Re-Defining the "Radio Operator": Honing AFSOF's Edge for the Joint IW Fight
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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The purpose of this paper is to clearly demonstrate the urgent need for dedicated airborne communications expertise throughout the Air Force Special Operations Forces AFSOF enterprise and to propose a comprehensive solution to that need. This need is driven by an enduring Irregular Warfare-focused IW strategic environment and an increasingly net-centric operational environment that sustain pressing airborne communications standardization, integration, and interoperability requirements. This papers primary argument is that the Airborne Mission Systems Specialist AMSS, aka Radio Operator skillset is a critical component for sustained AFSOF success in these strategic and operational environments, and thus AFSOC must reorganize its AMSS cadre into centrally controlled pools to provide standardized net-centric communications integration and interoperability capability to all of its maneuver elements and staff agencies worldwide. The wide-ranging strategic impact of re-defining the AMSS role in AFSOC is universally decreased risk of mission failure, particularly on short-notice, no-fail national-level IW taskings. The paper will support this finding in five steps. First, it will present background information on how AFSOCs current recapitalization efforts are making the AMSS skillset a use it or lose it capability within the Command. Second, it will draw on higher headquarters HHQ guidance to elaborate on the nature of the strategic IW environment AFSOF faces as it expands and recapitalizes. Third, it will review the key elements of the operational IW environment defined by increasing reliance on net-centric joint communications architecture. Fourth, it will provide real-world examples of the mission-critical capability the AMSS currently brings to AFSOF, and compare the very limited role the AMSS plays in AFSOC to the much broader roles the AMSS plays in other Air Force units.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Command, Control and Communications Systems
- Radio Communications