Nellis activates new joint tactics unit

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The U.S. Air Force Warfare Center reactivated a squadron Sept. 29 here to better support the air expeditionary forces and assist Airman in their spin-up training process before deploying.

The 561st Joint Tactics Squadron was stood up to formalize the process of collecting tactics, techniques, procedures and lessons learned from the warfighters in theater, evaluating that information, and disseminating it back to troops preparing for deployment.

"The goal is integration of the (air and space expeditionary force) construct into an actual method to have that force ready to rotate into the current fight and to be prepared for a contingency that we're not expecting but that might happen any day," said Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein, former U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander.

In June, the warfare center held a worldwide conference to solicit ideas on how to improve the preparations for deployment. From that conference, the warfare center identified the lack of a central focal point responsible for coordinating the deployment preparation process, the need for lessons learned to be better integrated, vetted or disseminated to the warfighter, and a more adequate cycle for updating tactics, techniques and procedures in today's fast-paced, dynamic threat environment; the 561st Joint Tactics Squadron was the answer.

"We have been asked by the Air Force senior leadership to expand the mission of publishing tactical resources such as TTPs," said Lt. Col. Louis Dupuis, the newly appointed commander of the 561st JTS. "We are now also tasked with being the combat air forces central source for integrating air expeditionary spin-up training."

The squadron will utilize weapons officers as subject matter experts to collect this information through specialized conferences. They will then integrate those lessons learned and TTPs to help shape spin-up plans for units preparing to deploy, giving them the most current information from the theater.

Along with integrating this information into AEF spin-up plans, there will be other avenues to ensure the information has a wide reach to accomplish the unit's mission. The squadron will disseminate Tactics Analysis Bulletins regularly in hopes of creating a database of information for the warfighter. Also, the squadron will assist in integrating these lessons learned into exercises such as Green Flag, or incorporated into schoolhouse's syllabi like at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, to train troops with scenarios that are closely related to ones that were recently experienced in theater. This enables the warfighter to be fully prepared for current, area-of-responsibility trends as soon as they deploy.

"I stood up a new squadron, the 561st JTS, who will be lining up the new tactics and developing a rotation for units to go," General Goldfein said. "(The squadron will be) tied to our major exercises like Green Flag and Red Flag, all designed to get our units ready to cycle smoothly in and out of the fight, prepared to do what the joint force air component commander needs them to do."

Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley has stated that the Air Force needs to learn from lessons to improve current and future capabilities, focusing on real-time processes and quickly disseminate these critical lessons back to the Airmen.

Colonel Dupuis feels that despite the challenges inherent with a new squadron, "bodies, billets and funding," as he states it, it is important to build a "community of interest and support" from the rest of the combat air forces.

"We'll do this through the fruits of our labor and the opportunity to go out into the combat air forces to fly, teach and brief lessons learned and tactics," Colonel Dupuis said.

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