Junior Officer Reflection--Air Force Comptroller leading and living Agile Combat Employment (ACE)

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Andre Jackman
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

As an Air Force Comptroller, our ability to adapt to the ebbs and flows of the budget environment and our customer needs is what makes our career field essential to the success of our great nation and the Department of Defense. It is exactly the mind set we need as the Air Force shifts into the Joint All Domain environment. In the conflict against a peer competitor, it will be key to provide flexible and resilient formations to meet commanders’ intent–within the Air Force, we call it Agile Combat Employment.

Agile Combat Employment is a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power. In Air Force Special Operations Command, we are meeting the service’s initiative of ACE by creating and employing Mission Sustainment Teams. An MST is a group of highly skilled Airmen from across multiple specialty types who can move quickly around an area of operations and provide base operating support to aircrew and maintainers. We produce this by employing Mission Command, which gives Airmen the freedom of action needed to exploit rapidly developing opportunities and succeed.

From personal experience, being a Mission Commander and a part of AFSOC’s MST has been amazing! It is rare for service members who have a non-operational job to get the opportunity to be a part of the joint environment tactically. When my commander at the 1st Special Operations Comptroller Squadron, Maj. Joe Regan, approached me with the opportunity to lead a team of 55 Multi-Capable Airmen, I knew this was a calling to serve that I have always dreamed about. When I listen to our former Chief of Staff, and now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Charles Q. Brown, speak onAccelerate Change or Lose,” I believe our team was set up perfectly to operate within his intent.

Comptroller Reflection

Although I looked forward to the leadership opportunity as an MST lead within the 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, I knew leaving the 1 SOCPTS was going to be a difficult part of that journey. The family-like atmosphere that our leadership, Regan and Chief Master Sgt. Graham, cultivated during their time here put a precedence on taking care of the squadron family and our customers. When I reflect on my time within 1 SOCPTS, I can clearly see the impact we made in accelerating change in how we provide customer service.

We’ve been able to launch “OpEvolve,” which is our virtual face-to-face customer service program that allows us to tailor services and provide financial support to our customers anyplace, anytime, anywhere. We also extended our customer service hours from 0900 – 2000 to provide our Air Commandos with more convenient times that better meet their operational needs. I absolutely miss being able to provide the world class customer service that we offer here at the 1 SOCPTS, but I relish the opportunity that has been given to me here in the MST.

MST Reflection

As they say, a leader needs to be comfortable with uncomfortable, and I have been challenged and have grown since my selection to AFSOC’s MST. First, I recognized that our most valued asset is our diversity. Leading a team that has over 26 specialty codes allows you to analyze and assess issues from many different perspectives. It has been a pleasure observing and developing the members of our team to solve problems with various approaches, whether creatively, analytically, or rationally. There are several ways to slice a pie and we need to continue to seek ways to employ the lethality from our diversity. Second, MST’s are positioned in line with CSAF action orders. Action Order, “C: Competition, requires us to adapt to the competition we are facing and D: Design Implementation refers to the development of combatting our competition.MST’s are organized, trained and equipped for rapid, scalable employment across the globe, in affect answering our Nation’s call with how we will win the next fight. Lastly, I’ve learned that true Air Commando culture can be authentically created through a diversification of Airmen who are tied to a purpose.

My foundation as an Air Force comptroller, having the adaptability to respond to external requirements and needs, set the tone for being able to adapt and succeed within the Air Force’s ACE construct. My time as an MST commander allowed me and the members of my team to embrace a camaraderie that fuels us with a deep-rooted passion for the mission. Ultimately, our Air Commando culture is the strategic advantage between winning and losing our next conflict.