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EAF workshop reviews concept, finds challenges

Released: 23 Mar 1999


by Maj. Eric Schnaible
Expeditionary Aerospace Force Implementation Directorate

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The expeditionary aerospace force concept got its first real reality check when participants in a recent EAF transition workshop reviewed the concept and suggested areas that need improvement.

More than 220 participants tested the concept, validated aerospace expeditionary force sourcing data and learned greater details of the EAF's concept of operations. The group included wing leaders from the first scheduled on-call AEF lead wings at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Dyess AFB, Texas; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; and Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

The four-day workshop included EAF planners and other representatives from major commands, numbered air forces, wings, the Air Staff, National Guard, Air Force Reserve and several Air Force agencies and centers. All workshop players focused on how the Air Force will transition from its current management structure into the expeditionary aerospace force.

Maj. Gen. Donald G. Cook, EAF implementation director, said that information gathered at the workshop would be essential to ensuring a smooth transition for the first four scheduled AEFs. Planning is already under way for their deployment preparation period within the next six months.

EAF's target operational date is Jan. 1, but the first two AEFs will actually deploy forces Oct. 1 and enter their deployment preparation phase in August. Officials expect the concept will mature over a few years time before deploying Air Force people can fully realize its benefits.

Cook said the workshop would help educate AEF leaders on concept developments, test the AEF construct against a war-game scenario and validate existing combat support manpower sourcing data slated against each AEF.

"There is no 'play book' for EAF, and we need the wing-level (players) to tell us if we've got it right," Cook said. "We can't do this solely from the headquarters; we need grassroots input from people who will live with it."

Besides the AEF rotation scenario, another panel looked at possible overall expeditionary aerospace force strengths and weaknesses.

Another panel debated how low-density, high-demand assets within the command-and-control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and combat search-and-rescue communities will support the AEFs. Panelists talked about how AEFs' sustained demand and resulting high operations and personnel tempo could be better controlled.

RELATED SITES

* Air Force Reserve Command
* Air National Guard
* Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
* Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
* Expeditionary Aerospace Force
* Hill Air Force Base, Utah
* Maj. Gen. Donald G. Cook
* The National Guard
* Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England