Air Force Reduces Ancillary Training

The Air Force will eliminate 15 ancillary training courses and streamline 16 others as part of the leadership’s effort to reduce the amount of time airmen spend on non-mission related demands, according a memorandum released Monday. “…Ensuring our talented men and women are able to focus on the complex challenges they face every day is critical to revitalizing our squadrons and successfully accomplishing our missions,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein wrote in the memo to all airmen. As part of the process, James and Goldfein directed the “Airmen’s Time” task force to review 42 courses that fall outside of airmen’s core jobs but require about 60 hours to complete. Nearly 25,000 airmen were surveyed about the courses. The review found many of the training requirements duplicated information provided by other training. The elimination and streamlining—a reduction in the frequency of four courses, shortened duration of nine courses, consolidation of one, a providing test-out options for two others—are “not intended to reduce emphasis on the need to have well-trained and educated airmen,” according to the memo. “Instead, it is specifically designed to give unit leadership greater flexibility to ensure airmen successfully complete their mission.” At the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September, Goldfein called the plan to cut training time a “second swing” of his and James’ plan to allow airmen more time to focus attention on their actual jobs. “I will tell you, as the Chief, I’m actually willing to take the operational risk that someone will figure out how to operate a fire extinguisher when they get into their first fire,” he said. In August, James and Goldfein announced a broad reduction in additional duties that have been placed on airmen due to earlier personnel cuts. (See also: The Hard Knock Life in the November/December 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.)