Op-Ed: IITSEC ‘2022 Was Awesome…But Where Was Ops?
Last week’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2022 was an outstanding event. The tech industry was on full display for the military and its many training departments force-wide. From full-motion device trainers to virtual flying devices, the cutting-edge technology displayed during the conference clearly demonstrated where military training is headed. However, operations were notably absent among the myriad of General Officers involved in training.
Let me put this in perspective a bit. I represent Dynepic Inc. as the Senior Military and Aviation Advisor. I am the current C-17, 729th Airlift Squadron Commander at March Air Reserve Base, CA. I am a multi-thousand-hour instructor and evaluator pilot and have thousands of hours as a Southwest Airlines First Officer. To put it bluntly, I know training. The vast majority of my instructing and training has been housed under the operations umbrella of Air Mobility Command, not the Air Education and Training Command (the Air Force’s primary training command). I found it curious last week when I was representing Dynepic and Air Force Operations from a training perspective since there were no other operations commanders present. I felt this was very important because the Air Force has risen to the challenge of “Accelerate Change or Lose” in a fantastic manner. However, with the almost doubled increase in training volume with Ready Airman Training (RAT) and Ready Aircrew Training Tasking Memo (RTM), the Air Force has not provided the front-line warfighter trainers with any effective training aids. In fact, there is a notable lack of training aids/devices to aid Airmen in the classified realm despite considerable shifts in required classified knowledge or training requiring some level of information protection.
The conference lacked leaders from across the Air Force enterprise, making it exceedingly difficult to create any form of unity of effort in training. This hurts the military given one of its greatest strengths is its people. The military’s junior officers and enlisted core are a decisive advantage against any peer threats of the future. These leaders can be further developed by effective training and become an even stronger force multiplier. Why isn’t the military leveraging its operational forces who are responsible for day-to-day training? Not only does AETC source its funding from the MAJCOMs, but it should also be sourcing its expertise in creating the future of operational training.
I will provide a significant example to help solve the absence of unity of effort. Currently, Air Force squadrons have no way of sharing or creating training with other like-squadrons. Every C-17 unit has a great training office that creates and houses its own training aids in a siloed fashion. The only way I have access to other squadron training materials is if I ask or have a connection with other units. There is no joint location or method of validation or sharing.
Enter: MOTAR (Member, Operations, Training, Analysis, Reports). Not only does MOTAR offer the backbone integration of all future training, but it can also act as the protected knowledge store for all current training in the system. It also has the ability for validation if a MAJCOM wants to certify “best practices.” With the ability to share all current training methods and aids with the capability to house and create all new training up to and including virtual reality, MOTAR is the future and creates unity of effort.
Operations must get involved in creating and funding the future of training with AETC so no unit is left behind. MOTAR is the starting point.