Thursday, August 9, 2007

TOP STORY >>General testifies on Air Force in-lieu-of strategies

By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (AFPN) — An Air Force General spoke before the House Armed Service Committee Subcommittee on Readiness July 31 about the state of in-lieu-of taskings Airmen fill for the Army.

Brig. Gen. Marke Gibson, the Air Force director of operations, answered questions for the subcommittee, reaffirming the service’s commitment to the war on terrorism.

“Of the 25,453 Airmen deployed right now, 6,293 of them are filling ILO taskings,” General Gibson told the congressmen.
“Since 2004, we have deployed roughly 22,000 Airmen to perform ILO tasks.”

General Gibson, along with a panel of witnesses from other services, explained that there are three ILO categories:
Joint Sourcing: Airmen fill a role similar to their own core competencies, like a civil engineer possibly working in an Army Corp of Engineers unit.

Retrained Ad Hoc: Airmen working within their normal duties, but as part of a unit where no service necessarily has a core competency, like provincial reconstruction teams.

Remission: A unit trained for one mission deploys to fill a totally different mission, like an artillery unit that instead performs convoy duties. No Airmen have deployed in this category.

Over the last few years, the number of Airmen filling ILO deployment taskings has increased 33 percent, up to 57 percent this year. General Gibson also expects ILO deployments to increase this year.

Air Force leaders have said, however, that Airmen need to deploy and operate in their core competencies.

Therefore, over the next 12 months, fewer Airmen will deploy to fill positions that are related to their job, but not within their normal duties, like security forces Airmen performing detainee operations.

Regardless, all Airmen deploying will get pre-deployment training to be ready for their deployed duties, General Gibson said.
“When Airmen perform duties outside of their core competencies, it costs money to train them and impacts their primary mission and the missions of the Air Force,” General Gibson said.

“We’re proud to be part of the joint fight, but we want to get our Airmen out of those roles and back to working within their Air Force duties.”

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