Shorter Weapons School Course, More Integration

Leaders at the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev., have made sure the school’s recently updated courses are emphasizing integration, while still building up expertise in individual aircraft and systems. “Probably the most significant change we made was our ‘integration phase,'” school Commandant Col. Adrian Spain told Air Force Magazine in a mid-August interview. This phase occurs about a month before graduation when students are put through Core II, a weeklong event heavy on academics, where they learn how to integrate capabilities, such as non-kinetic effects like cyber, and how those capabilities are brought into major campaigns “at the highest levels,” he said. The flying portion follows. It was formerly a 40-day period that ended with a large force employment exercise. Now, it’s several weeks shorter and has a more basic building-block approach, with work ranging from basic integration activities, to intermediate activities to advanced integration. “You’re building up against a robust threat, but learning how to do integration in a smaller force, do de-confliction, manage strengths and weaknesses, and build a plan,” said Spain. Integrated capabilities are now an objective for the capstone “mission employment” phase that teaches a skill set airmen can apply to a range of global environments and threats, he noted. (For more from the Spain interview, read Years to Recover.)