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Wing eyes Regional Training Site as location for national Agile Combat Employment instruction

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Harp
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing

The current National Defense Strategy places a primary focus on the “need to sustain and strengthen U.S. deterrence against China” as well as collaborating with – and growing – the network of U.S. allies and partners. This strategy is changing how troops train, and the 193rd Special Operations Wing is answering the call by becoming a leader in Agile Combat Employment training initiatives in the Air National Guard.

To enhance operational capabilities and adapt to evolving combat scenarios, the wing is exploring expansion of its offerings at the Regional Training Site at Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pennsylvania. This expansion would aim to incorporate ACE and multi-capable Airmen training, showcasing the wing’s commitment to staying at the forefront of modern warfare techniques.

ACE is an operational concept that emphasizes the ability to rapidly employ and disperse forces across multiple locations, mitigating the risk of concentrated targets. This approach focuses on using agility to outpace and outmaneuver the adversary, while also ensuring greater flexibility, resilience and adaptability, according to Air Force Doctrine Note 1-21, Agile Combat Employment.

“In short, ACE challenges the enemies’ targeting capabilities,” said Col. Edward Fink, 193rd SOW commander.

Due to the need for greater agility, ACE teams are built using multiple-capable Airmen who must possess not only expeditionary skills, but also a wide range of skills beyond their primary specialties, enabling them to adapt swiftly to evolving operational requirements.

Col. Eric McKissick, 193rd SOW vice commander, says the expanded training at FTIG would seek to focus on the development of these multi-capable Airmen and also fulfill larger ACE training requirements, further enhancing readiness and the total force’s ability to undertake diverse tasks in the field.

Currently, the 193rd Regional Support Group operates both the RTS and the Regional Equipment Operators Training Site at FTIG. Together these schools teach 10 different types of classes and provide 20 different types of tailored, team-based training initiatives. According to McKissick, the proven track record of RTS and REOTS makes them a great candidate – and perhaps the most economical option – to quickly evolve to support Air National Guard initiatives as an ACE Regional Training Site. As ACE capabilities expand, the cadre at FTIG are experienced to adapt to ever-changing, team-specific ACE training requirements.

McKissick acknowledges that an initial challenge of this expansion will be balancing the prioritization and instructional workload between RTS, REOTS and ACE training.

“We’re ready, but we recognize that growth comes with growing pains,” he said.

The leadership of the 193rd SOW expressed great enthusiasm for the possible expansion, recognizing its potential to bolster operational readiness and further increase the wing’s contributions to national security. Wing leaders say the next step is to discuss the details of this initiative with ANG officials to gauge interest and uncover potential roadblocks.