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Editorial Abstract: This article proposes a simple but powerful model for base-level command to use in organizing, writing, and assessing bare-base-support plans; determining buildup priorities; and executing bare-base operations. The author believes that the model could -become a common Air Force construct, standardizing language so that all levels of command can understand and coordinate with each other on how to generate airpower from a bare base.
The Air Force must document the lessons learned from standing-up and operating bare bases during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This project requires thoroughly detailing those successful procedures developed through experience at allied bases and on bases captured during the war. The new Eagle Flag exercise shows that the Air Force is serious about this type of learning. During OIF, I had the unique opportunity to participate in planning, building, and fighting from two deployed locations: Al Jaber Air Base (AB), Kuwait, as the vice-commander of an air expeditionary wing (AEW) and Tallil AB, Iraq, as the Air Force commander. This article identifies ways to improve current Air Force instructions (AFI) on base assessment and planning. My recommendations are based on a model that I found very useful, and this article will discuss how I applied it to the situations at Al Jaber and Tallil. I am optimistic that if it is fully understood, the Air Force will adopt it or a similar model to further standardize bare-base operations and assist future bare-base commanders.
AFI 10-404, Base Support and Expeditionary Site Planning, provides the Air Force outline for writing a base support plan (BSP). However, from my perspective as a base-level leader on the ground prior to and during OIF, the instruction proved to be inadequate for senior commanders. The content and organization failed to reflect real-world problems and never seemed to bond the various parts of a base that must come together to execute the mission. A BSP should be more than a catalog of physical facts and figures; it should explore the functionality of the various aspects of the base. In its finest form, the BSP needs to be a detailed template of how to fight the base—employ the base like a weapons system.
An air base is a complex machine that has so many moving parts and interdependent elements that one can easily become overwhelmed by its complexity and mesmerized by only a portion of the operation. To organize my thoughts, I (with much assistance from others) developed a model (fig. 1) to aid in understanding the complexity of how an air base generates airpower and to keep Airmen or commanders from concentrating on only one aspect of that process to the detriment of the whole. This model can help future commanders quickly analyze and set priorities for limited resources, identify gaps, and predict the impact those gaps might have on mission accomplishment. The model had to be kept simple, easy to remember, and re-creatable on a single sheet of paper because complex multipage wiring diagrams generate their own requirements and are not easily created or communicated at remote locations.
Figure 1. Airpower 101 expeditionary air base model
The function of any air base is to provide sustained airpower. The three essential “air” components of airpower—aircrew, aircraft, and airfield—form the basis of this model. Each of these components is in turn supported by three elements. As a memory key, the aircrew and aircraft elements begin with a “p” to connote the power of airpower. The power elements of aircrew are purpose, planning, and procedures. For aircraft the elements are parts; petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL); and payload. The airfield elements begin with an “s” to show that sustained airpower begins and ends at airfields. The airfield sustainment elements are surfaces, security, and services. The services are flying-related and include activities like air traffic control (ATC), weather (WX), and base operations but not dining, billeting, or morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR).
In developing this model’s structure, I recognized a wing-command-level responsibility for airpower; a group-level responsibility for the air components of aircrew, aircraft, and airfield; and squadron-level responsibilities for the power and sustaining elements of the components. This gave me confidence that the model did have some validity, because it reflected how the Air Force has generally been organized while I have been on active duty. The model seemed incomplete until the fundamental “power” component of people (Airmen) was added as the foundational underpinning. So across the bottom of the model (fig. 2) “people” needs were added in priority order: air, water, food, shelter, hygiene, and recreation.
Figure 2. Airpower 101 expeditionary air base model, including people
This dissection of airpower was simple and easy to understand. It reflected a hierarchy similar to the Air Force organizational construct, and I could hand-draw it on a single page and explain it in less than 15 minutes. The model helped me keep “the big picture” of what the air base was there to do and quickly focus on the important intricacies of building or operating an air base. It provided a useful tool to show how an organization or an individual contributed to airpower.
Over the years, commanders did an excellent job building up Al Jaber AB to accomplish the Operation Southern Watch (OSW) airpower mission. However, OIF highlighted some limitations in expanding airpower opera-tions at that location beyond the OSW level. If the United States and other coalition members were going to execute intense combat operations against Iraq, geography and politics established Al Jaber AB as critical to those operations. This became evident as Al Jaber AB eventually housed the majority of combat search and rescue (CSAR) assets and more fighters than any other base in the theater. It also served as the primary divert base for southern Iraq and Gulf-based fighter aircraft. I would like to believe that some of the success the 332d AEW and Al Jaber AB enjoyed during OIF was due to use of this model in planning for expanded operations.
The model was born out of necessity. Between August and December 2002, the 332d transitioned from an air expeditionary group (AEG) to an AEW and then converted to the new Air Force combat-wing organizational structure, which included a maintenance group. Simultaneously, the new 332d AEW saw its OSW tasking increase in intensity and duration, while it hosted base operational support for US Marine Corps planning and US Navy Seabee construction projects. These operations gave a fairly broad span of control at Al Jaber AB for the newly transitioned AEW commander, who oversaw 13 squadrons with little group-level supervision or assistance until late December. The Air Force reorganization from logistics groups to maintenance groups also created several leadership gaps in the newly formed squadrons. Al Jaber AB had 24 permanent-party personnel while other personnel rotated in for the standard 90-day air expeditionary force (AEF) cycle that further complicated the reorganization and hurt continuity. We could not afford to waste time or resources doing anything twice; therefore, the model helped as both a readiness--assessment tool and as a construct for planning expanded operations.
As a simple readiness tool at the base level, I could get a quick snapshot of each of the nine elements that support airpower and the different people areas. I could then better articu-late my areas of concern to the wing commander. As an example, the aircrew component was getting a lot of attention when I arrived at Al Jaber AB. The combined air operations center (CAOC) was still smarting from the Tarnak Farms incident in Afghanistan, during which US Air Force F-16s, thinking they were taking ground fire, dropped ordnance on Canadian forces practicing on a small-arms training range. After this incident, every OSW mission had extensive briefing requirements that were e-mailed and used in aircrew briefings to ensure that aircrews knew their purpose and that CAOC leadership was comfortable with the planning.1 Due to the small number of aircraft involved in OSW missions at the time and the fidelity of the air picture, CAOC leadership could maintain detailed information on individual mission procedures. This scrutiny found and corrected any deviations from the purpose, approved plan, and standard procedures.
From my assessment, the aircraft component was equally well positioned for OSW in regards to parts and mission-capable (MC) rates. OSW was manned to blunt an Iraqi attack, but the sanction-enforcement mission meant flying at a much lower sortie rate. Because OSW was a long-term contingency action, supply lines and maintenance operations were well established and perfected over several years—aircraft normally had better MC rates when forward deployed than at home station. POL, on the other hand, needed to be expanded. Leaders above the wing level recognized the need to deliver more fuel and construct more storage at Al Jaber AB, but we needed to work on methods to get the fuel from storage to the aircraft. The payload element needed some work, and we increased the size of the munitions storage area over fivefold to meet OIF requirements.
By using the model, we detected some problems with the airfield component. The Kuwaitis ran the airfield well, but like all military facilities, the airfield could always use some improvements. Surfaces (ramps, taxiways, and runways) were adequate for OSW but were cramped during Operation Enduring Freedom and needed ongoing maintenance to alleviate foreign-object-damage concerns. The Marines assisted in expanding the surfaces by having Navy Seabees construct a new concrete ramp for their operations, and I used the model to first frame and then sell the Air Force on the construction of two new contingency asphalt ramps and a taxiway. Despite that, the ramps’ inadequate size and the positioning of facilities forced the wing to -accept an increased risk associated with the storage and loading of weapons, which necessitated an application for multiple munitions- quantity-distance waivers. Although adequate for OSW operations, airfield services (ATC, base ops, WX) were not what we would have liked. For example, expeditionary lighting, even after all this time, was still being used for the inside runway and taxiway. The Kuwaiti and US forces had plans to fix all these things—eventually. However, since OSW requirements and Kuwaiti operational requirements were adequately if not perfectly met, these requirements remained below the resource cutoff line, and available assets were committed to other, more pressing, problems. Resources were reprioritized when OIF became a more likely possibility. The security element was a bit more troublesome. The bombings of the Khobar Towers, the African embassies, and the attacks on the USS Cole made security a daunting task. Our desire was to meet every possible terrorist threat in addition to the more conventional missile and aircraft threats. Instead, we were often left with impossible security problems, resulting from long-term infrastructure decisions made years before any of these events occurred. Only starting over could fix many of these problems, and that was usually impractical, fiscally impossible, or politically unthinkable. More often than not, we tried to make the best of the situation by attempting to mitigate the potential risks identified during the many inspections and security surveys.
The model worked beautifully as an assessment tool, because in only one page it encapsulated in a logical and easy-to-remember way the entire operation of an air base. It helped me to quickly pinpoint the weak spots that needed work and the strong areas that only required monitoring. It was a Rosetta stone that I would continually go back to when multiple issues from disparate groups clamored for priority.
As an assessment tool, the model helped me identify things at Al Jaber AB that needed improvement, but its real strength was revealed while planning for OIF. Early on, I attempted to use the two parts of the BSP as a template for determining what we needed to accomplish at Al Jaber AB to be ready for war. From my viewpoint, the format and organization that AFI 10-404 directs for a BSP proved inadequate for the task at hand. The guidance it provides may work fine from the perspective of being at the bottom and looking up; however, from the top looking down, it appeared very stovepiped, fragmented, and disorganized. For example, to learn how a BSP recommends transporting munitions to an aircraft, I had to look in chapters 7, 8, 22, and 25. Unlike a wing commander, the authors of each of these chapters did not necessarily consider all the limitations that had constrained the authors of other chapters. My initial review of the BSP, which was written by previous 332d AEW members for repelling an Iraqi attack during OSW, revealed that although each process appeared to work on its own, they would not have worked when integrated together to support OIF. We needed a BSP that could fight the base.
On the other hand, the model represents the four things that must come together to create airpower:
1. Getting the aircrews ready
2. Generating the aircraft for combat
3. Setting up an airfield to launch and recover aircraft
4. Providing life support for the Airmen that execute the above
The model divided the three air components into the necessary power and sustaining elements. I wanted each of the resulting nine elements in the BSP to have a value chain that maps the different stages of that element and shows how and where its value is enhanced to become a key part of airpower.2 For example, I gave my squadron commanders the generic value chain of source, storage, distribution, buildup, delivery, upload, and disposal/reclamation for them to adjust as necessary and then use to describe the process that generates their specific product or service. It took imagination to equate the information that the aircrews received from the CAOC commander’s guidance and air tasking orders (ATO) comprising the source of purpose, stored in the aircrew’s brain, and uploaded when they climbed into their cockpits. Likewise intelligence; airspace control orders (ACO); ATOs; WX; and tactics, techniques, and procedures from instructions, manuals, or technical orders began the value chains of planning and procedures that were uploaded when aircrews took their positions. The maintenance value chains that generate aircraft; move, store, and deliver fuel; and store, build up, deliver, and load munitions were often a little easier to visualize. Security used different names in its value chain: deter, detect, defend, and defeat to cover both the physical and procedural aspects of security. Airfield services were further broken down into ATC, base operations, and WX before their value chains were described. The model permitted me to easily assign an office of primary responsibility (OPR) to each of the different sections of the BSP and to see the inter-relationships and coordination requirements between the OPR and the other squadrons and functions needed to support the section’s planning effort.
Now that the nine elements of the three components of airpower had their generic value chains started, we took particular care of the “people” component of the model—the foundation of airpower—which includes Airmen and the supporting civilians and contractors. Each aspect of the people component had its own value chain. For example, although air is usually abundantly available, I incorporated “air” into the chemical-warfare value chain of the BSP along with the possible requirement to make clean air. The bottled drinking water we used at Al Jaber AB already had a value-chain process and just needed to be expanded to account for our increase in population. Food also needed to be increased. The upload step of that value chain required some creativity to feed (upload) 7,000 people at one meal. Another expansion plan adjusted Al Jaber AB’s shelter to accommodate a larger population. The Marines built their own tent city, and the Air Force stuffed more bodies into the available space. Hygiene planning created the nonpotable (used in toilets and showers) water and trash-collection value chains along with the expeditionary medical support (EMEDS) that included the preventive medicine and acute care necessary for Airmen’s health. The rest and recreation value chains considered all established MWR activities, selecting and sizing the appropriate activities and services.
Although the 332d AEW wrote its BSP to match the format contained in AFI 10-404, I judged each aspect of the plan by my model and sent those chapters back to the authors if their plans did not meet the logic and parameters outlined above. The model gave me a quick template to judge the plan and make sure all of its parts were seamlessly dovetailed into a workable plan. While no plan ever survives contact with the enemy, the planning that was accomplished to create that BSP gave us a solid foundation to work with. As the number-two Air Force guy at Al Jaber AB, I used the model to adjust priorities during the base’s buildup phase for OIF. It was a more logically coherent construct from which to operate and was more capable of predicting outcomes than if we had worked only under AFI 10-404. I depended on the model, not the AFI 10-404 product, during the buildup and early fight.
In late March 2003, tankers were in short supply. The apparent onset of stiffening Iraqi resistance and the looming battle for Baghdad made Tallil AB in southern Iraq look like an excellent choice for establishing an A-10 forward operating location (FOL) and a ground-forces logistics center. I deployed via an HH-60 helicopter to Tallil AB at the end March to assume duties as the Air Force group commander, with an imperative to establish A-10 operations. Col A. Ray Myer, USA, beat me there by a few days. He was the Global Airfield Assessment Team (GAAT) chief and had arrived with the Army support forces, following the lead elements of the Army 3d Infantry Division. By the time I arrived, Colonel Myer and his team (which included a combat control team) had completed their airfield survey; opened a runway for night, blackout, engine-running offload (ERO) operations; and were working other airfield issues. A convoy from the 332d AEW at Al Jaber AB arrived during this time frame. It consisted of fuel and fire trucks, a security detail, a very limited aircraft squadron of British engineers with their heavy equipment, and a squadron of security forces from the 820th Special Forces (SF) group with a group command support element. Prior to my arrival, the 332d AEW established a CSAR detachment of HH-60s to operate out of Tallil AB, air-refueling them just prior to landing. US Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) had forward-deployed communications and logistical representatives to be a direct link with headquarters experts and resource owners to expedite getting the right materials with the right priority moving our way to make Tallil operational sooner.
In March 2003, Tallil AB was an air base in name only. The Iraqis had not flown aircraft out of it since 1991, when we bombed the base during Operation Desert Storm. During OSW the airfield housed Iraqi air defense functions, was in the southern no-fly zone, and had a limited civilian presence. For all of those reasons, buildings on Tallil continued to be attacked by the US forces carrying out sanction-enforcement operations. The runways, taxiways, and ramps had not been maintained, water supplies were brought in by trucks, and a system of portable generators and batteries provided the only available electrical power. Tallil looked like what it was—an airfield the Iraqis had lost to their enemy. However, Tallil AB did have several features to commend it for use by coalition forces: its runways were not cratered; it was located south of the Euphrates River; it was twice as close to Baghdad as was Al Jaber AB; it was along a major supply route from the south; and it was essentially isolated from any significant civilian populations. An Nasiriyah was seven miles away and on the other side of the river.
To rapidly generate airpower from Tallil, I looked to the model that had served me so well at Al Jaber AB. Again, using it as a quick reference helped me establish the priorities needed to initially establish a refuel and turn-around location for A-10 aircraft, transition that capability into an A-10 FOL, and develop an operating location for airpower. Since Colonel Myer continued to run the airlift and airfield operations, including surfaces and services, I started working with the newly arrived security forces. I initially ignored the aircrew part of the model’s aircrew component and relied on Al Jaber AB or in-place command and control to give aircrews the information they needed. I concentrated on the aircraft component, and the model rapidly led me to select POL as my first priority. I was counting on Al Jaber AB to send only fully mission--capable (FMC or Code 1) aircraft that only needed fuel. Early on, we mostly supplied consumables (chaff, flares, and a few reloads of munitions) to top off and turn aircraft that had partially expended their loads.
The POL value chain began with the Army as the source. Army tanker trucks were required to deliver fuel to Tallil AB to be stored in fuel bladders. The Iraqis had been considerate enough to have built and left behind a bermed area that just happened to fit our 50,000-gallon bladder. Thanks to a great NCO, the fuels troops soon had a bladder in position, full, and ready to make Tallil an aircraft-refueling stop. We used the small pumps that we had brought from Al Jaber AB to refill the fuel trucks, which created a functioning, albeit slow, POL value chain. This capability was tested less than two days later when the helicopters used in the rescue of Jessica Lynch were refueled at Tallil AB. Simultaneously, British engineers built fuel-pit berms next to the A-10 parking area to make it easy to accomplish either truck or hot-pit aircraft refueling. Additionally, my fuels troops and the CENTAF logistics representative were working all ave-nues to get us the bigger pumps that would increase our capability.
While I was running fast to get airpower generated out of Tallil, the model also reminded me that I could not forget the people aspect of the model’s Airmen component. Although we had covered our air concerns and were prepared to use the one set of chemical gear that we had brought with us, we needed to establish the other people value chains—water, food, shelter, hygiene and, later, recreation. Initially we used bottled water, meal ready to eat (MRE) rations, and some abandoned Iraqi buildings to supplement our very limited number of tents for shelter. Although the Army was our source for water and food, we were a very small part of its huge sustainment task. An open runway and an attached HH-60 CSAR detachment at Tallil AB gave us the opportunity to move our food and water on the 332d AEW’s HC-130 aircraft that were supporting the rotation of CSAR personnel into and out of Tallil. Al Jaber AB was a supplemental, or backup, source for getting these things from the Army, especially bottled water. With this alternate source of water, I was able to avoid the Army’s bottled-water rationing, thus avoiding a risky measure. As a stopgap measure, we used old Iraqi facilities as shelter for both work centers and living locations until the Harvest Falcon structures arrived.3 Hygiene was a daunting task, given the limited amount of water and the many demands for it. Fortunately, the British engineers were innovative, digging slit trenches with their heavy equipment to help create functioning latrines; then, they used their limited plywood to make outhouse supports and seats using tarps for the walls. They also built showers from scrap material, using the existing Iraqi water storage tanks located on the tops of buildings, and drained the showers’ wastewater into cisterns as septic tanks. The Brits also developed improvised washing machines using Iraqi kitchen sinks. Our hygiene water had to be delivered by Army trucks from off base where reverse osmosis water purification units (ROWPU) provided the source of support for our personal hygiene requirements for the first month of flight operations. We established an alternate delivery method/value chain, separate from the Army, using HC-130s from Al Jaber AB to deliver the critical people support—water, food, and other hygiene--related items. British engineering personnel provided a great deal of help during the early buildup of Tallil. This was probably not the preferred solution for bare-base buildup, but since time was of the essence and Harvest Falcon assets were not available, I used all existing means. I still needed to address the preventive and acute medical-care aspect of hygiene. This was a less pressing issue since the Army had already located a combat surgical hospital on Tallil AB. Recreation was not yet a pressing problem since we did not have any free time and were too exhausted for anything other than resting in our make-do shelters. Although we were surviving, our living standard was not yet people- sustainable, and we still had much to do. Hopefully, these examples illustrate the strength of the model and how it was used to determine the order of the people priorities that I communicated to Al Jaber AB with requests for assistance. The fact that we used the model at Al Jaber AB gave us a common reference and assisted us in getting our needed support.
As an organizing construct, the model proved to be my most valuable tool in quickly defining and executing the many concurrent tasks needed to get Tallil AB up and running. It was simple to remember, and easy to use in an expeditionary environment. It also encompassed a logic that permitted me to talk to either higher headquarters about capabilities and requirements or to my newest Airmen about how they personally supported airpower production, using the same diagram for both discussions. I used it to quickly organize my thoughts and explain to others how the whole Tallil effort fit together; yet, for all its power and usefulness, it was still missing something. Standing up Tallil proved to be an onerous task, despite the insight the model provided.
As I considered the plethora of roadblocks that I encountered during the buildup of Tallil, I discovered that there was an additional layer under the model—the background infrastructure grids—that goes unnoticed if present and functioning, but if absent, raises barriers at every turn. The infrastructure that enables every air base includes basic power, water, road, transportation, and communication grids. Tallil’s underlying grids were lacking because they were incompatible with our requirements, insufficient to our needs, in such disrepair as to be unreliable, or destroyed earlier in OSW. The imperative to quickly get Tallil AB producing airpower forced me to balance rebuilding infrastructure value chains with building airpower because I did not have the equipment, material, or manpower resources to do both simulta-neously. I would also add a fifth infrastructure category called “facilities.” Facilities infrastructure was the shelter needed by the work centers and is similar to the shelter people needed, as shown in the model’s Airmen component. In the end, the balance of effort that generated airpower the quickest caused resources to be diverted from some people-sustainment efforts to make temporary grids. All of the components came together, and the 407th AEG made airpower happen. However, the Airmen who served at Tallil AB during March and April lived and worked without the normal infrastructure that makes airpower sustainable over the long haul. Still those Airmen were able to produce A-10 combat sorties by 2 April 2003, less than a week after arrival, a testament to how expeditionary the Air Force can be if required by the situation.
With infrastructure grids added as background to the model (fig. 3), I could then at least articulate the Tallil AB challenges to headquarters and convey to the Tallil Airmen that they were temporarily sacrificing their personal comfort for a greater good and that their patience would eventually be rewarded with better facilities. I believe the model captures all the important aspects of standing up and fighting an expeditionary air base.
Figure 3. Airpower 101 expeditionary air base model, including people
Political considerations come into play, especially when building up bases in allied countries, and may add extra layers and coordination cycles to the decision-making process as a commander develops all the value chains that are necessary to function. While these political aspects do not affect the fundamentals of the model, their ramifications often become a primary influence on how the value chains operate and are always a starting point in understanding what is permissible in another country.
Eventually, the bare-base Harvest Falcon assets caught up with the pace of personnel deployments to Tallil AB; then, water, power, and facility infrastructures were constructed to support both airpower and people requirements. Communications infrastructure leveraged the existing Iraqi conduits; together they produced a functional grid on base—at least for work-center phones and computers and connected to long-haul grids to get us off base. Existing roads began to be repaired and additional roads constructed. Each of the nine elements of the three airpower components continued to develop even more capable and functional value chains. The base could now fully support airpower operations: close air support, strike, air mobility, rescue, and reconnaissance operations. In addition, Tallil provided base-operating support to other coalition members so they could build their airpower capabilities without having to endure the deprivation we encountered. I knew that Tallil AB had crested the infrastructure hill when, just prior to my departure in July, I flushed the first standard toilet that had been installed in a new hard-sided building using Air Force–produced and piped-in water—pretty good for just three and one-half months on a decimated enemy air base.
This model closely matches a base’s organizational construct and can be used as the centerpiece for base support and operations planning and as a yardstick for evaluating the execution of those plans. I recommend that Headquarters Air Force (AF/ILX) rewrite AFI 10-404 using this model to standardize the language of assessing, building, and fighting an air base. It provides the organizational construct on how to write a base plan. I further recommend that a section be devoted to the components of “aircrew,” “aircraft,” “airfield,” and “Airmen.” Within those sections, chapters could be devoted to the value chains described herein for each of the nine airpower-element areas and the additional areas that support people and infrastructure grids. We should expand the instruction to include three different levels of planning: the current Expeditionary Site Plan (ESP), the survey of infrastructure; a BSP that includes detailed planning of what needs to occur to make the air base functional as listed in an operation plan (OPLAN); and a more robust Base Operating Plan (BOP) that includes all the ele-ment value chains. The BOP would be at the top of base planning and give commanders a better idea of how to fight the base. These plans, written by the wings that will likely execute them, become the basis for exercises and inspections. By planning and training with the Airpower 101 model at home, its use becomes second nature in the way we think of fighting. Even if that wing deploys to a different location, that model and the wing’s experience in exercising it will still provide the framework for making the new location operational. The model could become a logical and unifying construct for all bare-base operations—that links airpower-process components, elements, and value chains to an organizational hierarchy (wing = airpower; group = airpower components; squadron = airpower elements; and flights = steps in value chains), providing a common language to all levels of command that are involved in standing up bare bases.
The model may have uses beyond bare-base setup. Consideration could be given to using it as a departure point to more closely aligning wing organizations along the lines of the model, with separate groups having responsibility for aircrew, aircraft, and airfield components and squadrons within those groups having responsibility for the elements described under each component. This would put group commanders in charge of all the value chains for a particular component, requiring that fewer command lines be crossed. For example, if an airfield runway is currently closed, the wing commander must go to either the Mission Support Group or Operations Group to find out why. Likewise, weight -management has both Medical Group and Mission Support Group aspects, which force policy decisions up to the wing commander when a new Airmen Group could have complete oversight. There will always be pluses and minuses to any way we organize; however, if the generation of airpower has a logical construct, then a more functional organization might logically follow that construct.
The Airpower 101 model served me well during an intense period at Al Jaber and Tallil Air Bases, when the mission was critical and time and resources were limited. I offer it now to those who may find themselves in a similar situation in the future, with the hope that it may keep them from having to relearn those lessons while under fire.
1. “Summary of Facts” (MacDill AFB, FL: Headquarters United States Central Command, 14 June 2002), http:// www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/Reports/Tarnak_ Farms_Report.htm.
2. Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Performance (New York: Free Press, June 1998). Developed by Michael Porter, the value-chain framework is a model that is used to help analyze specific activities through which firms can create value and competitive advantage.
3. Harvest Falcon is the Air Force’s transportable system of modular personnel tents, shelters, equipment, and vehicles that is used when there are infrastructure limitations. The Harvest Falcon equipment was specifically designed for use in Southwest Asia and is sized as a 1,100-person housekeeping set of tents, electrical generators, and billets.
Col John Dobbins (USAFA; MS, Catholic University of America; MS, National War College) is deputy group commander of the 23d Fighter Group, Pope AFB, North Carolina. He has served as vice-commander of the 332d Air Expeditionary Wing and was the first commander of the 407th Air Expeditionary Group in Iraq. Colonel Dobbins is a command pilot with over 3,300 flying hours in the A-10 aircraft.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.