Future of Contingency Response: the D-E-V-I-L is in the details

621 CRW Commander

Commentary by Col. James Copher, commander of the 621st Contingency Response Wing

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- How will the Air Force utilize the contingency response mission in the future? What capabilities will be required to execute that mission? What are the future conditions we will be required to operate under?

These questions and many more were at the heart of a recent Contingency Response Commanders Conference hosted by the 621st CRW at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Commanders, senior enlisted leaders and subject matter experts from across the contingency response community convened for a three-day huddle to address ways to streamline organizational capabilities and processes in order to make them smaller, faster, leaner and more integrated. Our aim, in line with the Air Force's Future Operating Concept, is to foster key partnerships to improve the agility of our forces and refine our ability to integrate mission sets amongst diverse organizations.

To accomplish this, I asked leaders to not only consider next year, but to also look over the horizon at three, five and 10-year milestones. As Airmen, we can't afford to just look at our immediate to-do lists; we must set the conditions by preparing our replacements with consideration for their replacements, as well as squadron, group and wing leaders three and four rotations from now.

While none of us have a crystal ball, we do have the ability to define our force's needs and consider how we will be committed to the future employment of rapid global mobility and airpower.

Planning for the future states of operations requires us to assume certain conditions both internally and externally. CR forces currently operate in the 99 percent probable operations realm. We must prepare ourselves to thrive in the one percent when called upon to do so.

There will be a continuing upward trend in CR requirements across the threat spectrum that includes developing more partnerships. As such, CR in the future must be lighter, leaner and faster. Every CR Airman must be capable of advising joint, interagency and multinational partners on mobility and CR employment. The key to improved training, mission execution and operational agility is deliberate, frequent and challenging employment.

One thing remains constant -- Devil Raider Airmen are at the heart of CR's future is and always will be. People often ask what a Devil Raider is, and I reply that it is, more so than anything, a mindset.

The Devil Raider mindset is a Disciplined, Experienced, Versatile, Interconnected, Leader. Inherent in that mindset is an attitudinal understanding that our highly-skilled Airmen live and breathe mobility. It's what we do.

The CRW embodies Air Mobility Command's agility through its ability to rapidly generate and shift among multiple solutions. The CRW provides the operational agility and inclusiveness the future of our Air Force needs in order to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

Where the CRW goes, whether physically or operationally, the rest of AMC will go, along with the future of our nation's airpower.