Being an Aggressor

Aggressor squadron airmen are the “cream of the crop,” and they are hand-selected to fly in that position, said Col. T.J. O’Shaughnessy, the 57th Adversary Tactics Group commander at Nellis AFB, Nev. After selection, the airmen take a two-week “Aggressor 101” course at Nellis, after which they can integrate into various disciplines, from space aggressor to information operations aggressor, O’Shaughnessy said. Six weeks of initial training in each discipline follows Aggressor 101. Both O’Shaughnessy and Brig. Gen. David Scott, overseeing the new Red Flag-Alaska set up at Eielson AFB, Alaska, complete with its own aggressor unit, emphasized that aggressors must learn the “aggressor mindset” to be successful. Aggressor pilots must become instructors for other airmen and must also learn detailed information about their “enemy” during the Red Flag exercises. They also must learn how to “lose” humbly because the blue forces always train to win, but the “aggressor person is successful when he loses,” O’Shaughnessy told reporters in Washington Tuesday. Aggressor airmen usually spend three years on the job, and then they easily return to blue forces.