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Stronger together: AF senior leaders implement plan to strengthen joint leaders, teams

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- In accordance with Air Force senior leaders’ Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams Implementation Plan, the Air Force is refining and strengthening how Airmen are developed to integrate into and lead joint teams.

“Over the last year, we conducted robust analysis to identify ways to strengthen our joint warfighting excellence while remaining functionally proficient in Air Force core functions,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said in a letter to Air Force commanders dated July 23, 2018. “While today’s Air Force is the most lethal and ready in the world, to maintain our competitive lead we must strengthen our ability to operate in an increasingly complex, multi-domain, joint environment.”

Current efforts will fall under two main lines of effort – strengthening joint leaders and enhancing joint teams.

Strengthening Joint Leader Development

Air Education and Training Command is working to redesign the Air Force Continuum of Learning to include joint matters across an Airman’s career lifecycle, and ensure the service integrates the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities as an essential component of total force development.

The Air Force’s Personnel Center and AF/A1 will work with AETC and the redesigned CoL to include an institutional framework that balances Air Force and joint progression. Joint learning will include purposeful follow-on and practical assignments so Airmen have the expertise to plan, execute and lead joint operations. To aid in this effort, the Air Force will begin tracking and reporting joint education and experience to obtain a holistic look at the levels and diversity of joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational experience within our total force at any given time.

“The goal is to capture an Airman’s full record of joint training, education, tactical and operational experiences so that Airmen are being vectored for the right future opportunities, and to assess where we are as a force,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Frey, SJLT deputy director.

Enhancing Joint Teams

Air Combat Command is overseeing the certification of a core Joint Task Force Headquarters under the 9th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. Once certified, the JTF itself will be placed in the Global Response Force and be available for taskings to meet global contingencies. Additionally, AF/A3 will work with major command commanders to identify additional component numbered Air Force headquarters with core JTF Headquarters potential.

According to Frey and the SJLT team, today’s Air Force is effective and lethal, and SJLT efforts are meant to ensure lethality and readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“We’re strategically infusing joint into the way we develop Airmen,” Frey continued. “This is a change for the Air Force, but that doesn’t mean we’re creating separate joint and air-minded Airmen. The Air Force has to elevate the joint focus in the force to meet the demands of the future fight.”
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