Coalition assignment calls for helping Hands in Afghanistan, Pakistan

  • Published
  • By Kat Bailey
  • Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs
The Air Force has positions available for up to 34 officers to join the Afghanistan Pakistan Hands program to exert strategic influence ensuring progress towards achieving U.S. government objectives in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

This year, lieutenant colonels, majors and well-qualified captains selected for major are needed in the rated, airfield management, intel, cyber, logistics readiness, security forces, civil engineers, public affairs, personnel/human resources, acquisitions/program management, finance and contracting career fields. A number of “generalist” requirements also exist that are open to any officer Air Force specialty code.

“The AFPAK Hands mission has become even more essential to our long-term regional objectives with the dissolution of the International Security Assistance Force, the stand up of Headquarters, RESOLUTE SUPPORT and transition to an Advise and Assist mission,” said Jeff Gatcomb, the AFPAK Hands program manager.

AFPAK Hands personnel rotate between positions in and out of theater at the strategic level for about four years. They serve in key advisor assignments to facilitate unity of command and effort, directly influencing operations in the region.

Interested officers have opportunities to enter the program as early as this August and can expect to deploy between February and October 2018, depending on their training dates.

“Air Force leadership stresses that properly organized, trained and equipped Airmen are the lifeblood of security cooperation,” Gatcomb said. “U.S. Airmen with language, cultural awareness, and regional and political-military skills are the face of the U.S. Air Force to international partners.”

Officers may have the opportunity to attend the National Defense University or the National Intelligence University while in the program. They will also earn joint credit under the experience-based Joint Duty Assignment program upon completion of their first deployment in the AFPAK theater, and learn critical language skills that are eligible for language proficiency pay.

Field grade officers can apply to attend Joint Professional Military Education II during their AFPAK Hand tour and will be eligible for designation as a joint qualified officer upon completion of the program.

The AFPAK Hands program was established in 2009 to create greater continuity, focus and persistent engagement on Afghanistan and Pakistan. The program is modeled after the World War II era “China Hands,” where regional experts focused on one area of expertise for extended assignments.

Volunteers should contact their respective assignment teams and update their airman development plans to volunteer.

Additional information can be found on myPers. Select “Active Duty Officer” from the dropdown menu and search “AFPAK Hands.”

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following the instructions on the Air Force Personnel Center website.