by Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
Air Force Print News
2/3/2006 - ORLANDO, Fla. -- Civilians wanting to be Airmen are going to have to tough it out for an additional two and a half weeks at basic military training, said the Air Force's top general here Feb. 2.
Airmen graduating from BMT are going to be better trained and better equipped to be war fighters, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley during the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium.
"My belief is that every Airman should be ready the minute they graduate for the air expeditionary force that is today's Air Force," he said. "We demand a lot of those kids when they get out into the field, and they have to be better prepared for the challenges they face out there."
The additional weeks will give more time for Airmen to be trained on war-fighting skills they would encounter in a deployed combat location, such as the use of small arms and emergency medical skills.
Airmen need to have more awareness about the Air Force expeditionary business, General Moseley said.
New Airmen will not be the only ones getting trained for global and expeditionary warfare. Senior noncommissioned officers and field grade officers will soon be required to take up a new language as part of their professional military training.
"Starting next year, the students down at Maxwell (Air Force Base, Ala., home to Air University and the Senior NCO Academy) are going to see a more robust education that is going to prepare them to be leaders in this global war on terror, and that includes language education" General Moseley said. "It is going to be mandatory that they take one of four languages: Arabic, French, Spanish and Chinese. This will enable them to go to other countries, not only in the (Middle East), but in the sub-Sahara, and be able to better work in those regions."
General Moseley said Air Force leaders are seeking ways to make education opportunities more accessible to its force.
"We want to put options out there for distance learning and advanced degrees," he said. "A higher education is of immense value to our Airmen, especially our senior NCOs and junior officers."