Intelligence training transforms

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- (Editor's note: The following article is a continuation from the commentary by Col. Poss dated 7/1/2006).

I began my conversation with you by describing my vision of how we want to transform intelligence training. Today, I'll go into greater detail about one aspect of that transformation, Weaponizing Intelligence Combat Capability-Training.

WICC-T is an initiative to establish minimum proficiency standards for all USAF intelligence positions and to provide policy and guidance on how to train and certify intelligence personnel to meet these standards. Previous iterations of intelligence training guidance provided few specifics about what would be trained, and how it would be trained. WICC-T answers these questions and provides the necessary tools intelligence professionals need to meet training and certification requirements.

Eventually, we hope WICC-T will provide training standards and tools for all USAF intelligence professionals, officer and enlisted. Thus, one of the most powerful aspects of WICC-T is it will ensure training standards for all personnel.

The easiest example to use is an Airman assigned to an F-16 unit since Air Staff has already approved the AFIs governing F-16 intelligence training, AFI 14-202 Vols. 1-3 and AFI 14-2F-16 Vols. 1-3. AFI 14-202 applies to all intelligence Airmen, regardless of assignment, and the Air Staff is working with the MAJCOMs to develop AFI 14-2 series for all USAF intelligence mission areas. Eventually, we'll have detailed AFIs to govern and standardize the majority of intelligence training throughout the USAF.

So, let's say that Staff Sgt. Smith, currently stationed at AIA in San Antonio, Texas, and 2nd Lt. Jones, currently stationed at Offutt AFB, Neb., both receive assignments to the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., with a Report No Later Than Date in September. As they work with their unit leadership and outbound assignments personnel, they realize they need training for their new assignments. Both are scheduled to attend the F-16 Intelligence Formal Training Unit en-route to their new jobs, and they both arrive at Luke AFB, Ariz., in August and begin Initial Qualification Training.

Sergeant Smith and Lieutenant Jones receive different IQT since Lieutenant Jones will work at the Operations Support Squadron and Sergeant Smith will work at one of the flying squadrons. F-16 IQT runs three weeks for OSS personnel and five weeks for fighter squadron personnel. Under AFI 14-202, there is no difference in the training or certification standards for officers and enlisted personnel going to the same unit.

Different training standards exist for those Airmen working in the squadron, External Intelligence Trainers who directly supporting flying operations, and those working in the intelligence flight, who indirectly supporting flying operations.

Standards also change when someone upgrades to Intelligence Evaluator, but even then, the standards are position vice rank dependent. WICC-T establishes identical training requirements for officers and enlisted based on their jobs.

After successfully completing IQT at Luke AFB, Ariz., Sergeant Smith and Lieutenant Jones travel on to Shaw AFB. They will receive classroom-based training where they will take closed-book exams on what they learn and will then demonstrate their proficiency by performing and certifying on intelligence tasks.

In all cases, AFI 14-2F-16 provides specific criteria for qualification evaluation and grading. Because of the level of detail the AFI provides, all F-16 trainers in the USAF can use these guidelines to build the similar evaluation programs at their unit. Also, because of this level of detail, any Airman certified on any task at any F-16 unit is fully qualified to perform that task in support of F-16 operations worldwide. This provides Senior Intelligence Officers with great flexibility for deployments and contingency air operations because they can request specific skill sets and know that, under WICC-T, the personnel assigned to support them will meet the minimum standards defined in the relevant AFI 14-2.

Additionally because Sergeant Smith will work at a fighter squadron, he must also certify as an External Intelligence Trainer. This involves additional coursework and additional evaluations and ensures Sergeant Smith demonstrates the proficiency to not only support pilots but to train them on intelligence topics. Eventually, the SIO may assign Lieutenant Jones to the squadron, meaning he would need to certify as an External Intelligence Trainer or the SIO may designate either Sergeant Smith or Lieutenant Jones as an Intelligence Evaluator meaning they would require additional training and certification.

Finally, both the sergeant and lieutenant will participate in the Internal Intelligence Training program which ensures they maintain currency for their assigned positions. It's critical that units build and execute robust internal training programs which will allow them to rapidly update training material when required and ensure that their personnel maintain the proficiency necessary to provide high-quality intelligence support to USAF operations.

WICC-T provides the policy and tools to develop strong Internal Intelligence Training programs using the detailed training, qualification and evaluation criteria contained within the appropriate AFI 14-2 series.

Eventually, WICC-T will provide detailed guidance to all USAF intelligence mission areas, including SIGINT, to ensure minimal proficiency standards for all intelligence airmen supporting critical USAF missions. WICC-T allows us to standardize the way we train and certify personnel for their specific positions.