HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
The 505th Command and Control Wing (CCW) virtually graduated the second class of the newly created multi-domain warfare officer career field on May 8th at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
U.S. Air Force Colonel Richard Dickens, commander of the 505 CCW, said, "We're proud to graduate 20A, the Air Force's second class of Multi-Domain Warfare Officers. Trained and proficient operators at the operational level of war are an essential element to all-domain operations of the future."
The graduation ceremony was adapted in light of COVID-19 health protection guidelines but still celebrated the historic first, as a Total Force Integration class; in addition to active-duty officers, Class 20A featured the first 13O students from the Air National Guard (ANG).
"Whatever the active duty does, the Air National Guard and reserves are going to follow suit," said Lt. Col. Tracie Hough, 13O student, ANG Readiness Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. "So it was also important for us to make sure we had proper representation and support for the future of the ANG 13 Oscars because this is the future of how planning and operations are going to be conducted in the Air Force and the joint world."
"We will continue to work with our joint, coalition, and total force partners to expand the reach and impact of the 13Os out in the field," said Lt. Col. John Christianson, commander of the 705th Training Squadron (TRS). "On January 5th, 27 officers from across the globe arrived at Hurlburt Field to start their journey; they have worked tirelessly over the past 18 weeks, learning and honing their operational planning skills."
In addition to tackling a challenging training program, 13O students faced and overcame unprecedented challenges presented by an ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. About halfway through the twenty-week course, COVID-related travel restrictions affected the subject matter experts' availability as well as the cancelation of three training TDYs to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, California, and Texas.
"We used the same planning methodologies that we teach the students when figuring out how we were going to make the rest of the course effective," remarked Lt. Col. John Yi, director of operational warfare training, 705 TRS. "The joint planning process is one of the key tools that we teach, we used that same tool as instructors, to map out how exactly the rest of the course was going to be and how we were going to replace the training."
Captain Kyle Martinez, 13O student, watched as his instructors "went through the joint planning process and started to develop a plan for how they wanted to respond to COVID-19. They, just as you would during mission planning, gathered all the data, pulled in their subject matter experts, and kept us informed along the way."
When the week-long TDY to the 805th Combat Training Squadron also known as the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis (SHoC-N) on Nellis AFB, Nevada, was canceled due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, the 13O course director and course managers worked with the 505th Combat Training Squadron to find an alternate means of providing students with simulations and needed training focusing on operational command and control and mission execution from their Combat Operations Floor. This allowed the students to understand how their multi-domain plans hold up when put into execution in order to see how flexible their plans are as they react to realistic events that occur at the operational level of war while also giving them lessons learned to apply to future planning efforts.
To ensure continued dominance in the air, space, and cyberspace domains, the Air Force created the 13O Air Force Specialty Code. The 13O initial skills course is designed to produce experts who are trained to plan and execute multi-domain operations at the operational level across multiple warfighting domains.
"If we [13Os] can approach everything from the beginning of planning, from a multi-domain perspective, we can layer effects and sequence them in such a way that we can confuse and deny the enemy's ability to operate in them, but also counter whatever it is we're trying to do offensively," remarked Major David Lann, multi-domain warfare officer course director. "And also, hopefully, increase our ability to defend ourselves and our coalition partners and allies, around the world."
The 27 newly-graduated officers will fill critical command and control billets in Air Operations Centers across the Air Force. The 13O career path is designed to produce officers capable of quickly delivering multi-domain combat capability at the operational level of war across the spectrum of conflict.
Colonel Francisco Gallei, commander of the 505th Test & Training Group, addressed the graduates asking them, "What is this thing we call a 13 Oscar? After today, it's you...You are the builders of this career field, where it goes, its impact the Air Force and the joint force, and you personally, is wrapped up in your actions. Be humble, approachable, lead, provide your commander with well thought plans, and then execute them violently and with vigor."
The 505 CCW trains, tests, exercises, evaluates and develops tactics and systems for the joint warfighter to command and control multi-domain operations in a volatile, uncertain, and complex global strategic environment.