JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas –
The Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group, or SWHPSG, has implemented innovative technology to reshape the way special warfare Airmen train and are evaluated during the Special Warfare Training Wing pipeline at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
“Human performance experts and technologies are being used after the Air Force identified that special warfare candidates and operators were facing injuries and challenges that could be mitigated with up-front training,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Smith, Special Warfare Human Performance program manager. “Our goal is to provide our students with an agile training pipeline that provides tools and knowledge that helps prevent injuries during training and throughout their careers.”
The SWHPSG was established in 2018 under the Special Warfare Training Wing to support the training of Air Force special warfare candidates. To transform their pipeline members of the SWHPSG added numerous experts, such as performance dieticians, strength and conditioning coaches, physical therapists, operational psychologists and other medical staff, as well as technology, to include float tanks, wearable sensors and real-time data tracking tools to create more agile training that increases the success rate for a candidate during their career field’s training pipeline.
Two courses that utilize human performance technology are the Special Warfare Preparatory Course (SWPC) and the Assessment and Selection Course.
During the SWPC, candidates work directly with performance dieticians, performance coaches, and other experts to learn key behavior strategies they can employ, such as the importance of proper nutrition fueling strategies, sleep strategies and proper forms for exercises, to increase their physical and cognitive performance. During A&S, wearable technology systems on each candidate track their health and help the cadre to make adjustments to each day’s training objectives or instruction based on individual assessments.
“The goal is to push candidates to their limit, not to break them,” said Maj. Lindzi Torres, Special Warfare Human Performance Squadron operations officer. “By monitoring the performance status and health of each candidate, instructors can better tailor and plan training objectives in a way that test candidates’ abilities while mitigating injuries or delays in training.”
Data tracking tools used in these courses are incorporated into the entire special warfare training pipeline. In addition to real time tracking, instructors from follow-on courses have access to candidates’ profiles and are able to track historical data including injuries, training set-backs, health and performance data and points and trends.
“Our Airmen are our greatest asset, and ensuring their health is essential to their success and the readiness of our Air Force,” said Smith. “It is our priority to invest in our student’s mental and physical well-being during training and beyond.”
For more information on Air Force special operations career fields, visit https://www.airforce.com/careers/indemand-careers/special-warfare.