identify opportunities in our training, in order to introduce basic elements of ACE early in Air Force training. We understand the way we train America’s Air Force, even at the most basic level, sends a powerful strategic message to our adversaries and our allies and partners.”
Cameron added the 12th OSS is actively looking for opportunities to better align operations support and training efforts to the operations support and training needs of our Air Force’s combatant commands.
“It’s neat to see the wheels turning during cross-major command (MAJCOM) dialogues, especially with AETC, on how they fit into the picture of training our [Combatant] MAJCOM Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Winfield Scott, PACAF Strategy and Policy branch chief. “It is important for them to see the greater picture of how significant their training is to the mission of the C-MAJCOM and inevitably the Combatant Command.”
Members from the 12th OSS received orientations from PACAF experts to enhance their understanding of theater strategy in order for them to better align AETC training.
“At the end of the day, we just want to see what we can do at Randolph, or at any AETC squadron that will pay dividends to what PACAF is trying to accomplish with new training or new operations concepts,” said Visalli. “The idea is for agile combat employment to no longer be a foreign concept to our students and for us to provide our students with a fundamental baseline understanding of the concept and how it comes together.”
Cameron highlighted the importance of aligning AETC training with actual joint forces operations, in order to produce lethal and ready warfighters.
The visit helped Airmen at the squadron level gain an understanding of how PACAF and USINDOPACOM operate. During the immersion, the group attended various briefings, toured PACAF and USINDOPACOM facilities, and received both a Hickam AFB and World War II history tour.