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Tiered construct defines future expeditionary skills training

  • Published
  • By Capt. Rose Richeson
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
A guarantee to eliminate duplicate expeditionary skills training requirements for all Air Force personnel through a four-tiered construct is in effect.

The improved enterprise-wide policy, process and tiered construct provides training programs designed to prepare Airmen for expeditionary missions outside the confines of the traditional airbase environment.

"This new construct ensures Airmen receive appropriate expeditionary education and training at the appropriate time," said Philip Senna, Air Education and Training Command Expeditionary Training Division chief.

The training allows Airmen to gain competence and confidence in combat skills they don't exercise during their normal duties. These skills are now obtained through a tiered training approach outlined in a policy guidance memorandum from Air Force Manpower and Personnel signed March 1.

The four levels of the tiered training construct include foundational EST, deployment-ready EST, mission-specific advanced EST and Expeditionary Center assigned EST.

"Training is integrated in the accession programs and reinforced at initial occupational skills training programs for officers and enlisted," Mr. Senna said referring to Tier 1 of the construct. "Officers receive foundational skills at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Officer Training School and ROTC while enlisted members are trained at basic military training through Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills and Training."

BEAST is more robust by design than officer accession training, but officers will get more training through the Air and Space Basic Course which they attend at the lieutenant grade, Mr. Senna said. At the end of BMT and ASBC both officers and enlisted have a common understanding skill level with expeditionary skills.

BMT staff members have already noticed a difference in the program since training was expanded from six-and-a-half-weeks to eight-and-a-half-weeks to incorporate BEAST Dec. 15.

"Basically the difference is in the application; before they only had two to three hours of application time, now they have three solid days of being hit with application," said Master Sgt. Brian Price, BMT protocol NCO. "This is basic military training no matter if they are an admin person or if they are security forces. This is going to better prepare them for situations when they are going to be in a deployed environment."

Tier 2 is broken down into ancillary, or proficiency, training (Tier 2A) and home-station pre-deployment training (Tier 2B).

Tier 2 provides Airmen additional training to prepare them in support of a major conventional operation, similar to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, or to be deployed to support the geographic combatant commanders as they execute their national command authority tasking.

"Tier 2A requires Airmen assigned to an AEF band to complete computer-based training," Mr. Senna said. "Only those tasked to deploy will complete Tier 2B training such as classroom lecture instruction and hands-on performance training. Under the new construct, Airmen are not going to get training they just don't need."

AETC, the lead major command for EST, is finalizing Tier 2, the new home-station construct, to deliver tailored combat skills training based on operational environment training requirements of deploying Airmen, said Joseph McDade, Air Force Manpower and Personnel Force Development director, in an e-mail announcing the new policy guidance memorandum.

AETC officials expect to begin execution of the Tier 2 construct once approved by headquarters Air Force by Oct. 1. Until then, the focus is on refining and building updated CBTs available through the Advanced Distributed Learning Services.

"Before the construct everyone had to do what we call Tier 2 in addition to the wing 19-hour training," Mr. Senna said. "At some bases they were doing as little as 16 hours and some they were doing as many as 84 hours. It was all dependent on the resources available at every unit and lacked standardization."

Tiers 3 and 4 are reserved for those Airmen tasked to deploy in an uncertain or hostile environment or who require advanced skill sets in order to meet critical or emerging requirements, respectively.

"AETC will continue to implement Air Force-directed policy and guidance to provide lead-MAJCOM support to those individuals responsible for conducting expeditionary training," Mr. Senna said. "Our mission is to synchronize, standardize and integrate all four tiers of ES."

The command will also except new training requirements and coordinate with the Expeditionary Center, and other agencies, to determine the best tier placement.

The EST policy guidance will be incorporated in the next revision of AFI 36-2201, Volume 1, Training Development, Delivery and Evaluation, located on the e-publishing Web site. The guidance is currently available through the Expeditionary Skills Senior Review Group Community of Practice.