Allvin Unveils New Details of Integrated Capabilities Command, to Stand Up This Year

The Air Force plans to have its new Integrated Capabilities Command stood up by the end of 2024, Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin said on May 2, offering new details of one of the signature reforms announced by the service earlier this year.

Allvin said around 500-800 Airmen will be working for Integrated Capabilities Command at the start, with “satellite locations” across the Air Force, though he cautioned his numbers were still in the works.

For now, the Chief mainly hopes to get started with the command rather than make big institutional waves.

“That transition, it has to be carefully managed. But we cannot afford it to go so slow that it stalls and stagnates, and it makes it easier to go back,” Allvin told a small group of reporters at the Pentagon.

He said the Air Force’s focus on speedily getting the command up and running is the main reason it is not rushing to make a decision on where to permanently base the headquarters. With the command’s standup not that far off, the idea is that its Airmen should initially be based largely where they are now.

“Now, the difficult part, as you would imagine, we’re standing up a command, everybody’s interested in that,” Allvin said. “So how big is the command going to be? Where’s it going to be placed? We are looking at different options.”

The Air Force is not focused on creating new installations and infrastructure for Integrated Capabilies Command, especially as the service has promised the reforms will be largely cost-neutral, he said.

“That is something that I do not want to hold us up, because if we focus on that … there will be all sorts of obstacles that are unnecessary to get us to starting to do the work,” Allvin said. “My anticipation would be by the end of this calendar year, they are doing that work.”

Allvin said most of the Airmen will come from major commands, and the level of coordination and the involvement of organizations such as Air Force Futures have yet to be decided.

“This is a work in progress, but my thinking right now is that the most important thing is to be able to get the work done,” he said. “We don’t anticipate it will be moving hundreds from a place, which is very sensitive politically and to the local community. … This command will have locations throughout. I do not anticipate at this point that it will be a single command with everybody in one building that loses some of the connectivity and the tactile connection with the major command.”

Integrated Capabilities Command was unveiled as part of the Air Force’s “re-optimization” at the AFA Warfare Symposium in February and is to be led by a three-star general. Allvin, along with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, reasoned that Air Force’s major commands had become too siloed and focused on their own command’s tradeoffs between readiness and future capability. Allvin said his goal is to fix the “fragmentation” of the Air Force.

“The idea of Integrated Capabilities Command is really to take that expertise, the requirements generation, those that understand the functional expertise in their operations in their part of the Air Force, put them together, and start understanding what we need the Air Force to do as far as mission outcomes,” Allvin said. “We want to be able to keep up with the pace of technology, the pace of change, and have the operators come together to build one force design, rather than multiple parts that are sort of stitched together at the end.”

Right now, major commands have tended to advocate for their own capabilities while the Air Force as a whole has to make difficult budgetary and programmatic tradeoffs. Allvin also pointed to examples of integration, such as Air Force’s Rapid Dragon program in which palletized munitions, specifically long-range JASSM stand-off cruise missiles, are released from cargo aircraft, which blurs traditional lines between Air Mobility Command and Air Force Global Strike Command.

“With the pace of technology, and the opportunities that arise, they come and go more rapidly,” Allvin said. “If you don’t exploit them, you might miss opportunities if you don’t think outside of your little functional area.”

As for who will command the new three-star job, which may become one of the most important positions in the Air Force, that is still to be determined. One goal of Integrated Capabilities Command is breaking down parochial cultures. Allvin himself is one of the few Air Force Chiefs of Staff who has not been a fighter or bomber pilot, two vocations with their own strong communities.

“I believe it’s best functioning when it’s operator-led,” Allvin said. “From which community, it’s really about the individual. If you’re going to be a leader, if you’re going to be a general officer, if you’re going to take one of these commands, you have show the ability to lead beyond your function.”