HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
Air Force Special Operations Command hosted leaders from the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, the Army Mission Command Center of Excellence, Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, the Barnes Center, and Squadron Officer School at a Mission Command Summit last week to better understand the Air Force’s concept of Mission Command and how it applies to AFSOC.
The summit was co-hosted by Col. Stewart Parker, 492d Special Operations Wing vice commander, AFSOC’s lead wing for education and training, and Col. Eries Mentzer, director of AFSOC Force Development. Lt Gen Jim Slife, AFSOC commander, kicked off the summit explaining why understanding mission command is so critical at this time.
“To deliver the Air Force Special Operations Command we need in today’s increasingly complex and uncertain environments, we must decentralize and empower Special Operations Task Units (SOTU) and Special Operations Task Groups (SOTG) with mission command,” said Slife.
Today’s challenges demand multi-capable Airmen deployed through a sustainable Force Generation model, empowered to take on current and emerging threats. Integrating the culture of mission command makes that model possible.
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., discussed mission command as one of the Air Force’s five cultural focus areas at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyberspace Conference in September 2022. Brown identified mission command, force generation, agile combat employment, multi-capable Airmen, and the wing A-staff construct as key cultural shifts essential to deliver the Air Force we need in today’s dynamic operating environment.
The Mission Command Summit hosted at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, reviewed the definition of mission command to ensure a shared understanding and discussed ways to promote mission command throughout AFSOC. Attendees also discussed barriers the command may face including culture, key behaviors and value systems that must evolve. Additionally, attendees discussed resources needed to deliver a mission command culture aligned with AFSOC’s warfighting functions and competencies, both in garrison and deployed.
Recommendations from the three-day summit were briefed to Maj. Gen. Wolfe Davidson, deputy commander of AFSOC, to deliver at the upcoming Force Development Council hosted by Headquarters Air Force.
“To be survivable in the fight and adaptive in garrison, we must execute mission command’ said Davidson, “To make this possible, AFSOC is committed to delivering the necessary resources. We need command teams at every level to deliver this command culture.”
Col. Mentzer and Col. Parker will reconvene the Mission Command Summit in Spring 2023 to receive feedback from the first Airmen to deploy under the newly fielded SOTG and SOTU Command Teams and review progress on shifting AFSOC’s culture to support and facilitate mission command.
"Pride is the fuel of human accomplishment,” said Slife. “We want to give our Airmen missions—and not simply tasks or functions—for which they can be accountable and proud of succeeding in accomplishing."