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57th OG, ATG merge functions, streamlines mission readiness

57th OG, ATG merge functions to improve interoperability

Col. John Gallemore, former 57th Adversary Tactics Group commander receives the guidon from Brig. Gen. Robert G. Novotny, 57th Wing commander as he assumes command of the 57th Operations Group as Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Schaefer II, 57th OG superintendent looks on during a change of command ceremony at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., March 31, 2020. The modest ceremony, adapted to support social distancing initiatives, marked the merger of the 57th Adversary Tactics Group and the 57th OG, placing both group functions under the leadership of one commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dwane Young)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) --

In a modest ceremony March 31, adapted to support social distancing initiatives, the 57th Adversary Tactics Group merged with the 57th Operations Group, placing both group functions under the leadership of one commander.

The ceremony, which included Col. John Gallemore, former 57th ATG commander, assuming command from Col. Raymond Millero, is the first of a multi-step approach to merge all operations group functions under one leadership chain.

“In combining these into one group structure, we can meet the National Defense Strategy of 2018,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny, 57th Wing commander. “We’re going to take some risk in the lower threat mission sets, and we’re going to prioritize our training toward the near-peer competition. By bringing the OG and ATG together under one group, it means I bring Aggressors into all of our training exercises we conduct in the 57th Wing.”

Functions previously separated across two groups are now housed within the 57th OG, providing streamlined coordination and communication under the leadership of one commander.

“It was just too much overhead,” Novotny said, referencing the previous multi-group structure. “It was too much coordination laterally in an environment, now, where we’re looking to streamline and build some efficiencies.”

This merger presented the perfect opportunity to reduce some of the procedural bureaucracy by bringing diverse, yet mutually dependent functions, under one commander.

Novotny also said the merger provides the opportunity to boost warfighter training by eliminating the cumbersome coordination previously required by visiting units participating in large-force exercises, such as Red Flag and Green Flag.

“If you came to Nellis (AFB) prior to combining the two groups, and were participating in Red Flag, you had to work with both groups,” Novotny said. “Now that we’ve combined the two groups, we will lose some overhead, but a visiting unit will only have to interface with one group leadership team to ensure they can achieve the training objective.”

The 57th OG commander now has the ability to integrate Aggressor entities, which include space, cyber, air and surface-to-air missile, or SAMS, into Green Flag training exercises, enhancing the environments and making them more conducive to real-world scenarios.

”I’m bringing the Aggressors under the same roof as the (operations) group commander, who conducts the Green Flag exercises, which means I can create a more contested, more challenging environment,” Novotny said.

Finally, the merger is a step toward increasing the efficiency of subordinate units by converting overhead into viable functions at the squadron level.

“What we’re really doing is taking all of that overhead–we’re repurposing those billets and pushing them back down into the critically-manned squadrons,” Novotny said. “I don’t think there’s anything more visible than empowering squadrons and trying to get them the manning, resources and billets they need.”

Gallemore is optimistic of the long-range success of the newly-merged group.

“I look forward to leading this talented organization, which will undoubtedly propel our warfighter training into the future,” he said. “The merging of these two groups provides a more streamlined means of doing business, not just for us, but for the units we train as well. I am confident the men and women of the 57th Operations Group will continue to improve the already exceptional advanced training the 57th Wing provides to our joint and coalition partners.”

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