Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.(April 4, 2023):In this photo by Senior Airman Callie Norton, Master Sgt. David Schnabel, 8th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron first sergeant, is welcomed home from a deployment by a loved one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The deployment was the 62nd Airlift Wing’s first under the new Airforce “Force Generation Model” in support of U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Africa Command operations.
The Force Generation Model is a new policy to make servicemember deployments more predictable and scenes like the reunion above, while touching, happen less often.
Airforce personnel and their equipment are fatigued after decades of war around the world and Airmen need a more stable deployment schedule to allow time for family life. In the past, the Airforce deployed forces to military commanders around the globe continuously which has become unsustainable due to its impact on crew training and readiness. The new program allows Airmen to get ready for deployment year-round rather than scramble to complete training and preparation at the last minute.
The Airforce has created a cyclical process that rotates Airmen through four phases, “Reset, Prepare, Ready, and Available To Commit. In the Ready phase, multiple units gather for training events and hold competitions, such as flag events, weapons school, or other large-scale exercises that keep units at a razor’s edge. This is followed by the Prepare phase that spreads out training across 18 months before they can be assigned overseas. Next comes the Ready phase, the final preparation step before a unit is declared “Available to Commit” anywhere in the world.
One-fourth of the Air Force will be in each phase at any given time with each phase lasting six months. This translates into units ideally going at least a year between deployments.
Hopefully, this new policy will result in airmen receiving the training they need and the rest and family time they deserve.