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AGOW celebrates 10 years, looks to future

  • Published
  • By Andrea Jenkins
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Since 2008, the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing has been on the front lines of the global war against terrorism providing ground combat forces specially trained to integrate air and space power into the joint scheme maneuver.

As the AGOW Spartans celebrate their 10th anniversary, they usher in changes within their organization that will not only focus on being trained and ready today, but simultaneously prepare them for the evolving threats of the future.

“The AGOW is the Air Force's conventional multi-domain battle wing--a one-of-kind capability across the entire joint force,” said Col. Jeffery Valenzia, 93rd AGOW commander. “As the Air Force’s experts in integration, we must remain capable of growing in our warfighting capabilities as the national security landscape changes.”

The first of many changes will be in the organizational structure to find better ways to provide mission and family support to more than 2,800 Airmen and their families, the majority of who live and work on Army Posts, geographically separated from the Air Force and its support functions.

“Growing the readiness of the AGOW begins by rethinking the wing's organizational structure to align the authorities of our commanders with their responsibility to ready their forces for war. It’s clear that squadron revitalization is a priority throughout the Air Force, so we need to build an infrastructure within the squadrons that establishes a baseline that will keep it running, which includes training, scheduling, and administration actions,” said Valenzia. “This capability begins by creating Operation Support Squadrons to function as a mini installation bringing much of the support to these units that are struggling under our current method of sharing authorities across scores of agencies.”

The new OSSs at each one of the groups will manage and streamline certain personnel, equipment, contracting and fiscal authorities.

“We are currently supported by 18 host bases owned by eight different MAJCOMS,” said Capt. Carly Serratore, 93rd AGOW comptroller. “Some of our units follow Air Force processes, some Army. It's messy and does not allow for effective resource management from acquisition, accounting, and accountability perspectives. The OSS will allow us to marry our responsibilities with our authorities in order to give our warfighters the support they need.”

Valenzia sees the organizational changes as a way to not only provide Airmen at all levels with the resources in the squadron but as the first step in modernizing their training methodology.  

“Since we have limited time and resources to train, we have to be as effective and efficient in our training as we can,” said Valenzia. “Our national security threats demand we train to far more sophisticated and demanding training scenarios than our current methodology allows. By changing how we train we are better able to build not only skills but proficiency in applying those skills in highly-complex training environments. In order to provide combat ready forces to our combatant commanders, we must organize, train, and equip our warfighters for operations against an advanced adversary.”

As a veteran member of the AGOW, Air Liaison Officer Capt. Dennis Seay believes the AGOW is currently paving a new road for what is becoming a much more important Air Force warfighting capability. 

“Truth is, the amount of development and change in the AGOW community makes it seem like the AGOW is much older than 10 years,” said Seay. “The evolution has been dramatic. Today, the AGOW has taken the initiative to bring the community into the 4th and 5th generation by expanding the knowledge, skills, and experiences of JTACs and ALOs to be the most joint-minded warfighters in the Air Force.

“Ten years ago, we were focused on Close Air Support and crushing the enemy on the battlefield with overwhelming firepower and although that is still a core skill, the AGOW is evolving to truly be the integrator for all effects on the battlefield, both kinetic and non-kinetic.” 

Although many things throughout the last decade have changed, the demand for the highest quality individual has remained.

“The success of the AGOW, and the TACP community, is driven by the human,” said Seay. “The ‘human as a weapons system’ is a reality in this community. Our leadership capability outweighs the need to operate a piece of equipment. Critical thought outweighs the delivery of a weapon.  Problem-solving outweighs the ability to follow a checklist.  The AGOW has shifted focus to invest in and develop the human.”

Bottom-line, Seay says the AGOW is pushing forward, breaking barriers and finding new ways to equip their warfighters, while pushing innovation to the edges. 

“Finally, the last change is that we must create shared-interest partnerships to link our warfighters with academia, industry and other agency partners to share best practices and to shape the development of new tactics, techniques, procedures, and emerging technologies,” said Valenzia.

AGOW Battlefield Airmen recently partnered with the Air Force Research Lab and Georgia Tech Research Institute to jumpstart the push of innovation down to the warfighter.

“Our new partnership with our shared-interest partners will help to bring innovation to the edges by partnering some of our nation’s greatest engineers and scientists with our warfighters,” said Valenzia. “This will allow researchers to better understand the nature of the operating environment and identify our capability gaps. With a shared understanding of our requirements, they can help guide our efforts in the development of emerging technologies.”

Valenzia reiterated, one Airmen with a good idea can change the Air Force today and it’s because our senior leaders have set the conditions in order to listen and they are listening.

“Now and for the rest of your career you’re going to be faced with challenges, your task is to seek to understand those challenges and know that you have the power to find the solutions,” said Valenzia. “Don’t wait for someone else to solve them for you.

“The Secretary and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have a familiar tagline of ‘don’t wait for us’ Valenzia said. “We aren’t.”