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Aircrew training is A3's priority in AMC

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
  • Headquarters Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
The Mobility Air Force has more than 1,100 aircraft in its inventory. That means someone, somewhere is in charge of ensuring Mobility Airmen are prepared to perform the flying mission.

Picture the largest airline on the planet, (U.S. Air Force) and within that business is a section, (Air Mobility Command A3), who works for the chief pilot and ensures all aircrews are trained and ready to fly mobility aircraft.

In Air Mobility Command, responsibility to organize, train and equip MAF aircrew and operation support forces falls on the Air, Space and Information Operations directorate. This directorate, commonly referred to as A3, coordinates all aspects of flying the aircraft Air Mobility Command uses to perform the mission.

In the past three years, A3 implemented a number of positive changes toward Mobility Airmen's readiness. One way the division has done this is through revolutionizing readiness assessments.

"In the past, [readiness assessments] were rather stove-piped and didn't provide a realistic view on the command's ability to fight tonight. A3 undertook an initiative to assess readiness against war plans the command will probably be asked to complete in the near future instead of measuring against static mission-essential tasks [or single missions]," said Terry Johnson, A3 director of staff.

Many of the changes to training are a result of the readiness assessment and a shift in focus to support the new National Security Strategy, Johnson noted. As A3 continues to organize and further develop Total Force training plans, Mobility Airmen can expect to see a shift in training in the near future to AMC's pre-2001 posture, which focuses on a range of missions and priorities.

"As we come out of Southwest Asia, our focus needs to return to maintaining readiness, especially after a period of fiscal austerity," said Johnson.

In fact, of the 11 divisions within the directorate, there are five primarily focused on readiness and training. These divisions include A3T, A3R, A3D, A3C and A3Y.

In the past year, the directorate established A3Y, an exercise division that executes the commander's latest training guidance said Col. Michael Zick, A3 deputy director of operations. A3Y gathers information from A3 divisions to create realistic training scenarios that equip aircrew members with the skills they need to maintain proficiency.

"We have completed upgrades on all the AMC simulators and migrated the majority of training into them. So when aircrews are flying, they are doing the mission and not trying to achieve training needs," said Johnson.
The upgrades to the simulators will contribute to Mobility Airmen participating in virtual exercises, like virtual flag where a KC-135 may be required to refuel a fighter real-time in a simulator. Similar to a video game, each player can see what the other player is doing.
"In the fiscal environment we operate in today, training time is at a premium," said Harold Rice, A3Y division chief. "The biggest impact A3 can have is looking for venues and opportunities to optimize our training requirements in any form available, taking advantage of more joint exercises and looking internally to find more opportunities we can adapt to optimize more training time for our aircrew." 

In order to meet the Air Force's objectives and support national security strategy, A3 will incorporate the AMC commander's latest training guidance with an increased number of exercises to provide robust training opportunities for mobility forces with joint and allied partners. That plan includes a redesign of the command's premier exercise, AMC Rodeo. 

"The aircrew standardization and evaluation division is helping accomplish this goal by strengthening partnerships with international organizations like Air Refueling Standardization Working Group and the Air and Space Interoperability Council, which provides opportunities to share best practices and methods," said Rice.

By leveraging these connections, A3's goal is to increase aircrew mission efficiency and allows AMC to standardize the way mobility Airmen will train with other nations and operate in the future.

"Due to fiscal restraints and national security strategy, the amount of forward operating bases is being reduced," Johnson said. "Rapid global mobility is going to be dependent on the ability to operate on partner nations' real estate if we are going to be expected to put a large footprint on the ground for forward force projections. If we can't interoperate with them in a scenario [requiring] little notice, we won't be successful in a real-world event."

"Each of the divisions play an important role in ensuring AMC's goal of preparing the force for the future," said Zick.

These are all A3's divisions.

A3A - Airfield Operations Division
A3B - Commercial Airlift Division
A3C - Expeditionary Operations Division
A3D - Combat Operations Division
A3O- Operations Management division
A3R - Resource and Requirements Division
A3T - Aircrew Training Division
A3V - Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation Division
A3Y - Exercise Division
A3F - Fuel Efficiency Division
A3N - Nuclear Operation Division