JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, addressed the major command’s trajectory of training through 2023 in a virtual media press conference Sept. 12, 2022.
Robinson oversees the Second Air Force, Nineteenth Air Force, Air University, Air Force Recruiting Service, 59th Medical Wing and 502nd Air Base Wing, organizations when combined are referred to as the “Big Six” at AETC. While focused on specific avenues of cultivating the next generation of Airmen and leaders, each of these organizations ultimately work together to lay the foundation for Airmen’s service, while accelerating change across the Air Force.
“Every Airman that comes into our service enters through AETC,” Robinson said. “We are, what we call, a foundational MAJCOM or enterprise MAJCOM because we actually touch every aspect of the Air Force.”
Reinforcing the United States Air Force’s 75-year track record of excellence in air and space operations, every Airman must have a clear understanding of where National Defense Strategy is focused – this begins with AETC.
“Our primary focus here, is returning to strategic competition,” Robinson said. “That drives us to develop the Airmen that we need to maintain the advantage. To deter, or defeat if necessary, any of the future adversaries that are laid out in the NDS.
“We're going to do that by producing, recruiting, training, and educating empowered Multi-Capable Airmen that we need to enhance our lethality and readiness and advance force development,” he said. “Basically, we need Airmen that are agile of mind, competent, credible, confident and know they're empowered to operate with the mission type orders they are given in a contested environment.”
Shaping the Airmen of the future begins with recruiting Airmen and Robinson told reporters that members of the Air Force Recruiting Service will meet the fiscal year 2022 recruiting goal. However, Robinson was cautious about future recruiting challenges, citing the need to understand future potential recruits.
Developing the Airmen we need, who are required for competition and conflict, with a near-peer adversary means adopting a mindset in preparation for both, he said.
“The first place I think we make the greatest impact at AETC, with regard to those joint-minded, warfighting, combat-credible Airmen, is through our Professional Military Education courses,” Robinson said. “We've also brought on the China Aerospace Studies Institute, otherwise known as CASI. Its mission is to advance understanding of the capabilities, development, operating concepts, strategy, doctrine [and] personnel, limitations of China's aerospace forces, which includes the [People’s Liberation Army] Air Force and [PLA] Naval Aviation, [PLA] Army Aviation and their Rocket Force.”
From PME advancements at the Air War College and Air Command and Staff College, to CASI research and training, to UPT 2.5 implementation, “next generation” training is the training for 2023 at AETC organizations.
“I’m ready to [say UPT] 2.5 is now known as the UPT of today,” Robinson said. “I intend to freeze the stick and just really work to refine it, as opposed to major evolutionary innovation in that space.”
Among the areas of improvement Robinson still has his sights on are technical training, and advancing opportunities for diversity and inclusion.
“We need to take the lessons that were learned in [the PME] space and really continue hard at pivoting to transforming technical school training,” Robinson said. “With all the specialties we have, what's absolutely critical for that Airman to be in a particular AFSC [is] to be competent and credible in their particular craft, and then how that bridges with their foundational [competencies].”
Although citing multiple short-term successes in the realm of diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as the Aim High Flight Academy’s participation statistics, and the GO Inspire program’s multitude of site visits, Robinson made clear the proof of long-term success was still not self-evident in the early stages of their implementation.
Ultimately, Robinson’s focus on developing the agile, competent and credible Airmen of the future is a multi-faceted, or multi-capable minded, vision. From foundational competencies, cognitive skills, technological literacy, and more, AETC is cultivating an environment of excellence that will extend to every major command.
“We'll find and grow those Airmen who embrace inclusivity, diversity and technology, particularly those that possess the STEM skills for the digital age warfare and competition period that we're in,” Robinson said. “That's our enduring mission - to provide mission-ready and combat-credible Airmen that are needed to deter war and provide for the security of our nation in every single mission set that's possible that the Air Force gets called to do.”