LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --- Air Force readiness is often a topic of discussion. As recently as March 2016, during testimony to Congress, former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated, “less than half our combat forces are ready for a high-end fight.” Then, she added, “The Air Force is the smallest, oldest and least ready … across the full spectrum of operations in our history.”
However, today, the Air Force is one step closer to alleviating readiness impacts due to sortie production.
The Advanced Sortie Production Course is the first advanced course specifically focusing on the art and science of sortie production at the tactical level. The new course will take place at the Air Force’s Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Operations School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
ASPC is a 13-week course, providing students with in-depth instruction on how to use assigned people, processes and resources to maximize mission execution and increase sortie production capabilities. Students also receive academic instruction and gain insight into problem solving using personal experiences from several senior leaders.
“As a career ‘sortie producer,’ I’m envious of the knowledge you now have and I’m confident in the Air Force of the future, because you’re serving,” Brig Gen. Carl A. Buhler told the students during his visit. Buhler is the director of logistics, engineering and force protection for Air Combat Command.
Throughout the course, cadre and senior mentors provide students with plans, ideas and proven solutions for many of the current challenges seen across the Air Force. The goal of this course is for graduates to become the wing commander’s "go-to" leader who works closely with their operations group counterparts to solve complex sortie production problems.
“We have a critical readiness gap in our ability to project airpower around the globe,” said Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the ACC commander. "The talented patch wearers graduating from ASPC will work side by side with their ops-patch wearers to fill this gap."
Graduates are expected to fill the tough sortie production jobs and focus on tasks across the aircraft maintenance, munitions, and materiel management areas, as well as mentor fellow officers and enlisted members on what they learned at the course to help work through sortie production issues.
The inaugural class of ASPC students graduated Dec. 7, 2016, and the second class began Jan. 23. There are two additional classes scheduled for 2017.
Testimonials received from students in the first class demonstrated how important the course is for the logistics community at large.
Comments ranged from students looking forward to returning home and applying the new tools in shaping and producing combat capability, to praise of the intensity of the new program full of courses with actionable tactics, techniques, and procedures geared toward sortie production.
Captains and majors in the 21A, 21M, and 21R career fields are eligible for the course, but must be nominated by their wing commander to attend. Upon receiving the nominations, ACC/A4 hosts a selection board consisting of colonels from the major command staffs to select the students. Expect to see the call for nomination message for class 17B to be released mid-February 2017.