Advancing the Training Continuum

By CMSgt Tamala L. Hartz

Happy New Year! As we begin the new decade and the year 2020 we are continuing to advance our career field’s civilian, enlisted and officer training continuum. These efforts will ensure we are creating a Defender that will win in every fight!

In the last two years we have transformed Security Forces Training from recruitment to retirement. We overhauled every skill-awarding course at the SF Academy and our Military Working Dog schoolhouse. We integrated officer and enlisted training to provide necessary touch points during learning and exercise events. We formed training gates that ensure all Defenders return to the mothership for training at critical points, to match the development of their knowledge, skills and abilities with increased responsibilities. We overhauled our Civilian Defender course at the VA Law Enforcement Training Center to align training with the academy and provide the POST certification. To facilitate teaching and coaching at every base, we fashioned a Leader-Led Trainer course that focuses on providing our noncommissioned officers with the abilities and expertise to deliver training on every operational flight. All of these previous efforts have set the stage for the continuing evolution of our training in the next year.

In 2020, the focus will be on taking Defenders from ‘Qualified’ to ‘Proficient’. This initiative will require continued focus on training time and exercising skills that will build confidence and competence. Proficiency must become what we value and work towards.

Our first step is defining what a proficient Defender looks like. What is a ‘Proficient Defender’?   This is a Defender who accomplishes tasks with fluid instinctiveness and makes critical decisions with the confidence to know he/she will be successful. For example, one will identify a threat, pull their M9 Berretta from a drop holster, aim, pull the trigger and hit the intended target. This is accomplished fluidly, instinctively, and accurately. This proficiency will mature over years of training and experience resulting in smart, seasoned, and lethal Defenders who perform more like precision weapons than gravity bombs.

To begin the effort to become proficient lethal Defenders we must first modernize our home station training tools. It is essential to provide training guides and lesson plans that will arm Leader-Led Trainers and supervisors with relevant, up-to-date and accurate curricula to facilitate learning. We have reached out across the Air Force and created teams of experts to accomplish this cumbersome task. This subject-centered curriculum will provide the needed subject matter expertise to take a Defender from qualified to proficient.

With an understanding of what proficiency is and the tools to accomplish it, the last focus area is who will get us there. The answer, as it is so many times, will be our noncommissioned officers. Proficiency will be achieved through a cascade effect as our Staff Sergeants and Technical Sergeants on our operational flights learn to coach and educate, achieving higher levels of proficiency for themselves and their Defenders. Through the act of preparing for and educating others, a trainer becomes intimately familiar with the task, so much so that after the training they are also capable of executing the task to a higher proficiency level. Additionally when our flight leaders are evaluating the flight accomplishing multiple tasks during an exercise or actual event, their advanced or superior proficiency level enables them to identify the areas in which each Defender needs either additional training or more exposure to the task to increase proficiency levels.

As you can see there is a lot of work to be done, but we have the right people in the right place to ensure we create proficient, lethal Defenders who can win any fight! This is just one focus area we are getting after this year. I look forward to watching our career field mature and continuing to grow over the next 12-months. As always, thank you for what you do for our country, our Air Force, and our career field.

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