Air Force prepares UDMs, IDOs for next deployment rotation

  • Published
  • By Jon Hanson
  • Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs
Nearly 350 representatives responsible for preparing Airmen for deployments attended the latest Air and Space Expeditionary Force Execution Working Group in San Antonio on Dec. 7 and 8.

The Air Force Personnel Center's AEF and Personnel Operations directorate facilitated the two-day working group consisting of unit deployment managers, installation deployment officers and functional experts from across the Air Force.

"This is a big deal," said Maj. Gen. A.J. Stewart, the AFPC commander, who opened up the working group. "You are going to send 20,000 of the world's finest Airmen around the world to meet combatant commander requirements, and we count on you to get them ready."

The general challenged the attendees by asking a series of rhetorical questions to emphasize their responsibility to do everything to ensure their deployers are ready.

"Did we give them the right training so they can defend themselves to get the mission done?" he asked. "Did we provide them the right equipment so they are fully outfitted to do their jobs? This is important -- this is how we take care of our Airmen."

Briefers provided information on a variety of topics, including personnel, logistics, sourcing and training expeditionary Airmen.

They also discussed various tools the UDMs and IDOs use during the deployment process. These included the commander's tool kit, individual pre-deployment tool, AEF guides and AEF Online.

During the second day, AEF Next, which has been in development since November 2008, was discussed in length.

"AEF Next is an evolution, not an overhaul of the current AEF process," said Bradley Higginbotham, the chief of plans for AEF Operations. "It presents and accounts for all Air Force forces (active, Reserve and Guard) through right-sized, capability-based air power teams to satisfy the combatant commander's requirements through various elements of combat power and enabling functions."

The Air Force is working to have initial operational capability for AEF Next by October 2012 and fully operational by October 2013.

"We hope everyone walked away with a better understanding of how we go to war," said Col. Tate Johnson, the chief of the operations division for AEF Operations. "It takes a lot of detailed work to make sure we get our Airmen downrange trained, equipped and capable of doing the mission -- most of all making sure our Airmen return home ready to fly, fight and win again.

"It has to be repeatable at a standard that is nothing less than 100 percent," Johnson said. "Our major commands all add unique capabilities to the fight; however, our greatest capability resides in our Airmen. We are all in ... we don't get a second chance and have to get it right the first time."