AFFORGEN Ready: PSAB establishes first command under new deployment model

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexander Frank
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

The 378th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) has established the 378th Air Base Group (ABG) during a ceremony on Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Aug. 2, 2023. The 378th ABG will include nine expeditionary squadrons within the 378th AEW. These include the 378th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness, Maintenance, Communications, Medical, Security Forces, Contracting, Force Support, Operational Support, and Civil Engineer Squadrons.

The formation of the 378th ABG at PSAB is linked to a U.S. Air Force-wide change in the execution of the Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) deployment model. The new model shifts the construct of AEWs into force elements centered upon Mission Generation, Command and Control, and establishing and operating the base. In tandem with this shift, the construct of AEW headquarters staff will transition into a Wing Air Staff, which reorganizes headquarters staff into a more mission-centric organizational construct.

During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Akshai Gandhi, 378th AEW commander, discussed the importance of these changes and how the formation of the 378th ABG will bring the 378th AEW into the future.

“We're paving new ground here in the 378th AEW,” said Gandhi. “The U.S. Air Force is presenting forces in a different way than we have in the past. We're going to take all of our base operations, support infrastructure-type functions, and…pull them together to establish a command and control element. Along with the A-Staff, this is what the 378th ABG is going to be.”

The 378th is the first AEW to adopt the ABG transitions within the U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) area of responsibility. The hope is that by incorporating these changes earlier, the 378th AEW can present a fully operational organizational structure before future rotations of Airmen arrive.

“We're the only base out of the five in AFCENT that are doing this full transition,” said Gandhi. “Our task is to be fully operationally capable in this new organizational structure to refine the processes, tactics, techniques and procedures so that we hand over a refined product to the [next] team.”

Leading the AGB is U.S. Air Force Col. Dion Flynn, who took command during an assumption of command ceremony. Gandhi spoke of how Flynn is uniquely qualified to manage the ABG given her breadth of experience across a variety of career fields during her 28-year career.

“She [has] the background that's going to help synchronize them all together,” said Gandhi. “A background in personnel, in policy, mobilization, a mission support group commander, and now she's…taking on the task of forming the ABG and transitioning our A-Staff.”

In her closing remarks, Flynn expressed how the newly formed ABG provides a streamlined organizational structure that sends a clear message to adversaries.

“We're moving to the air base structure to ensure [we’re] ready to fight from day one,” said Flynn. “We're going to work together to establish a new standard and send a message to our adversaries---don't mess with us.”