Air Force says airmen need to study more than ever to be ready against China, Russia and others

Cyber warfare operators serving with the 175th Cyberspace Operations Group of the Maryland Air National Guard at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md., monitor cyber attacks on the operations floor of the 275th Cyber Operations Squadron, known as the Hunter’s Den, Dec. 2, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

The US Air Force is urging its personnel to study up on how to better handle enemies like China and Russia- and pursuing education will be a large part of preparing for that fight.

In response to an ever-changing battlefield, the USAF is looking to encourage Airmen to pursue constant educational opportunities, from learning language to cybersecurity.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and USAF Chief of Staff General David Goldfein are hoping to change the culture of the Air Force, and are working with universities in order to see how training programs could be available to Airmen.

“The chief and I just signed out several pieces of guidance that we hope will change culture over time,” Wilson said.

According to the Air Force Times, the new system will more resemble the Navy, and will promote higher levels of specialization and leadership advancement for those who become more proficient and multi-disciplined in their respective fields.

“We are finding ourselves very short on senior level expertise in space, in research and development and logistics, because we’re not promoting properly and developing people,” Wilson said.

Airmen seeking out degrees in fields such as cyber security or engineering will no longer be fearing the possibility of a dead-end career if the new strategy goes through, allowing people with talent to advance and be rewarded as instructors.

“You will now be rewarded for instructor duty,” Wilson said. “We are now boarding and recommending people for instructor duty and you’re not going to be able to do it unless you’re the best of the best. Historically, we didn’t value instructor duty. If you taught at Lackland or at the Air Force Academy or ROTC…that was kind of because you couldn’t get a better position and it was kind of a dead end. So now we’ve flipped that.”

While the changes are set for this year, it may take up to a decade for full implementation and to gauge the desired effects.

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