By BGen Andrea M. Tullos
I’ve always loved team sports. Now that my competitive seasons are in the past, I live for college football season. I love the ability of a well-coached, disciplined team of amateurs to out-perform a more talented team, the beauty of a well-executed halftime adjustment, and the heartbreak of a crucial mistake by a young, talented athlete who was either not prepared or simply couldn’t execute under a form of pressure which can’t be simulated in practice. I was the rare athlete who loved practice as much as the games. Thinking back, I should have known then I would love the military. We have the best military in the world because we have the best training delivered by the best trainers—largely, our noncommissioned officer corps. We value training above any other activity and we value the process of planning, training, rehearsing, and executing above all other processes. It’s been said many times our Airmen will not simply rise to the occasion when the mission demands—they will sink to the level of their training. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to keep that bar higher than any force we may face, conventional or otherwise.
A decade and a half of combat made us extraordinarily proficient at our expeditionary mission. This is a testament to the capabilities of our regional training centers (RTC), the professionalism of our trainers, and the experience levels of our NCOs who ensure complacency doesn’t undermine training and who conduct battle drills to reinforce that training down range. Our training centers continuously improve upon our ability to deliver capabilities the Combatant Commanders demand every day—our Ravens, DAGRE teams, nuclear convoy teams, and Contingency Response Groups, to name a few. At the foundation, our technical training school delivers motivated, disciplined Defenders to our squadrons who embrace our core values and are ready to take basic skills to the next level.
But years of operational tempo, budget cuts, and downsizing forced us to make difficult decisions which impact the way we train. We have over played computer based training, which has a place in the training continuum, but which is currently too prolific. As we forward deployed NCOs in greater numbers, the CONUS training burden shifted from supervisors to training sections in the form of classroom delivery, power point based curriculum. This is not a criticism of our unit trainers, but to the extent we can empower supervisors to own the training of their Airmen and enhance a critical element of a young NCO’s development, I believe we should.
Perhaps of most concern, we largely eliminated opportunities units had to participate in large scale collective training. Some Major Commands are “deployed in place,” which removes the impetus to send their Airmen to an RTC. We don’t go to the Joint Readiness Training Center and under the new Air Force Inspection Program, Wings do not conduct Operational Readiness Exercises. Unless you are in USAFE, PACAF, or Global Strike, you likely don’t experience a COCOM exercise. Yes, we used to fight the scenarios and complain about “exercise-isms”, but we learned invaluable lessons about our Airmen which we don’t want to learn for the first time on the battlefield. We witnessed our leadership make decisions under stress, we were forced to team up with maintenance, engineers, and medics while in MOPP gear to accomplish some randomly selected task, not even realizing it was just forcing us to build teamwork, solve problems, and overcome adversity. We exercised command and control in a manner which is simply not replicated by FPCON drills and active shooter exercises, which currently dominate our exercise landscape.
The bottom line is we all used to get more reps. Now some of us don’t get reps, some only get individual reps, and some get a narrow slice of reps which don’t fully develop the versatility we need in our Defenders. I believe reps are the fundamental difference between that talented Defender executing under pressure and that same talented Defender fearing failure, not trusting their own ability to execute, not trusting their Wingman is doing their job in support, and potentially hesitating or failing when it matters most.
The good news is we know where the gaps are, we have exceptionally talented leaders tackling these gaps, and we believe we have the resources to start rebalancing the type of training we do and how we deliver it. Our senior leaders in the Pentagon have already asked “what do you need?” to adjust fire. You will hear more about this from Chief Hartz, who has a team of Chiefs and NCOs who have already built an exceptional foundation for our way ahead. For now, get ready to train!
By: Karen Jowers, Military Times, December 21, 2016
'Tis the season for seeking out scholarships, and the Fisher House Foundation has launched a free search tool to help troops, veterans and families get their share of these education-budget boosters.
The Scholarships for Service tool can help those with any affiliation – active- or reserve-component members, veterans, retired military personnel and military family members. There are more than 3,000 scholarships available to those with various affiliations in the military community, offered from organizations ranging from the military relief societies to associations for Seabees and 82nd Airborne Division troops, to name just a few.
The Fisher House Foundation has helped provide scholarships to military children and spouses for 17 years, and recognized through that work the need to help families search further, according to the group's CEO, Ken Fisher, in a statement announcing the new tool http://www.militaryscholar.org/
Because of this involvement, he said, “we routinely received calls asking if we knew of any other financial resources available to help service members, veterans, and their families with college funding. We did the best we could to pass on information about other scholarship programs, but we came to recognize that we were only scratching the surface and needed to do more.”
Unlike other scholarship search tools, Scholarships for Service is tailored specifically to search for scholarships that are available to those in the military community.
“We get questions about scholarships all the time,” said Brian Gawne, a retired Navy captain who is vice president of community relations for Fisher House Foundation.
Fisher House Foundation developed Scholarships for Service search tool with AdmitHub, which specializes in college application support, scholarship search assistance, and enrollment advising. Plans call for refining the tool as more users try it out, Gawne said; programmers already have added additional organizations, offering newer scholarships, to the database.
Students or students-to-be enter brief background information and education goals, and the tool will quickly identify potential military-affiliated scholarships. With each offering comes a summary of eligibility requirements, points of contact and links to the scholarship provider’s website. Students can have a PDF file of the results emailed to them.
Neither Fisher House Foundation nor AdmitHub collects any data from the site, Gawne said.
“You don’t have to register, we don’t collect information. We just wanted a pure service,” he said. “There won’t be any emails afterwards, because we don’t sell anything to marketing agencies. ... If nothing else, it gives a sense of how many scholarships there are out there.”
The US Air Force Could Pick New Army-Marine Corps Ride to Guard Missile Field
By: Valerie Insinna, January 4, 2017, Defense News (Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Austin M. Schlosser/US Marine Corps)
WASHINGTON — The Army and Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle could be one option on the table as the Air Force seeks new vehicles for its security forces protecting missile-launch facilities. The service is in the earliest stages of the process, and no decisions have been made on the number of vehicles needed or whether to opt for a military-specific or commercial product, officials told Defense News. Procurement by the Air Force would be an unexpected boon for JLTV manufacturer Oshkosh Defense, which is eagerly looking to add to its customer base. At this point, requirements have been formalized by Air Force Global Strike Command and are currently being vetted by the Air Force’s Security Forces Center and the Vehicle Supply Chain Operations Squadron (VSCOS), Air Force spokesman Capt. Chris Mesnard said. Once they are set in stone, Air Force Materiel Command will take the lead in the acquisition process.
The Air Force needs a specialized vehicle for missile field security to replace the aging Humvees currently in operation, Maj. Gen. Michael Fortney, vice commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said in a December interview. “We had been using up-armored Humvees for a long time,” he said. According to the Air Force, some of those models date as far back as 1998 and have not been modernized since their purchase, which Fortney said creates problems in upkeep. “Those [vehicles] are no longer going to be supportable in the DoD after a certain point in time. So what is the right vehicle for that mission set up there?” he said. Oshkosh’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is seen as one potential option. Air Force representatives visited Marine Corps Base Quantico in early December to see the ride in action, receiving briefings and demonstrations from Army and Marine Corps officials. Individuals from Air Force headquarters, Global Strike Command (AFGSC), AF Security Forces Center, VSCOS and Warner-Robins Air Logistics Complex were in attendance, Mesnard confirmed. Should the Air Force decide to buy into the JLTV program, it could benefit from the economies of scale inherent to such a large procurement. The Army and Marine Corps plan to buy a total 54,599 vehicles over the course of the program. The company delivered the first seven JLTVs to the Army and Marine Corps in late September. According to an Army statement, Oshkosh will provide about 100 vehicles over the next year for testing at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
And once full-rate production starts in 2019, the services hope that lower-than-expected unit prices can drive bigger purchases every year, shaving about $6 billion in costs, Scott Davis, the Army’s program executive officer for combat support and combat service support, said in an October news release. Air Force officials stressed that no decision to procure the JLTV has been made. In an emailed response to questions, Mesnard said the service believes both military and commercial, off-the-shelf vehicles may be able to meet its requirements. The Air Force on Dec. 21 issued a request for information on tactical vehicles that will be used to help the service identify potential options ahead of a competition. The RFI includes divides vehicles into “Level 1” — ultra-light variants less than 10,000 pounds — and a larger “Level 2” vehicle that can weigh up to 20,000 pounds. The JLTV, which has a curb weight of 14,000, fits into the heavier category. Level 2 vehicles should also be able to meet speeds of at least 65 miles per hour, have a 3,000-pound payload capability, and have a fuel range of 350 miles while traveling at 35 miles per hour. The Level 1 vehicles have a smaller payload — only 1,500 pounds — but must be able to hit 75 mile per hour speeds. “The number of vehicles AFGSC will buy depends on things like procurement cost, mix of light and medium variants, available budget, etc.,” Mesnard stated. If the Air Force does opt for the JLTV, the service has also not determined whether it would need Oshkosh to modify the vehicles for service-specific requirements driven by the harsh, frigid climates of the northern-tier missile bases. Cost considerations and long lead time would likely preclude the service from purchasing a clean-sheet design, Mesnard said, adding that “the Air Force would only pursue a service-specific buy if a suitable joint vehicle was not available to meet mission requirements.”
A spokeswoman for Oshkosh declined to provide specifics about the company's level of involvement in the demonstrations to Air Force officials in Quantico, but signaled that the company would welcome adding a third US military service to its list of customers. "While we defer to the US government on their program requirements and procurement plans, we are confident that the JLTV platform provides superior performance, off-road mobility and protection for all services, including the Air Force,” Jennifer Christiansen, Oshkosh’s vice president of global strategy and marketing, said in a statement. “Oshkosh stands ready to produce JLTVs for all services to ensure our troops receive the next generation equipment the need to successfully complete their missions."
Disney has extended the Awesome Disney Armed Forces Salute for 2017, see full details on Disney Armed Forces Salute Page
Armed Forces Salute History
The Walt Disney Company has offered an Armed Forces Salute since 2009. These fantastic Military Discounts have been on both theme park tickets and resort rooms, and have allowed many military families to have a great vacation. In late 2016 it was announced the Disney Armed Forces Salute would continue until 16 December 2017.
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Active duty and retired U.S. military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced room at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels.
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Universal Orlando has discontinued their military salute. But there was enough inertia behind Disney's offers to keep them going. SeaWorld Parks has offered their Waves of Honor Salute every year since 2005.
Welcome to Washington, DC and the AFSFA 2017 Annual Meeting!
By Joe Rector, Chairman, National Capital-Maryland Chapter
The National Capital-Maryland Chapter and the 11th Security Forces Group are proud to be your hosts for the 2017 Air Force Security Forces Association Annual Meeting. The 2017 meeting will be held 24-27 August 2017 at the Westin-Crystal City, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington, Virginia 22202. The hotel is 1 mile from the Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) and the hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport. The hotel is next to the Crystal City Metro Station and includes a restaurant and bar.
Being so close to a Metro station, you are just a short ride away from such Washington D.C. area attractions as: the National Mall monuments, The White House, the Pentagon, a host of Smithsonian museums, historic Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetery, National Spy Museum, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Corcoran Gallery, and Ford’s Theater, just to name a few of the sites.
Activities will kick off on Thursday morning at 0800 with the golf tournament to be held on the South Course at the Courses at Joint Base Andrews. The South Course is the best course of the three golf courses that Joint Base Andrews boasts. You will be able play on the same terrain where President Barrack Obama spent many a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Also, on Thursday morning, for those looking for some professional development, the program will feature educational sessions on the latest threats, trends, and technology in security. Thursday night will feature the annual AFSFA social where attendees can eat, drink and make merry.
On Friday following the general membership meeting the afternoon activities will be at Joint Base Andrews where we will have a chance to visit with the Defenders of the 11th Security Forces Group. One of only six Security Forces Groups based in the Continental U.S., the 11 SFG contains over 800 personnel and is organized into three squadrons – the 11th Security Forces Squadron, the 811th Security Forces Squadron, and the 11th Security Support Squadron.
As Defenders of America’s Airfield, the 11th Security Forces Squadron enforces laws and carries out installation security ensuring the protection for all the wing’s personnel and $6.2 billion in DOD resources. At any given time, approximately 50 Defenders are deployed supporting combatant commanders overseas.
The 811th Security Forces Squadron operates the largest executive security mission in the Air Force, they ensure around-the-clock protection of the Air Force One complex and provide executive protection for the President and other senior leaders as they transit the installation. Their Executive Aircraft Security Section secures aircraft for Congressional Delegates, the Secretaries of Defense and State, the First Lady, Foreign Dignitaries while providing a dedicated security team for the Vice President.
The 11th Security Support Squadron (SSPTS) provides integrated defense and security planning, resource protection and physical security policy and visitor control and vehicle registration for Joint Base Andrews. The squadron also provides law enforcement, security, and ground combat skills training for the 800 Defenders assigned to the 11 SFG. The 11 SSPTS operates the Air Force’s largest kennel Military Working Dog Section with 31 canines assigned. Military working dogs, accompanied by their Airmen handlers, work to detect explosive materials designed to harm our personnel and families both at home station and deployed locations around the world. The 11 SSPTS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance Section provides weapons training for over 6,000 Airmen assigned to the National Capital Region.
Friday’s activities will wrap up with a night time driving tour of the DC area monuments.
On Saturday morning we will start back up with business meetings from 0800-1200 and the banquet will be held that evening at 1800. For those desiring pictures, the photographer will be available at 1700 hours.
Activities for the 2017 Annual Meeting will wrap up on Sunday with the Annual Remembrance Ceremony at 0900.
Again, we look forward to having everyone visit the National Capital Region! If you can’t find fun in DC, you can’t have fun period!