JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – With an eye towards winning the future fight against adversaries such as China and Russia, Air Education and Training Command officials hosted a workshop here July 19-21 designed to give a diverse set of Airmen a chance to share their perspective of how Airmen and Guardians will learn in 2030.
The scenario-planning workshop provided critical inputs to AETC’s ongoing Force Development Environment 2030 Assessment, which will serve as foundational assessment that informs the command’s force development strategy efforts.
“The idea was to describe the development environment the Air Force will—or should—provide to optimize Airmen’s ability to develop themselves and others to meet future operational needs,” said Dr. Randy Coats, the Headquarters AETC/A9 Analysis and Innovation directorate’s executive director. “By understanding the nature of how we develop, we will be better able to design an environment in which we create Airmen and Guardians who can learn and adapt faster than any adversary or competitor.”
The workshop was co-hosted by Headquarters Air Force A5/7 (Skunk Works) and HQ AETC/A9, with participants from HAF/A1, HAF/CVK, Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command, and AETC. Participants represented nearly every grade, from E-5 through E-9, O-2 to O-6, and GS-12 to GS-15.
Scenario development began with a stage-setting discussion that, coupled with read-ahead material, helped get the participants to a shared understanding of how force development integrates the training, education, and experiential learning that happens across the Air Force, every day, everywhere there is an Airman or Guardian.
“All strategy development begins with an understanding of the operational environment—both “as is” and what we expect it to be at a designated future point,” Coats said. “In this workshop, we looked at the operational environment through the lens of force development. We then asked participants to explore the most likely scenario(s) as guides from which to extract strategic assumptions that will influence strategy development.”
The Skunk Works facilitators then guided participants through a series of exercises to explore relevant trends, operational needs, attributes of the workforce, and the nature of force development in 2030.
Participants then broke into teams to develop scenarios, critique other’s scenarios, and present short out-briefs to the A9 Director.
“We’re excited about the chance to pull together representatives from across the Air Force to think deliberately and deeply about the future of how we will develop Airmen,” Coats said. “The end result will be a living document that paints a future force development picture and maps out a path to a 2030 force development capability in a way that is operationally relevant and meaningful to Airmen and commanders.”