The Air Force announced Aug. 5 it is in the final phases of transitioning to a new force generation model to balance today’s combatant commander needs while building high-end readiness for the future.
Replacing the current Air Expeditionary Force construct with a 24-month cycle composed of four, six-month readiness phases, the Air Force Force Generation, or AFFORGEN, model ensures a sustainable force offering of Airmen and airpower to the Joint Force. AFFORGEN is projected to reach initial operating capability in fiscal year 2023.
“Under the current AEF construct, we’ve lacked the ability to present an easily understood model that reflected all facets of airpower and the ability to clearly articulate readiness impacts,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “After nearly two decades of demanding rotational deployments, we are shifting to a model that builds high-end and sustainable readiness toward future missions by balancing elements of current availability, modernization and risk.”
The four phases of the AFFORGEN model will occur over a 24-month period and in alignment with the Joint Staff’s three-phase model. Each phase is distinctive in nature:
• Available to Commit – Similar to today’s normal deployment phase. Airmen have achieved peak readiness and are either deployed or ready to deploy. Some examples include Immediate Response or 9-1-1 forces.
• Reset – In this phase, the unit returns from deployment or is removed from the Available to Commit phase and focused on reintegration and reconstitution. Airmen reintegrate with families, take post-deployment leave, re-establish currencies and get back to basic proficiency.
• Prepare – Building toward peak unit readiness while shielded from deployment. Airmen complete advanced upgrade training and multi-mission unit package training.
• Ready – Working to achieve a high level of readiness above the unit level for the high-end fight environment. Units come together from multiple wings to train and complete certifying events such as flag exercise, Neptune Events, Weapon School Integration and other Large Force Exercises.
“Our 2018 Readiness deep dive found that the use of airpower outpaced force generation for the past 18 years,” said Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, deputy chief of Staff for Operations. “This new model will make it easier for us to articulate available forces to the combatant commanders.”
The new construct balances trade-offs between short and long-term elements of structural readiness for the Air Force such as modernization, stabilizing manning, resourcing units to sustain higher levels of readiness and better informing corporate resourcing, and budgeting decisions.
“We will be better positioned to identify unintended impacts if our capabilities are being re-tasked for a different mission,” Guastella said. “Just because they are available, doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready.”
Major Commands including Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Mobility Command and Air Force Global Strike Command are transitioning squadrons to this mode, enabling support to combatant commands while focusing on Brown’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” priorities.
“To accelerate change in defense of national security, we need to focus on building a more lethal and modern force concentrated on maximizing future capabilities,” Brown said. “The success of this model requires nothing less than a cultural shift by preserving forces as we move away from the mentality of the past toward a more sustainable model enabling the Air Force to deliver Airpower … anytime, anywhere.”