20 AF Airmen attend virtual Joint Air Operations Planning Course

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ieva Bytautaite
  • 20th Air Force Public Affairs

The COVID-19 pandemic has made professional development opportunities more challenging with travel restrictions in place in many states, so the 20th Air Force Professional Development team had to get creative with virtual classes. Recently, twenty four members from several 20 AF bases attended the virtual Joint Air Operations Planning Course (JAOPC), 8-18 Dec. 2020.

“In the current COVID-19 climate, we have been working hard to continue to uphold the highest standards and provide quality training to our personnel,” said Christopher Gentleman, 20 AF professional development chief. “With travel restrictions and most normal training routes closed to us, we have been focused on finding alternative training routes. Fortunately Air University is forward thinking and flexible to the needs of our Airmen. They we able to provide us with virtual classes so that we may keep our forces trained and ready for whatever the future brings.”

The JAOPC is designed to educate Airmen from joint, multinational or supporting air component commands in the fundamental concepts, principles and doctrine required to develop the air portion of a joint/combined campaign plan.

“Although joint air operations planning doesn’t directly translate to the 20 AF mission on a daily basis, the principles taught during the course can be applied to other areas,” said Maj. Lok Tam, 20 AF Commander’s Action Group deputy director and JAOPC attendee. “These areas include planning a unit holiday party to planning annual code change operations at a missile wing.”

Maj. Timothy Moore, 576th Flight Test Squadron chief of standardization and evaluation, said that the one of the most important things he took away from the course was perspective.

“One thing that was stressed during the course is to think at the strategic and operational levels, not just at the tactical level,” said Moore.  “The things that need to be considered by a Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) and how decisions impact not only the air mission, but also the ground and maritime missions and the and the operation as a whole.”

The course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the Joint Planning Process for Air (JPPA) at the operational level of warfare. Students also gain an understanding of JFACC roles and planning responsibilities.

“Courses like this are good ways to not only see the perspectives of other AFSCs, but also hear from joint partners,” said Moore.  “We had an Army lieutenant colonel and a Navy lieutenant commander in the course, so hearing how they view air power and how it helps with the Army and Navy missions during an operation is valuable.”

Finally, participants gained insight into the fundamental concepts, principals, and doctrine required to develop a Joint Air Operations Plan (JAOP).

“We need to understand how the world operates outside our AFGSC bubble,” said Maj. Daniel Trapani, 582d Helicopter Group chief of weapons and tactics. “Often we get stove-piped into one way of thinking and we need to open our eyes and minds to other ways of doing things. Courses like JAOP can help do that.”

The 20 AF professional development team is actively working to ensure Airmen have access to professional development opportunities and courses and have some exciting plans planned for the near future.