Retooling Minuteman Tours

Air Force Global Strike Command is instituting some core changes in the way it develops ICBM airmen early in their careers, AFGSC boss Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson told Air Force Magazine. The command is going to get away from the “one room schoolhouse,” where airmen would sometimes do alerts, become instructors and evaluators, often in the first four-year tour at a single wing. Instead, USAF is implementing a “three-plus-three” concept, where an airman will serve as a deputy missile crew commander, learning the operations and conduct of the ICBM mission hands on, during the first part of a tour. During the second part of a tour, an airman will become a mission crew commander, where they will command approximately 10 missiles from their facility. “The first tour is to become an expert in the business,” Wilson said. The second tour, about 60 of 180 missileers will move on to become instructors, flight commanders and evaluators, and most will move on to a new base to carry out these tasks. This approach, Wilson said, will help increase both the experience level of missileers, as well as expose them to opportunities to build a more “sustainable career path.” For example, after a tour as an instructor or evaluator, Wilson said, an airman could come out of that and go to Vandenberg AFB, Calif., where all ICBM test launches are conducted, or to a squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., to learn airborne launch control operations at US Strategic Command, or on to a tour at Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command. (See also Wilson: Plenty of Opportunity for Missileers.)