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Emergency management: becoming lighter, leaner, and more agile

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Echo Rogers
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing

Six Emergency Management Airmen from the 193rd Special Operations Wing traveled to Bellows Air Force Station, Hawaii to contribute to the evolution of their career field from July 17 through Aug. 1, 2022. Where once these Airmen were stationed at a central location on base and used computers to determine the effects of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attack, they now have the ability to send in robot dogs and drones to get faster and more accurate data.


This change in technology is a reality now because of the introduction of the Austere Expeditionary Reconnaissance & Surveillance Platform (AERS). This technology includes new sensors for CBRN contamination and service members’ vitals, a drone, a robot dog, a tablet, radios, and a Polaris MRZR and is a 65% reduction in weight from their old equipment.


“The AERS is accelerating change in our career field in order to meet the demands for the future fight,” Tech Sgt. Seth Daubert, 193rd Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron installation emergency manager said.


That future fight, according to Daubert, calls for CBRN to become lighter, leaner, and more agile.


The AERS platform was created to move CBRN in that direction. Not only is it a 65% reduction in weight from their old equipment, all technology is also all stored on a Polaris MRZR. This vehicle can be airlifted by rotary wing or placed in the back of a plane unlike previously where CBRN has to rely solely on larger fixed wing aircraft to transport their gear.


This future fight also means teaching Airmen to be multi-functional. They must not only be proficient in their primary duty as CBRN experts, but also are expected to complete tasks outside of their career field, for example land navigation and small team tactics.


Senior Master Sgt. Michael Link, 193rd Special Operations Wing Superintendent of Safety, is hoping in the near future to select multi-functional Airmen to create teams supporting Air Force Special Operations Command missions.


“When we’re fighting an enemy with the same capabilities as us, we need to have a much smaller footprint, be more mobile, and be very, very agile,” Link said. 


In order to accomplish this, Link said it is important Airmen are multi-functional. That way they need fewer people on a team since everyone is trained in multiple skills. Fewer people means teams can move faster.


This is part of what the 193rd Emergency Management Flight was honing in Hawaii. Their 12-man team was cut down to four Airmen, and their mission completely changed. They were working as a support team for a down range unit, instead of being stationed at a central location on base.


This kind of major change was a big challenge for Emergency Management, but despite the obstacles, Daubert said his Airmen learned how to adapt to these new changes.


“It was neat to see them operate and use their minds to figure it out. They did really well, and I was really happy with their results out there,” Daubert said.


These Airmen, including Daubert, were also given guidance from the 24th Marine Air Group. Two Airmen worked alongside two CBRN defense Marines to accomplish their practice missions. This teamwork provided a unique and different perspective on their career field according to Daubert.


“The future fight for the Air Force and the rest of our sister services will be fighting together. This is especially true in CBRN so having that ability to work together was key. The more you know about CBRN the better you are at the job,” Daubert said. 


While Daubert knows there is still a lot to learn about their evolving career field, he’s excited about what the future holds and hopes to one day have an AERS here.


“Everything that our career field is doing right now is to support the hub mission set coming our way, and everything that we’ve been doing this past year or two is to help enable us to be an asset for that future fight,” Daubert said.