Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

XP: Innovating to create a strategic advantage

(U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson) Members of the Peterson Fire Department treat a victim during an active shooter exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate and ensure preparedness of all Airmen in case of a real-world event. The data from this and other inputs helps to optimize future exercises so that the wing is prepared for real world events.

From 21st Space Wing Plans and Program office

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — When people in the 21st Space Wing think of the wing plans and program office they likely imagine mounds of staff summary sheets, piles of plans, or operational security handouts neatly stacked in a file cabinet.

But what most people don’t know is that the exercise branch of the plans and program office is working behind the scenes, developing innovative scenarios that help make the wing more efficient and compliant with Air Force standards. Throughout the years, the exercise branch has artificially blown up or burned down buildings, crashed aircraft and caused mass confusion in an attempt to evaluate and improve command and control, deployment and emergency management functions. Their exercise planning efforts are driven by functional experience and current world events, such as active shooters or terrorism.

In an effort to make base exercises more efficient and even more meaningful, the wing dedicated resources to analyze the root cause of its deficiencies and develop targeted events that test vital mission areas. This new database-driven concept supports the wing commander’s vision to innovate and make the best use of our resources. Further, it will guide the wing’s exercises toward real process improvement.

The new process tracks and trends discrepancies compiled from past inspections, exercises and self inspections within the 21st Space Wing and its mission partners. It can then assist in determining the true criticality and complexity of the identified deficiencies. Once collected, the data is plotted on a graph and used by leadership to determine where the wing should focus its limited process improvement assets, time and people. In turn, tactical leaders and planners are able to direct the development of training objectives and exercise scenarios that really make a difference in mission accomplishment. The information is continually updated using new exercise results, ensuring future leadership decisions are based on the most current information.

Our most recent Condor Crest exercise incorporated many objectives and results from this new process and changed the way we approach exercise event planning. Even though it’s brand new, the results of this product are already revealing improvements in deployment operations, base defense and reaction time to real-world emergency situations. While this new process will not replace functional training, it will focus our limited training resources on meaningful mission areas more efficiently than the previous model. Once fully validated, information will eventually be shared with local installations and city and county working groups to enhance the entire region’s ability to tackle emergencies and dominate the preparedness high ground.

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