HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. –
Meeting the challenges of the 2022 National Defense Strategy requires a range of new and innovative approaches to training U.S. Air Force senior leaders. One such way is through the 705th Training Squadron’s restructuring of their training portfolio to include the Air Component Senior Leader Course. This new course is designed for O-6 level division chiefs and senior staff principals, taught at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
As the Air Force’s focal point for advanced air operations center and Air Force forces education and command and control process improvement, the 705th TRS educates and trains joint and coalition senior leaders on special technical operations employment while equipping air component warfighters through tactics development.
Over the past 16 years, the Air Force recognized the need for distinct training for senior leaders assigned to AOCs as well as AFFOR staff members of component/major commands and component/numbered Air Force commands. However, recently the integration of AOCs and AFFOR staffs has become an Air Component-wide focus area to better align functional responsibilities at the operational level of warfare.
“The schoolhouse is uniquely positioned to influence the culture of senior leaders and operational-level C2 to meet the demands of the coming decades,” said Lt. Col. Marcus Bryan, 705th TRS commander, Hurlburt Field, Florida. “Culture is one such area often overlooked when technology, systems, or tactics are so seductive.”
After the completion of two successful test iterations of the new course, the 705th TRS is accepting full class loads for the week-long ACSLC beginning December 2022.
“The ACSLC course is a refreshing look at how the Air Force prepares A-staff and AOC senior leaders to facilitate the commander’s decision cycle and process. It helps leaders understand how the A-staff and AOC are mutually supporting organizations enabling the operational level of war,” said Col. Kenneth Jones, 1st Air Force Air, Space, and Information Operations director and former 607th Air Operations Center vice commander.
ACSLC, as the capstone course in operational-level C2, builds upon career-long experiences and service professional military education to create a seminar environment for advanced learning.
“The course introduces officers from air components to a range of topics including leading the joint planning process for air; understanding responsibilities to set the theater for future operations; integrating space, cyber, and missile defense; and how to communicate risk from a whole of component/campaign perspective,” said T. Beagle, 705th TRS Advanced Academics chief, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Air component staffs must be trained to work seamlessly and with initiative across both organizations in all types of situations, including cooperation, competition, and conflict. ACSLC is designed to inform the air component staff collaboration required to ensure successful awareness of roles and cross-headquarters/multi-headquarters coordination.
“Air component commanders, especially our most senior such as Generals Wilsbach, Hecker, and Cotton, have clearly articulated they expect their O-6s to lead from within. This course enables them to do just that by addressing the interdependencies across the air component headquarters, up to their combatant command, out to other service and functional components, and down to their tactical units,” said Beagle. “We also examine the global coordination required between air component headquarters to enable success across the competition continuum but especially in conflict.”
The course includes numerous flag-officer engagements on key functional components to leadership philosophies at the senior leader level. Each class will have a dedicated retired multi-star U.S. Air Force senior mentor to guide growth and learning.
“It is imperative that all our air component, C/MAJCOM & C/NAF personnel, but especially our senior leadership, are trained and prepared before they fill key roles at the operational level of warfighting. They are not just staff officers but key leaders who must effectively execute joint processes at a moment’s notice across the spectrum of operations,” said retired Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Lofgren, 705th TRS highly qualified expert – senior mentor and ACSLC course developer, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The 705th TRS hosts six ACSLC classes per year. At present, attendance is unit funded. An additional seventh class will be offered to target coalition partners to accommodate the needs and perspectives of these valued partnerships. Air component and MAJCOM training managers should receive enrollment instructions a few months prior to each course with additional details.
"The 505th team has worked hard to provide a venue where our air component senior leaders can come together to challenge conventional wisdom, explore new ways of collaborating to solve emerging problem sets, and sharpen their skills in support of the operational level of war. If we fail to grow that operational level expertise, those people won't be there when we need them,” said Col. Michael Lake, 505th Command and Control Wing vice commander and ACSLC Beta 2 attendee.
The 705th TRS reports to the 505th Test and Training Group, which is assigned to the 505th CCW; both are headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida.