Reaching the Digital Generation

Air Education and Training Command has issued a White Paper to help define the service’s approach to education and training in the 2008 to 2030 timeframe. In a foreword to the 29-page document, AETC boss Gen. William Looney writes, “The young men and women who will lead our Air Force in the future have been living in a digital world their entire lives and are better prepared than any other generation to operate in this environment.” He went on, “It is imperative their needs and expectations inform our approach to education and training.” Among the challenges facing the Air Force, according to the paper, are establishment of a “systematic approach” to insert and integrate technology into education and training programs; development of an “enterprise-wide architecture” to provide common standards; and creation of an “investment strategy” that will enable the service to resource education and training. AETC calls the future learning organization “Air Force 2.0,” populated by Generation Y “digital natives,” as opposed to Generation X’s “digital immigrants.” The command views understanding this new generation and providing a training and education environment commensurate with their technology savvy will be critical for success in an increasingly “stark” recruiting landscape.