Doctrine outreach improves airmen performance

  • Published
  • By Maj. Patti Frisbie
  • Air Force Doctrine Center Public Affairs
In an ongoing effort to increase awareness and understanding of doctrine, the Air Force Doctrine Center here has taken on a more missionary type of role. If feedback and firsthand reports from the field are an indication, it appears AFDC's efforts to share the doctrine "gospel" have had an impact.

Center workers have a mission to develop accurate, readable and current Air Force doctrine. This is complimented by actions to ensure doctrine spreads across the Air Force in a way that increases awareness and understanding among all airmen.

The center's campaign to reach airmen of all ranks and experience levels is multifaceted. Besides developing a series of publications that address capabilities and the application of air and space forces across the range of military operations, other "user friendly" products were created.

"50 Questions" and "50 More Questions" were designed to help people become more comfortable with the principles of air and space power.

"Our doctrine explains the best way to prepare and employ air and space forces," said Maj. Gen. David F. MacGhee Jr., center commander. "It explains why air and space forces are different, how they should be organized and employed, and why it's best to do things in certain ways. Given the air and space expeditionary environment we operate in, we all benefit from this knowledge."

The doctrine products and personalized attention are paying off.

"We get comments all the time on how doctrine is improving airmen effectiveness as they perform their duties," said Lt. Col. Matt Erichsen, the director of doctrine outreach at AFDC. "Just a few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a squadron commander who couldn't say enough about the value and usefulness of these tools."

One of the commander's officers, a pilot, recently deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, to help coordinate airlift flow through the area. Before departing, he was given a copy of Air Force Doctrine Document 2, Organization & Employment of Aerospace Power, and a copy of the "50 Questions" booklet. While the pilot did not see the relevance at the time, his commander knew he would eventually.

"Pack this in your (bag), set it on your duty desk, and when you start scratching your head about who works for whom, pull this out and read it," said Lt. Col. James Ayers, commander of the 1st Airlift Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. "Then you'll understand why I gave it to you."

The pilot returned and told his boss that the doctrine publication and the "50 Questions" booklets in particular were a gold mine. He said the materials gave him and his fellow airmen the "doctrinal high ground" in debates with their sister-service counterparts.

"Imagine that ... airmen, in Bagram, Afghanistan, with the doctrinal high ground," Ayers said.

The airman with the doctrine success story was not steeped in doctrine. He has spent most of his career as a pilot and currently flies distinguished visitor aircraft out of Andrews AFB. Doctrinal debates have never been part of his daily duties. Yet it appears the products made available by the center gave him the ability to understand and apply doctrine effectively while advocating air and space power in a joint environment.