Wanted: More JTACs, Still

USAF has been working to ramp up its cadre of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers since before the operational surge began in Iraq and now with increased demands for Afghanistan, defense officials are calling for even more JTACs—from every service. Navy JTACs recently participated in USAF’s Red Flag-Alaska to expand their training to new aircraft. Army Gen. David Petraeus last month told a Marine Corps University symposium that he had just asked the Air Force and Army for “help with developing more JTACs” because there is a “big shortage of those out there” especially with the proliferation of platoon-size security and special forces teams operating in Afghanistan. However, it takes nearly two years to train a JTAC. For its part, USAF expects in 2010 to start training 230 new JTACs each year, reports Stars and Stripes, and the number could go higher. (Red Flag-Alaska report by A1C Rachelle Coleman; Petraeus speech)