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Reimagining Headquarters AETC empowers NAF Commanders

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas--At the direction of the Commander of Air Education and Training Command, Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast, AETC took on a bottom-up mission review to examine how it commands and controls its operations and respond to the changing pace of today’s dynamic national security environment.

 “Similar to how warfare adversaries adapt and change to improve chances for success, the learning environment must evolve to remain effective as well,” said Kwast. “AETC must become more agile, more resilient, more communicative and more responsive to our Air Force's and our nation's needs.”

Another major change that drove the review was the shift of the headquarters’ focus to support the AETC commander’s dual-hatted role as the single force development commander for the Air Force.

“When Air Force leaders decided at CORONA to make a single commander responsible for developing the force, AETC gained mission and responsibilities that require the commander’s immediate staff to adjust its day-to-day attention,” said Col. Pat White, chief of AETC’s manpower and organization division and lead for the reorganization planning team. 

In this new role, Kwast noted the headquarters “will ‘look up and out,’ across our Air Force, to synchronize force development efforts wherever and whenever they occur.” 

Kwast also stressed his intent to push responsibility and authorities to the right level and let commanders be commanders. When the planning team conducted a mission review and proposed realigning execution-like functions to the numbered air forces, he approved the proposal. 

“Enabling the evolution of the learning environment requires giving commanders increased control of their assigned missions,” Kwast said. “The plan empowers commanders to take intelligent risk, allowing for maximum mission effectiveness and, where possible, efficiency.”

Col. White noted several follow-on actions currently underway.  “We implemented a short-term plan to transition additional execution functions to the numbered air forces. This permits the headquarters to reorient itself towards operationalizing the force development mission.” 

White also added the resource, personnel and organizational impacts are being addressed in short-, mid-, and long-term plans. Additionally, AETC leaders will conduct reviews throughout the year to continuously evaluate progress.