Micro-deployments: The answer to today’s evolving threats

Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing board a C-130 Hercules at Aviano Air Base, Italy on Jan. 21, 2017 on their way to Souda Bay, Greece. The Airmen traveled to Souda Bay, Greece, to support a flying training detachment with the Hellenic air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing board a C-130 Hercules at Aviano Air Base, Italy on Jan. 21, 2017 on their way to Souda Bay, Greece. The Airmen traveled to Souda Bay, Greece, to support a flying training detachment with the Hellenic air force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cary Smith)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

“The best fighter is not a boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt on any style. He kicks too good for a boxer, throws too good for a Karate man, and punches too good for a Judo man.” – Bruce Lee

 

The U.S. Air Force is undoubtedly the most powerful air force in the history of the planet.

 

Our strategic strike, logistical and air dominance capabilities have enabled us to rapidly deploy and project combat power anywhere at any time. In order to remain the best air force in the world, we have to continually improve our deployment processes and concepts.

 

Through the air and space expeditionary force construct, the Air Force established a rotational deployment cycle to help ensure Airmen are ready and capable to respond to emerging crises. Traditional aviation deployments task an entire aviation package and involve pre-deployment training, the deployment, and a post-deployment reconstitution period–equal to the deployment period in length. The deployment makes the entire aviation package unavailable from the deployment through the reconstitution period.

 

Traditional deployments also have large-scale logistics impacts and don’t adequately support today’s emerging threats. Today’s threats call for quick, agile and versatile mission platforms. These platforms provide Airmen the ability to perform alert/deterrence postures in today’s constantly changing threat environments at no notice and for unknown amounts of time.

 

The answer to this problem is micro-deployments. Micro-deployments include an initial deployment with a smaller logistics footprint than that of traditional deployments. Personnel and cargo swap outs allow returnees to conduct training and maintain combat mission readiness capabilities. Logistics costs are high on all swap outs but still ensure home-station capabilities are supported.

 

Micro-deployments also allow operational flexibility. As aircraft swap out from home station to deployed location and vice versa, maintainers are afforded necessary opportunities to ensure proper maintenance is performed at home station. Personnel are also home and away almost equal time. This ensures the aviation package is available for its next short-notice tasking. 

 

Ultimately, this is important because we as expeditionary Airmen must always be ready. In the past 19 months, Aviano Airmen have proven this concept twice in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Oaken Steel. Our ability to rapidly deploy and project combat power is the reason why we are the U.S. Air Force’s number one, go-to fighter wing.