Airman Development Command announced, supporting sweeping changes to maintain superiority amid Great Power Competition

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  • Headquarters Air Force and Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force’s senior civilian and military leaders, Feb. 12, unveiled sweeping plans for reshaping, refocusing, and reoptimizing the Air Force and Space Force to ensure continued supremacy in those domains while also better posturing the services to deter and, if necessary, prevail in an era of Great Power Competition.

Taken together, the changes made public Feb. 12 and endorsed by Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Performing the Duties of Acting Under Secretary Kristyn Jones, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman represent one of the most extensive recalibrations in recent history for the Air Force and Space Force.

“We need these changes now…We are out of time to reoptimize our forces to meet the strategic challenges in a time of Great Power Competition,” said Kendall. “We are going to turn this enterprise and point it directly at our biggest threat (China).”

Among the 24 key decisions Kendall announced was the decision to redesignate Air Education and Training Command as Airman Development Command (ADC). The ADC’s goal, true to name, will be to become the service’s enterprise-wide integrator for Airman development, training and education as part of the Department of the Air Force’s efforts to reoptimize for Great Power Competition.

The ADC redesignation will pave the way for an expanded, people-focused footprint that will help the Air Force posture to rapidly adapt training programs and curriculum, produce mission ready Airmen at an accelerated rate, and develop human capital in a holistic manner conducive to retaining talent.

The consolidation and realignment will give ADC the authority to develop Airmen from the beginning to the end of their service in the Air Force. Ultimately, the reoptimization provides ADC the agility to rapidly shift accessions and training priorities and weights of effort to deliberately develop Airmen at the speed of need.  

“The Airmen and Guardians we are developing right now will decide the outcome of this Great Power Competition, and if necessary, the next fight. There is no time to lose,” said Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson, commander of AETC. “We will continue to execute the core functions of AETC while simultaneously ‘following through’ by building organizational efficiencies across the Air Force.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin will establish an implementation team to execute follow-on analysis and develop an implementation plan for the execution of the Air Force wide reoptimization.

“The Air Force has a rich history of successfully reckoning with transformational change. Since its inception in 1947, it has consistently evolved by reorienting and “reoptimizing” itself to align with dynamically changing demands at key inflection points,” said Allvin in a letter to the force, The Case for Change. “Today, a new key inflection point is upon us. We cannot afford to be complacent, holding on to outdated structures. The Air Force built for the previous era is no longer optimized for the current strategic landscape.”

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s directive to reoptimize for great power competition is a major initiative that includes a comprehensive look at all aspects of how the Department of the Air Force organizes, trains, and equips the Air Force and Space Force.

“We owe it to our men and women in uniform to be as ready as we can be,” Kendall said. “We’re in a sprint to get better, but we’re also in a marathon to stay the most competitive over time.”

Representatives from AETC, Air Force Personnel Center, Headquarters Air Force, and select major commands met for a tabletop exercise at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, to analyze the authorities, responsibilities and organizational structure required to optimize the Air Force’s ability to develop Airmen.

Lead representatives at the exercise determined the creation of an ADC with the requisite authorities, and responsibilities will strengthen the required attributes to develop Airmen.

“Quite frankly, we haven’t seen change like this since the early 1990s,” Robinson said. “Just like then, today we are taking the initiative. To maintain the asymmetrical advantage, we must develop the right mix of Airmen and Guardians with the skills and competencies needed for high-end systems-of-systems combat roles and to ensure technical superiority. These changes help us streamline institutional force development responsibilities under one command, significantly improving the Air Force’s ability to produce and retain mission ready Airmen for competition and conflict.”

Additional details about the ADC will be released as they become available.