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AAA consolidates expertise, training under EC

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Laurie A. Arellano
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center officially assumed the responsibility of being the Air Force's sole provider of training for general purpose force Air Advisors as the program was inactivated July 10 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. This continues the transition of the Air Advisor Academy's courses, formerly under Air Education and Training Command, into the USAF EC's USAF Expeditionary Operations School.

The first class to graduate under the USAF EOS program began in early June as the last classes at the Academy continued to wrap up.

"Air Force leadership determined that Air Advisor skills are extremely necessary for the success of the security cooperation and building partnerships missions," said Mr. Ken Arteaga, USAF EOS deputy director. "It is important to continue the training even as we adjust to a changing budget environment."

The Air Advisor Academy trained Airmen to safely operate in unfamiliar places as they build cross-cultural relationships and support the Department of Defense's role in building partner nation capacities.

Col. Steven Cabosky, Air Advisor Academy commandant, says advising is a unique and specialized skill set, and one of the most dangerous duties our Airmen perform.

"The Air Force does a great job in the technical training arena," said Cabosky. "Our students come to us as subject matter experts in their career fields. The Air Advisor Academy then educates Airmen in fundamental advising skills and gives them the cross-cultural communication skills to work with foreign militaries. They also get the force protection skills they need to survive in hostile and uncertain environments. We train these warrior/diplomats to be safe and effective in their Advisor roles," Cabosky said.

Scott Gericke, Air Advisor Academy dean of faculty, said the Academy focused on those traits that enable the advisor to build relationships and enable partner nation forces to effectively support security cooperation agreements. Those enabling traits include building trust, cross-cultural competency and confidence when operating in uncertain situations.

The Academy also taught the core knowledge and unique skill sets needed by an Air Advisor such as: being able to assess, train, advise, and assist host nation military forces, to speak common phrases in their native language, to know mission specific information, and the strategic guidance for a particular AOR.

"A properly trained advisor is a force multiplier," said Gericke. "Experience has shown someone can be a good officer and a good technician, but a poor advisor. Not everyone is cut out to be an advisor."

Arteaga said moving the program under the USAF EC consolidates Air Advisor expertise, provides continuity of training, and more closely links the program to the continuous improvement of Air Advisor Tactics, Techniques and Procedures maintained at the USAF EC.

"What this does is provide a more efficient program and synergizes all of the lines of the effort," said Arteaga. "It's the students and the COCOM commanders who win."

The biggest difference for students will be the efficiency of fieldcraft portions of the training. Air Advisor students will merge with students from the USAF EC's other expeditionary skills training courses to maximize the use of staff and ranges as well as increase the types of skill training offered.

The most visible face of this training has been the Air Advisor presence in Afghanistan. The Advisors to the Afghan Army and Air Force continue to be in high demand. Air Advisors also continue to provide enduring support for diplomatic requirements across the globe in every combatant command.

As the USAF EC focuses on continuing to train advisors supporting standing force requirements, it is also prepared to adapt to emerging contingency requirements quickly and effectively. The USAF EC has developed a modular approach to the training that increases the flexibility of the training offered depending on COCOM requirements, characterized as a 'plug and play' approach to programming the courses.

"We're very happy to be selected as the focal point to support this enduring global requirement," said Arteaga.
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