Air Force Chief of Staff Visits Nellis, Highlights Weapons and Tactics Conference Contributions to Global War on Terrorism

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The Air Force Chief of Staff, hosted by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, gave the keynote address Monday to a crowd of more than 700 Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps officers gathered at the Red Flag building for the eighth annual Weapons and Tactics Conference.

"We are a country at war," said Gen. T. Michael Moseley. "This conference lets us focus on what we should do differently to better fight today's fight, as well as what we need to do tomorrow."

General Moseley presented WEPTAC attendees with a list of more than 10 areas to concentrate on when making recommendations to Air Force leadership, such as how to better prepare people to deploy, improve Air Force integration with both joint and coalition forces, and what modifications are necessary to make existing aircraft more effective in combat.

Held at Nellis during the first two weeks of January every year and run by the Air Combat Command Weapons and Tactics Office, WEPTAC offers weapons and tactics experts from the combat air forces the opportunity to meet face-to-face and discuss war-fighting issues, including new technology, tactics and joint war-fighting.

"We are honored to have General Moseley speak to us this year," said H.A. Hamilton, Jr., logistics coordinator for WEPTAC and executive consultant for weapons and tactics for ACC. "By sharing his thoughts and experiences about combat, tactics, as well as discussing the direction the Air Force is heading, General Moseley set the tone for the second week of WEPTAC."

Involved in planning WEPTAC since its inception in 2000, Mr. Hamilton said participation in the conference has increased every year, giving warfighters - many of whom are captains and majors serving as weapons officers in the CAF - a chance to make real improvements to the way the Air Force conducts warfare.

"Seven years ago, about 240 people attended WEPTAC," he said. "This year, more than 700 true experts and integrators of tactics, a majority of whom have combat experience, have signed up to attend, share their insights and learn from one another."
The first week of WEPTAC consisted of a Tactics Review Board, with about 200 tactics experts meeting to discuss and make recommendations on CAF-wide tactics-improvement proposals. During the second week, more than 700 people participated in 35 workgroups to further discuss and refine recommendations resulting from the first week. Workgoups ranged from those representing weapons platforms like unmanned aerial systems and the A-10, to those representing mission areas such as counter air and combat search and rescue.

"I think WEPTAC is a unique opportunity for tactics experts from different mission areas, airframes and also different military services to interact," said Maj. Mike Curley, the Close Air Support working group chief. We're not only solving tactical problems happening in theaters right now, but we're also thinking about future tactical problems we may encounter."

According to Maj. Charlie Finley, who served as the WEPTAC point of contact for each of the 35 working groups and coordinated much of the conference, WEPTAC's success is the result of a true team effort.

"We want to thank the participating warfighters and hard-working workgroup chairs," said the Combat Hammer and F-15E Program Manager from Langley AFB, Va. "I especially want to highlight the phenomenal support from everyone here at Nellis. From security forces, to billeting and the officer's club -- it was a whole base effort, and we certainly appreciate it."

Ultimately, the success of this year's WEPTAC and the growing number of participants each year may reflect warfighters' confidence that their suggestions will improve the nation's capability to fight and win wars, including the Global War on Terrorism.

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