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319th Reconnaissance Wing’s Air Staff in development

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. BreeAnn Sachs
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing

Editor’s note: Portions of this article were written from the Air Combat Command Wing HQ Standardization Playbook, Oct. 2022.

“Ready for crisis before crisis … Ready for combat before combat” -- that’s the mission statement for the U.S. Air Force’s Wing Air Staff model.

The 319th Reconnaissance Wing is in the late planning stages of establishing an Air Staff, also known as A-Staff, as directed by Air Combat Command in February 2022.

The direction follows the transformation of Combat Air Forces to better meet the growing complexity of the global security environment and re-emergence of peer nation competition.

Previously, when reacting to a crisis, a “battlestaff” would be set up to assist with planning, organizing, equipping and rapidly deploying personnel and equipment. The A-Staff model adds this battlestaff function to an existing garrison headquarters and ensures commanders and wings are ready before a crisis emerges.

“Establishing an A-Staff will strengthen our Airmen’s ability to meet the demands of today’s defense environment,” said Col. Timothy Curry, the commander of the 319th RW. “Our A-Staff directors will support us in situations when we need to make expeditious decisions and respond without delay to both day-to-day operations and crises here and abroad.”

The existing A-Staff model also ensures airmen who rapidly deploy can easily transition to expeditionary wings with the existing model in place and prepares airmen for interoperability with joint partners who already use a similarly structured headquarters.

“We will streamline administrative processes and help the wing operate more effectively and efficiently with 16th Air Force, Air Combat Command and any other NAF (numbered Air Force), MAJCOM (major command) or joint partner we need to work with,” said Lt. Col. Scott Schofield, the 319th RW Chief of Staff. “Our sister services are already using organizational structures like the A-Staff, as are our expeditionary wings. This addition will help our airmen integrate more easily in the joint and deployed environments.”

To better integrate with joint partners, the A-Staff will include standardization of duty titles for key personnel within the wing to align with joint terminology. The vice wing commander will be renamed to deputy wing commander, abbreviated DCOM. The director of staff will be renamed to chief of staff, abbreviated COS, and the position of deputy chief of staff will be added, abbreviated DCOS.

There are six required directorates within the A-Staff that will coordinate, aggregate and integrate information internally and externally to the wing to support service, joint, and coalition missions. The Air Staff directorates will work in conjunction with existing groups and squadrons to reduce administrative burden, enabling the groups and squadrons to better focus on executing wing commander priorities.  No groups or squadrons will be inactivated, activated, or redesignated due to the establishment of the A-Staff. 

A1 - Manpower, Personnel & Services

The A1 director advises the wing commander for organizational actions, deployed manpower requirements and personnel policies and procedures. The addition of A1 brings additional oversight for overall wing manning levels and organizational structures.

A2 – Intelligence

The A2 director is the wing’s senior intelligence officer and is the principal advisor to the wing commander on all intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planning, direction, collection, processing and exploitation. This director also oversees all wing intelligence operations conducted in subordinate groups, force elements and mission generation squadrons to ensure wings are prepared for crisis and their intel is ready to deploy as a high-performing task organized combat team.

A3 – Operations

The A3 director is the primary advisor to the Wing Commander for all matters relating to the direction and control of operational forces. This director ensures all wing assets can perform the full scope of the wing’s mission and can execute tasks directed from higher headquarters. The A3 director executes crisis action planning alongside the wing operations center and monitors unit deployments and bed-down locations.

A4 - Logistics, Maintenance, Engineering, Force Protection and Contracting

The A4 director is the primary advisor to the wing commander regarding wing logistics. This directorate synchronizes logistics, sustainment, force protection and combat support planning and processes with the functions’ group and squadron commanders across the wing. This directorate assists A3 with monitoring unit deployments, bed-downs and crisis planning.

A5 – Plans & Programs

The A5 director is the primary advisor to the Wing Commander regarding wing-level steady-state campaign plans, theater engagement activities and identification of requirements and priorities. This directorate works directly with subject matter experts for individual plans and programs and ensures a comprehensive execution through every stage of operations.

A6 – Communications

The A6 director is the primary advisor to the wing commander for all matters regarding wing communications programs and operations. This directorate monitors, protects, integrates and manages communication and cyber requirements.