Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photographer Keith Keel
The 505th Command and Control Wing graduated its third class of the United States Air Force’s newest career field, multi-domain warfare officers, also known as “Thirteen Oscars,” on November 20 at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
The multi-domain warfare officer career field was created in line with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s vision to develop dedicated operational-level command and control experts responsible for integrating joint and coalition capabilities across multiple warfighting domains.
Sixteen officers from across the globe arrived at the 705th Training Squadron to start the 20‑week multi-domain warfare officer initial skills course in July 2020. During the course, they honed their operational planning skills.
“Class 20 Bravo, you are the third cadre of Air Force officers to complete the 13 Oscar initial skills training course and become Air Force, multi-domain warfare officers. You are still trailblazers; therefore, all eyes will be on you when you arrive at your new duty station,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Francisco Gallei, 505th Test & Training Group commander. “As 13 Oscars have become better known, the demand is growing for your expertise, this is a result of what previous classes brought to their commands. After today, you join that group, and your actions will set the tone.”
In addition to active-duty officers, class 20B featured multi-domain warfare officers from the Michigan and Missouri Air National Guard. The schoolhouse continues to work with joint, coalition, and total force partners to expand the reach and impact of 13 Oscars out in the field.
Class 20B was the first class of multi-domain warfare officers trained in Agile Combat Employment. The 13 Oscars that plan for ACE operations must understand how to capture the commander’s intent through mission-type orders, multi-day tasking documents, and condition-based authorities. When done correctly, these components enable operational elements to execute in a contested and denied communications environment while maintaining offensive momentum in the conflict.
The 2018 National Defense Strategy directed the development of innovative operational concepts and new technology to be more lethal, adaptive, resilient, and able to fight effectively alongside allies and partners; ACE was one way the Air Force answered the NDS need. Executing ACE will enable the force to transition to a smaller footprint, dispersed personnel, resilient manpower and equipment, and adaptive basing procedures.
During an interview with Airman Magazine in March, CSAF Gen. Charles Q. Brown said, “in order for ACE to work, the service must rethink the way it operates. Most Airmen can no longer focus on a single, narrowly defined Air Force Specialty Code. Instead, they must be ready to do tasks outside that specialty to minimize the number of Airmen needed in any given contingency. The concept will not apply to every Airman, but for those that are affected, the additional skills will be like a secondary specialty.”
“With all of the complexity that ACE brings to the mission, a firm understanding of how it all integrates and changes command relationships is required,” said Lt. Col. John Staudt, III, 505th Command and Control Wing operations officer. “The 13O is ideal for planning and executing the ACE concept due to their training in the joint planning process, domain integration, and operational-level focus.”
The guest speaker for the graduation, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, Sixteenth Air Force commander, addressed the graduates, “as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force recently stated, ‘dominance is not a birthright.’ As we blaze forward to increase our outcomes in the information environment, you will help lead the way in all-domain ensuring dominance across the spectrum. The demand for new outcomes will continue to increase, and we will scale our operations to address additional global problems.”
Haugh continued, “You will foster invaluable partnerships with combatant commands and interagencies, and you will create multi-domain dilemmas for our adversaries that impose cost and preserve our national values and way of life. I know there is no problem an empowered Airman cannot solve.”
The 16 newly-graduated officers will fill critical command and control billets in Air Operations Centers, Air Operations Groups, Air Support Squadrons, and training squadrons across the U.S. Air Force.
In each class, there are students whose performance warrants special recognition. The distinguished graduates for class 20B were Maj. Benjamin “Driver” Elias and Capt. Michael “SPAM” Weaver. Capt. Weaver was also awarded the Academic Ace Award for the highest academic average in the class.
The Odysseus Leadership Award, based not only on academic performance but excellence in leadership, followership, and overall contributions through the entire course, was awarded to Capt. Anthony “Leaker” Carillo.
”Every year, the 705th Training Squadron and the 505th CCW conduct two 13 Oscar initial skills classes, preparing future graduates for operations in a volatile, uncertain, and complex global strategic environment. The instructor cadre and support team has done an amazing job this year to continue these courses safely during the COVID-19 pandemic and 2021 will be no different when class 21A will begins in January,” said Lt. Col. John Christianson, 705th TRS commander.