Force Development Summit focuses on developing Airmen in contested environment

  • Published
  • Air Education and Training Command

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Education and Training Command officials virtually hosted Total Force Airmen from across the service Dec. 15-16 to discuss initiatives and collaboration for accelerating Force Development across the Air Force.

The active duty, guard, reserve, and civilian Airmen— representing every major command, joined stakeholders from Headquarters Air Force, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability and the Air National Guard, to highlight initiatives emphasizing how the service has and can develop the Airmen we need in a contested environment.

“AETC’s partnership with all the major commands is essential to successful force development,” said Maj. Gen. William Spangenthal, AETC deputy commander.  “Our desired end state is Airmen who can win in the age of great power competition.  These Airmen must have agility of thought, understand mission-type orders and be able to execute the mission.  We believe the means to achieving these great power competition Airmen is through mission-focused, Airmen-centric and competency based learning that supports our Airmen, innovation, and their lifelong training and education.” 

When it comes to developing Airmen, using data-informed talent management programs is a top priority.

“We have to find, access and manage individuals to provide the right person, the right job, at the right time using data to help us determine what that looks like,” said Col. Raymond Platt, HQ AETC A3/6 deputy director for force development. “This includes early accession programs, attracting and developing the right Airmen, and assessments and data-informed understanding of our Airmen.”

Education and training design depends on the strategic foundation of learning being Airman-centric, mission-focused and competency-based.

“We have to ensure our education and training programs are seeded in the joint, all-domain command and control context,” Platt said.

When it comes to innovation, learning platforms that can integrate thinking, creativity and technology is a must in today’s learning environment.

“Our goal is a learning enterprise that can leverage and integrate training and education capabilities anywhere, at any time, on any device,” Platt said. “This talks to learning management systems that connect learners, instructors and content, as well as data analytics and advanced technology like artificial intelligence.”

Representatives from the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability and the Air Force’s Expeditionary Center set the stage, identifying the future operations environment in multiple domains, resulting in the need to develop the Multi-Capable Airman of the future to deal with the ever-evolving threats in air, space and cyberspace. Updates on information technology, delivering a dynamic 21st Century Learning Services operating environment, foundational competencies availability on MyVector, digital credentialing and transformation of civilian training in the contested environment rounded out the first day’s agenda.

On day two, presentations included presentations from several major commands, as well as a presentation on educating the Total Force by the Air Force Institute of Technology, the U.S. Air Force Academy’s “Leaders of Character” program update, technical training transformation, optimizing the virtual environment, and force development training.

MAJCOM representatives also discussed their efforts to meet the challenges faced, while adapting to a disrupted environment.  Themes included: pandemic restrictions forcing adaptation of learning delivery changes, information technology changes and adaptations, face-to-face versus virtual learning effectiveness.

“The future will pose more challenging scenarios that we have faced in many years,” Spangenthal said. “We must enable our people to reach their full potential, quickly adapt to changes in the strategic environment, and succeed in a complex, all-domain multi-national conflict with one or more major powers.”

About 120 participants joined the virtual, two-day event.  For more information about the Force Development mission go to  To learn more about the Air Force’s foundational competencies, tune in to AETC’s recent podcast at