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dsumner
30 June 2008, 04:12
I think I asked this same question way back in the dark ages of this board, but I'll ask it again as times have changed. Do you think that the USAF should create a JTAC/ALO officer specialty field as they've done for CSAR and SERE? I'm thinking that the majority of the candidates would come from the ranks of experienced enlisted JTACs currently serving in ASOS.

KJ
30 June 2008, 07:44
I suppose your question could be; "Are there enough TAC-P specialists to warrant an officer path?"

SN
30 June 2008, 09:14
A JTAC O path would be possible, but difficult. I think you could add Air Battle Manager's to the mix to increase the gene pool, and this would also be a good entry point for the enlisted JTAC's.

I am not sure the Army would be happy with 2Lt ALO's though.

Gray Rhyno
30 June 2008, 09:41
Isn't the ALO supposed to be a pilot? Isn't that their career field?

Birdman23
30 June 2008, 11:30
The Guard ASOS' recently got the option of offering non-rated ALO positions to JTAC-Is who have attained the rank of E-6 and have a 4 year degree. It's still in the infancy stage, but there have been about 8-10 takers so far who are out there doing the job. There are quite a few other qualified guys who are hoping for a few changes to be made, such as starting off higher than 2LT given certain amounts of E experience. (Like Nurses and Doctors get). I don't see that happening, but the rumor is that this position may be coming to the active duty side at some point down the road.

SN
30 June 2008, 15:15
Isn't the ALO supposed to be a pilot? Isn't that their career field?

They have put Nav in, but yes they are "supposed" to be pilots.

Tracy
30 June 2008, 18:19
...Do you think that the USAF should create a JTAC/ALO officer specialty field as they've done for CSAR and SERE? ...

Nope. Enlisted Airmen are doing just fine. Unless, they're were fully qualified Artillery Officers...

juggler
6 July 2008, 01:12
Yes, I just finished college and would love to be an ALO. :cool: Plus it would be good for others who have degrees and would like to transfer to the commissioned side.

Doogie320
6 July 2008, 01:52
...add Air Battle Manager's to the mix.....

If that happened you would be able to hear the crying in outer space. Most of them in an Air Control Squadron snivel, whine, and cry because they are no longer on flight staus in their beloved AWACS.

VMI_Marine
6 July 2008, 10:03
Nope. Enlisted Airmen are doing just fine. Unless, they're were fully qualified Artillery Officers...

I don't think they're talking about handing over the terminal control responsibilities to O's, I think they're talking about making the current officer roles in an ASOS a permanent career path.

Coming from the MC side of this, I think there are a lot of benefits to having the pilots come down and spend some time in an ASOS, and work with the Army. I don't know how well it works for you guys, but we find there is a lot of value to having pilots who have spent some time with the Ground Combat Element. If you could maintain some way to give the pilots that experience, AND have a permanent ALO career path, then I think it's a good idea.

VMI_Marine
6 July 2008, 10:03
I know we have a former ALO on board here, it'd be great to get his POV on this.

juggler
6 July 2008, 20:06
Coming from the MC side of this, I think there are a lot of benefits to having the pilots come down and spend some time in an ASOS, and work with the Army. I don't know how well it works for you guys, but we find there is a lot of value to having pilots who have spent some time with the Ground Combat Element. If you could maintain some way to give the pilots that experience, AND have a permanent ALO career path, then I think it's a good idea.

I also think its a good idea to have pilots spend time with AF and Army ground units and have the chance to be permanent if there's a desire. It will be a great experience and they'll be more appreciative of ground combat.

swamppirate
8 July 2008, 09:39
We had an ALO (1st LT) with us who was a former JTAC and was not-rated.....he knew his shit and didn't mind telling big green when they were f'd up. This was on the guard side of the house however...

KJ
8 July 2008, 09:56
I also think its a good idea to have pilots spend time with AF and Army ground units and have the chance to be permanent if there's a desire. It will be a great experience and they'll be more appreciative of ground combat.
It might be good for the Air Force and the Army, but it would be a career killer IMHO for the officer.

As an example, I knew two very fine helicopter pilots that served in an Army unit as a Joint deal. Both got low marks as the Army O's had a quota and figured that the Air Force would take care of it's own. Both were RiF'ed. The good part, is the AF helo community is small and both were known for their flying skill, so both got hired as full-timers in the Reserves. They are better off for it now, but no thanks to the system.

Now this happened to two Rated officers in joint Rated positions. Imagine what would happen to a Rated O, turned non-Rated and then wishing to return to flight status. No way, he would make it past O-3 with that kind of 4-year flying set-back.

SATCOM
10 July 2008, 18:27
The USAF ALO track/assignment is hit or miss with the efficacy of the pilot/nav. Some take the assignment as a stepping-stone to a different aircraft, then count the days till their ALO days are over, not properly managing/LEADING the young TACP's under their command. I know two of the ANG JTAC's-turned-ALO and they're squared away, caring for the career field.....not going to get a fighter and slip the surly bonds.

juggler
20 July 2008, 05:18
It might be good for the Air Force and the Army, but it would be a career killer IMHO for the officer.

So I'm guessing both helo and jet pilots would suffer from flying set backs. But wouldn't they do a refresher course or keep up with flight training?

The USAF ALO track/assignment is hit or miss with the efficacy of the pilot/nav. Some take the assignment as a stepping-stone to a different aircraft, then count the days till their ALO days are over, not properly managing/LEADING the young TACP's under their command. I know two of the ANG JTAC's-turned-ALO and they're squared away, caring for the career field.....not going to get a fighter and slip the surly bonds.

That's pretty sad if the ALO views the job that way. I'm sure the ANG JTAC's-turned-ALO are more dedicated and probably do a better job caring for their men.

KJ
20 July 2008, 11:01
Might be sad, but it is true. Before you throw stones, I understand you want to go to the USAFA and get a pilot or CCT officer position? How would you feel if got selected as an administrative officer?

juggler
22 July 2008, 16:04
Might be sad, but it is true. Before you throw stones, I understand you want to go to the USAFA and get a pilot or CCT officer position? How would you feel if got selected as an administrative officer?

Not the USAFA, just OTS. I screwed up my chances with the AFA and AFROTC but as of two months ago, I received a bachelors degree. :D

The main reason I'd want to be a pilot would be to become an ALO. Although I have relatives that are airline pilots and want me to be an F-16/22 pilot, I'd rather have something to do with special ops and CCT would be my first choice. But to answer your question, I'd be bummed if I got selected as an admin officer because my dream was CCT and unfortunately I got my degree in business admin (which really wasn't that great). But then again, I'll have a good attitude about it and serve my country.

I think its too late to submit a package to go to OTS so I'll just go enlisted.

PS: KJ, can I send you a PM?

MX-Zero
25 July 2008, 08:45
From what I understood, the CRO positions were created to be more of a force management position than a hands on participant. It makes sense to have people from the career field looking after the members, especially if ALOs are by nature, transient. As a maintenance officer I don’t fix the aircraft anymore, they took my toolbox. I'm all people and paper now.
I've asked the 193rd if they have zeros in the JTAC positions and the answer was no. That would be a good assignment coming from non-rated side, but I can see why few rated folks want to hang out after the box gets checked. I would like to see it happen.

MS275
25 July 2008, 12:52
Just as ST has STOs, TACP needs career officers. While some ALOs have done great things they are usually only around for two years (now three). A career TACP-O for lack of a better term would have a vested interest in his decisions since they would follow him throughout his career. Also, growing up in the BA environment would give hem a better understanding and ability to successfully operate/lead onthe battlefield. I think it is long overdue and though it may be painful and take some time (read John Carneys book about early STOs) in the long run it would be best for the careerfield.

By the way...some of TACPs best leaders have been/are currently STOs.

MS

KJ
25 July 2008, 15:09
PS: KJ, can I send you a PM?
Sure

sixgun
25 July 2008, 18:21
Well, I'll open whole can of worms here just for the sake of discussion...

The very existance of TACP/Romad/ALO positions owes itself to two factors:

1. The USAF's enduring condecedning attitude towards it's sister services

2. The legacy of the draftee Army of Vietnam.

I submit that there is no task that an ALO/TACP engages in that a properly trained Fire Support element in the Army or Marine Corp can't do. Airspace deconfliction is the bread & butter of Artlillery officers. FO's can run any kind of radio you care to train them on and direct CAS just fine, I've watched it a thousand times.

The Air Force's job should be to put the CAS up as dictated by the allocation and apportionment directed by the Joint Force Commander. The Fire Support Officer should be able to access that CAS as required, on call or pre-planned and fraged in the ATO. He should be able to hand that CAS off to his FO's as he sees fit and the FO's should be trained and equiped to use it. Gee, sounds like the Ranger Rgt...

But if the USAF were to allow that, they would lose the ability to budget $$$ for the TACP/ALO lash up. Why would they care? Because they budget for supporting CAS to the ground forces, then siphon off a large part of that money every year to support their more "urget" priorities (read: anything that has to do with fighters...)

I've met and worked with many a talented TACP guy. I value the work they did. But the reality was, and is IMHO, that their job could be done by the organic FS element in any Army organization I've served with. The Marine Corp has operated just fine in the MAGTAF without TACP because it trains it's FSE in CAS as a normal course of business.

The USAF's arguments of the early 70's - that the 4th grade educated draftee and shake & bake Lt's of the Army would get their pilots killed controlling a stack of fighters no longer hold water.

The argument that a trained pilot is somehow superior to a trained FSO in deciding when, where or how to apply CAS is simply ignorant. It stems from the USAF's fighter pilot superiority complex that says "only a guy that wears a go fast suit knows shit about how to use a go fast aircraft". This argument also ignors the basic fact that the trained eye of the ground pounder knows where and when fires will have the greatest impact on the battle being fought, as opposed to the F-16 driver (or worse - non-rated GIB) whose eyes are daily on the prize - return to the cockpit.

Remember, I'm not saying that TACP/ALOs don't do good work. I'm saying that there is no need for them IF the Army and Marine Corp budget for and train guys to do the job. (The USMC does...)

I know no Army GFC's that would not rather have that asset organic and fully invested in his unit for the long term. And I know no USMC GFC that would give up his organic CAS controlling FSE to "get" a TACP party to control HIS air. (And in reality, that is an attitude that the USAF does NOT want to imbue the Army with - that the CAS "belongs" to the Army once it is fragged...)

The Ranger Rgt, Force Recon, SEAL units, SMU's can get along just fine without TACP everywhere they go. (Yes, CCT has an element with these folks in many cases, but in many cases not. And that is because the FO's and operators are trained and equipted to do the job. And yes, there is a TACP element with the Rangers, but they are NOT required, the Bn. FSE can deal in all the CAS it wants to because the folks are trained...)

So there, someone educate me. Tell me what the TACP/Romad/ALO brings to the fight that CAN"T be brought by a properly trained Fire Support Element.

SATCOM
25 July 2008, 19:03
So there, someone educate me. Tell me what the TACP/Romad/ALO brings to the fight that CAN"T be brought by a properly trained Fire Support Element.

OK, I'll try to do some educatin'. I will not disagree that a properly trained FSE/FSO can't do what a TACP/CCT/JTAC can bring to the battlespace. Don't know how up-to-speed you are on the JFKSWC SOTACC Course out at Yuma, but I'll be brief. The ARSOF needed JTAC's to be out in the field with their ODA's. Problem is, there's not enough of them. It takes years to build the knowledge/skills to work fast-movers accurately. I mean years of TDY's (unit funded) and classwork, simulator time etc.

After OEF kicked off, then OIF, USASOC said (paraphrased of course), "Hey, there's not enough TACP/CCT to meet our needs, why don't we just start a school and teach our 18 series and Rangers to do it....make it so."

Thus the Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) was born. Soon, throngs of SF/Rangers/SEALs were attending and graduating from this course. Problems soon arose though, in that there are strict DOD guidelines reference currency/proficiency of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers. Those problems were that currency/proficiency were NOT being maintained. These troops would graduate with their cool certificate and then RTB to the Battalion......never to talk to another plane, or drop another bomb until they were sent to the AOR. You're in aviation, suppose you graduated Mother Rucker, got some NVG time under your belt, then never flew again for two years. Do you think that you'd be allowed to conduct a high-risk mission? Would you feel comfortable doing it? Would you be current on the latest procedures and comms? How about TTP's?

Have I educated?

sixgun
25 July 2008, 20:11
You have, in fact, made the point I made - If the Army budgeted for the same TDY's, training time, etc. those graduates would be current. The Army, however, is prohibited from doing this because of money. And not just the TDY funds. When TACP folks go out and drops a few bombs - their unit is not "charged" for the bombs, a/c time, range time, etc. The Air Force sees that as training for the pilots and the TACP - so its a wash. Same-same as JAAT time on a range between AH's and A-10's...

But if the Army wants CAS a/c to work out with, say, 10th Mtn. Div at R-76 at Nellis just to keep its FO's current - the bill is in the HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars in range time, a/c time and ordinance. Their pilot is dropping the same blue death on the same range and getting the same training iteration out of it - but the USAF has a chance to charge it to the Army and will do so every time. That's why the the regular Army can't do it.

The regular Army, given the budget to do so (and that budget would be less than the budget for the entire TACP AFSC and associated infrastructure) could and would keep its folks current. It is in their best interest to do so. Just as the USMC does.

WRT the question about going to Rucker, etc. - In general the Army trains guys to fly, then uses them to fly (warrants at least). So, no, I would not want a guy that is not current flying. And I don't want a guy that is not current controlling the stack or the fall of ord. So - keep them current...

Again, I'm not dissin the TACPs out there. It is not their fault the institutional mindset is what it is.

I responded to this thread because I see no need for a TACP commisioned AFSC because I question the base need for TACP in the first place. The Air Force needs terminal controllers when they are conducting unilateral DA missions. Not much of that happening...

SN
25 July 2008, 23:18
The regular Army, given the budget to do so (and that budget would be less than the budget for the entire TACP AFSC and associated infrastructure) could and would keep its folks current. It is in their best interest to do so. Just as the USMC does.
...

I think you'd be suprised how little we spend on TACP.
As far as ranges go, why travel to Vegas, doesn't Drumm, Bragg, Campbell, etc have ranges that support TacAir?

Each fightercrew drops x amount of bombs per quarter, support those missions, and your range costs drop significantly, you only pay for additional sorties generated to keep YOUR SOLDIERS current.

I'm sure your aviators know how to schedule CAS into the ATO, so I agree, the Army could do it. Does the Army want to do it?

KJ
26 July 2008, 12:11
The very existance of TACP/Romad/ALO positions owes itself to two factors:

1. The USAF's enduring condecedning attitude towards it's sister services. Condescending. You're kidding me, right? Let me put you in a blue uniform and walk you on ANY Army or Marine Corp base, and it should give you a good idea of what condescending is. Remember, most of my schools were Army, Navy and Marine Corp schools and I was an Air Force guy stationed on a Navy Field for three years. I am not talking out of my ass here, the Air Force guys get slighted on sight and you know it. I do not think the same amount of disrespect occurs towards Army or Marines folks on Air Force bases without any reason, or at anywhere near the same level. That is my jaded opinion of course.


I submit that there is no task that an ALO/TACP engages in that a properly trained Fire Support element in the Army or Marine Corp can't do. That is a true statement. The trick is; properly trained. I can only say in my day, when I heard that and then looked at that, not only were we talking two or three different languages and radio-speak between the services, the Marines and Army guys did not have radio's that were capable of Air Force aircraft frequencies. They used FM. The Air Force used UHF. I am hopeful, that at least this has changed for the services. The terms were entirely different as well as the simplest radio procedures. No standardization to speak at. Heck, the fighter folks couldn't even speak MY language and I was IN the Air Force. I had a hard time dealing with the Air Force definition of tactical air being two to three KILOMETERS away from me. I thought, like most ground guys, that tactical air was 30 meters in front of me. Bottom line was; different radios, different procedures, different terms, different training (of aircrews and pilots as well), different definition of current and qualified and different encryption and Have Quick capabilities. Again, I am talking old hat. I am confident that much, if not most of these shortcomings have had fixes done to them. But seriously, how many of your Fire Support element folks have had training with blue Air Force air to mud squadrons?


Airspace deconfliction is the bread & butter of Artlillery officers. FO's can run any kind of radio you care to train them on and direct CAS just fine, I've watched it a thousand times. I bet they could. But who is going to train them, who is going to buy those radios, why would the Air Force want to do that for an Army MOS, and not their own folks?


The Air Force's job should be to put the CAS up as dictated by the allocation and apportionment directed by the Joint Force Commander.
What do you think they are doing now instead of this? The JFC knows what he wants done and the priorities of the conflict. But the JFC's rightly leave the Air war up to their Air bosses and frag the ATO accordingly. It was not Gen. Schwarzkopf that designed the Air war on Iraq in the Gulf War. It was Buster Glosson.


The Fire Support Officer should be able to access that CAS as required, on call or pre-planned and fraged in the ATO. He should be able to hand that CAS off to his FO's as he sees fit and the FO's should be trained and equiped to use it. Gee, sounds like the Ranger Rgt...
But if the USAF were to allow that, they would lose the ability to budget $$$ for the TACP/ALO lash up. Why would they care? Because they budget for supporting CAS to the ground forces, then siphon off a large part of that money every year to support their more "urget" priorities (read: anything that has to do with fighters...)
I bet they could and don't feel lonely about the AF brass taking all your money for flyers, notably fighter crews. Hell, they did it to me every year. But again, why should the Air Force use Air Force funds to train Army personnel to do a job that has Air Force AFSC's already funded and doing it? I am seriously wondering if the Army personnel office would agree to an Air Force idea like this? (I can hear the staffer now, "Manpower positions used for what? Tell the Air Force to pay for it. Get their own manpower positions and funding and transfer them over to the us.") Pretty much what I heard Air Force manpower officials tell me when I needed more Pararescuemen. And how about those Marine positions?


I've met and worked with many a talented TACP guy. I value the work they did. But the reality was, and is IMHO, that their job could be done by the organic FS element in any Army organization I've served with. The Marine Corp has operated just fine in the MAGTAF without TACP because it trains it's FSE in CAS as a normal course of business. How many Air Force aircraft were in those MAGTAF's?


The USAF's arguments of the early 70's - that the 4th grade educated draftee and shake & bake Lt's of the Army would get their pilots killed controlling a stack of fighters no longer hold water. I can't speak to that. I would slam any Air Force official that referred to the draftees of Vietnam in the Army as "4th grade educated". I would speak to whoever controls those stacks of bombers and fighters needs to be trained correctly to do it.


The argument that a trained pilot is somehow superior to a trained FSO in deciding when, where or how to apply CAS is simply ignorant. It stems from the USAF's fighter pilot superiority complex that says "only a guy that wears a go fast suit knows shit about how to use a go fast aircraft". This argument also ignors the basic fact that the trained eye of the ground pounder knows where and when fires will have the greatest impact on the battle being fought, as opposed to the F-16 driver (or worse - non-rated GIB) whose eyes are daily on the prize - return to the cockpit. I think there are cases to be made on both sides. Bottom line is; there is not enough properly trained CAS folks in ALL the services of all types to fulfill the need.


Remember, I'm not saying that TACP/ALOs don't do good work. I'm saying that there is no need for them IF the Army and Marine Corp budget for and train guys to do the job. (The USMC does...) The operative word was "IF". They don't. The USMC trains their guys to direct USMC and Navy aircraft. Your statement is perfectly correct and I agree with it. But you see, the Army and the Marines do not budget or man for this outside of their own service requirements less the needs of their own service. In other words, they short-sheet CAS in their budgets and priorities and do not train for using Air Force assetts in that CAS training.

I have no argument with the rest of what you say, brother. I would say:


So there, someone educate me. Tell me what the TACP/Romad/ALO brings to the fight that CAN"T be brought by a properly trained Fire Support Element. Absolutely. The key here, is properly trained.

If feel, that if you have an organic capability, it would be used. I believe this. And I don't think that it is the Air Force that is holding you back. I understand your frustration, but I think that is how it works; If you are the pro from Dover, people are gonna find out about it. And then people are gonna want you. If the SEALs or Rangers or whoever, had a group of MOS dedicated guys that really knew their shit and could do the job great, why would the Air Force need to add folks to that? Why would they go against a group that has gotten a reputation of "Those guys worked with us last year and had it together. No need for an ALO or even a face to face with them." Where there is a need, it is filled. Where it works better, the old is sloughed off. Believe it.

I definitely agree with you on this: The Fighter Mafia runs the Air Force. And anything outside of this, is secondary or less. That is the way I believe the AF brass thinks, before and today.

sixgun
26 July 2008, 20:22
KJ, I mean't no slam on blue suiters in general WRT the "condecending" remark. I once wore a blue suit too and I know of what you speak...

What I was refering to is the upper echelon fighter pilot leadership that worships at the alter of the one true diety - airpower. That same leadership does have, and display, a condecending attitude to anyone that presumes to suggest how to use "airpower" or presumes to suggest that someone other than the Air Force might have a clue how to employ "airpower".

Ask just about any Marine or Naval Aviator, especialy fighter pilot types, whether the USAF has a condecending attitude towards its sister services, WRT aviation, and I bet you a dollar to a donut that the answer is yes.

When I attended WTI in Yuma the USMC was not just interested in seeing if there was anything to learn from those of us in the Army, Navy and USAF - they demanded that we find something we could teach them before we graduated.

Whenever, however, I was forced to attend any USAF school that had to do with flying, CAS, Spec Ops Aviation - the sister service attendees were told, in plain english, that we were there to learn the USAF way of doing business - the RIGHT way it should be done. And, the USAF pilots in attendance were told, in front of us, that they were NOT to contaminate themselves with any of "our" unsafe, unproven, unapproved TTPs.

My partner at the Hurby Field Joint Firepower course happened to be an Army Aviator with buttloads of NVG time in a helo doing CAS.

He tried to suggest to a Ltc teaching a particular block of instruction that the way the USAF mandated doing something WRT CAS ( I don't remember what in particular) at night would not work well. Perhaps they should consider trying "X" method. Just put it in the bag of tricks "in case".

My God, you would have thought my partner was a child the way the instructor answered him - condecendingly, slowly - as if he were retarded, telling him that "with more experience operating at night with live ordinance" he would see the need to do it the USAF approved way. My partner, I, and a Marine Maj from MAWTS got up and walked out...

So, no, I'm not kidding you when I say condecending attitude toward the sister services. I am, however, applying that statement to an institutional mindset that is cultivated in the USAF officer corps and manifests itself at the highest levels of command.

The average USAF troops could give a shit about being condecending to the other services. Their to busy living one to a room in the barracks and eating Baskin Robbins. (I had to do that...)

WRT your other comments - they come down to funding. And yes, if the Army got the money they would spend it and acquire the skill sets to gain that organic capability. The radio issues have long been fixed. It is the expence of training and staying current that the Army can't bear without the funding.

IF the SECDEF said tomorrow that all TACP were being transferred to the Army, that fully qualified terminal controllers E-6 and up would go to Sill and attend Artillery OBC, college graduates would become Lts and other E-6's would become WO's, that everyone else would be whatever rank, that the money, range time, ord, flight time the USAF budgets for training and currency of its JTACs/ALOs/TACPs was now the Army's - the Army would be on it like white on rice. I believe the Army would be VERY happy with that. Army commanders would finally have what the USMC has had all along - control of its CAS from the get go. And, ultimately, that makes the killing more efficient.

The only way to get better would be to take the CAS A/C from the USAF and give them to the Army. Let the USAF worry about shooting down fighters (as well as its myriad other tasks) and let the Army worry about its own CAS. But that ain't going to happen. It is, however, more efficient that the present system. Ask any Marine commander.

KJ
28 July 2008, 12:42
Ahh...Yeah. I see now. My bad. I can't argue with what you say, as I agree with all of it. Too bad that Lt. Col. was too stupid to listen. Maybe he could have learned a new trick. Saw that all the time. They want you to think outside of the box, but shit bricks when you actually do.

MS275
28 July 2008, 18:21
Well, I'll open whole can of worms here just for the sake of discussion...

The very existance of TACP/Romad/ALO positions owes itself to two factors:

1. The USAF's enduring condecedning attitude towards it's sister services

2. The legacy of the draftee Army of Vietnam.

I submit that there is no task that an ALO/TACP engages in that a properly trained Fire Support element in the Army or Marine Corp can't do. Airspace deconfliction is the bread & butter of Artlillery officers. FO's can run any kind of radio you care to train them on and direct CAS just fine, I've watched it a thousand times.

You are right, but the Army will not dedicate/commit the time, effort, or resources to ensure that their guys are properly trained. RGRs and SF both look at CAS as an additional duty and only maintain curreny (rarely) not proficiency (as a JTAC should). At least the RGRs are sending 13Fs to the course where as the SF will send any MOS. So what takes priority in the heat of battle, a guy's MOS, or his additional duty? I think you see where I'm going.

Furthermore, any monkey can pass a 9-line and say cleared hot (no really, I've seen it), but there is a lot more to CAS than reading a card into a handset, and that is where the other services pale in comparison to an AF or Marine JTAC. Training is everything and the Army is not committed (see previous paragraph)

He should be able to hand that CAS off to his FO's as he sees fit and the FO's should be trained and equiped to use it.

See previous response.

Gee, sounds like the Ranger Rgt...

Really? Does it? As the senior, current and qualified, RGR JTAC/TACP I'll be happy to discuss this with you at length, but that is not how it happens. If you define CAS as RW/AC-130, then you are somewhat correct, but we (my guys and their supported unit) do not define either of those assets as CAS, but rather Fire Support.

The Marine Corp has operated just fine in the MAGTAF without TACP because it trains it's FSE in CAS as a normal course of business.

Not true. The Marines have had TACPs (Air Officer and RTOs) since WW II and still utilize them and ANGLICOs on the battlefield today. Where do you think the AF got its template.

The USAF's arguments of the early 70's - that the 4th grade educated draftee and shake & bake Lt's of the Army would get their pilots killed controlling a stack of fighters no longer hold water.

Good point...now it's a 9th grade education, felons, and 18Xs. It's still a vaild argument and I think the bucket just quit leaking.

The argument that a trained pilot is somehow superior to a trained FSO in deciding when, where or how to apply CAS is simply ignorant. It stems from the USAF's fighter pilot superiority complex that says "only a guy that wears a go fast suit knows shit about how to use a go fast aircraft". This argument also ignors the basic fact that the trained eye of the ground pounder knows where and when fires will have the greatest impact on the battle being fought, as opposed to the F-16 driver (or worse - non-rated GIB) whose eyes are daily on the prize - return to the cockpit.

95% of airstrikes conducted by TACPs/CCT are conducted by E's. The O's do the coordination and rarely get JTAC qualled or set foot out of the STOC/TOC. I will submit this though. When you need to know how best to employ an A/C dropping a GBU-38V4 at 25K through a stack with a 75 degree impact angle to minimize CD, that F-16 driver whose done it comes in pretty handy.

I know no Army GFC's that would not rather have that asset organic and fully invested in his unit for the long term. And I know no USMC GFC that would give up his organic CAS controlling FSE to "get" a TACP party to control HIS air. (And in reality, that is an attitude that the USAF does NOT want to imbue the Army with - that the CAS "belongs" to the Army once it is fragged...)

Talk to my customer as well as some other guys and they will tell you a different story.

The Ranger Rgt, Force Recon, SEAL units, SMU's can get along just fine without TACP everywhere they go. (Yes, CCT has an element with these folks in many cases, but in many cases not. And that is because the FO's and operators are trained and equipted to do the job. And yes, there is a TACP element with the Rangers, but they are NOT required, the Bn. FSE can deal in all the CAS it wants to because the folks are trained...)


SOTACC has been around since 02' yet the majority of the airstrikes being conuducted for SOF are by AF JTACs. NSAWCC has been around even longer and trained a number of NAVSOF personnel, yet the Navy still has AF JTACs on many of their teams and AF JTACs routinely support the Marines on the battlefield in both theatres.

As far as the Rangers and their TACPs, you're out of touch and way off the mark. I'll leave it at that.

I totally appreciate your background and work with your current/former? unit on a routine basis, but comments inferring any Fire Support guy can do CAS is like saying pilot can fly for the 160th.

MS

swamppirate
30 July 2008, 09:08
"Airspace deconfliction is the bread & butter of Artlillery officers. FO's can run any kind of radio you care to train them on and direct CAS just fine, I've watched it a thousand times."

I've got an idea....let's let Big Green handle all CAS and TACP's will call in arty strikes......yeah right

VMI_Marine
30 July 2008, 11:39
I don't really have a dog in this fight, which is exactly why I'm throwing my $0.02 in here to stir the pot. :D

Furthermore, any monkey can pass a 9-line and say cleared hot (no really, I've seen it), but there is a lot more to CAS than reading a card into a handset, and that is where the other services pale in comparison to an AF or Marine JTAC. Training is everything and the Army is not committed (see previous paragraph)

Wholeheartedly agree with "training is everything". If the Army commits to training 13Fs as JTACs, however, there is no reason that they could not gain and maintain proficiency at the job.

95% of airstrikes conducted by TACPs/CCT are conducted by E's. The O's do the coordination and rarely get JTAC qualled or set foot out of the STOC/TOC. I will submit this though. When you need to know how best to employ an A/C dropping a GBU-38V4 at 25K through a stack with a 75 degree impact angle to minimize CD, that F-16 driver whose done it comes in pretty handy.

This is why the Marine Corps still maintains aviators in ground units as FACs. The subject matter expertise those guys provide is priceless. Having easy access to F/A-18, AV-8B, AH-1, and UH-1 pilots to answer specific questions about their airframe and weapon systems has been crucial to our JTACs' performance.

NSAWCC has been around even longer and trained a number of NAVSOF personnel, yet the Navy still has AF JTACs on many of their teams and AF JTACs routinely support the Marines on the battlefield in both theatres.

Really? I'd be interested to hear examples of that, because I'm unaware of it ever happening. TACPs do work within the MEF AO in OIF, but in support of Army units.

but comments inferring any Fire Support guy can do CAS is like saying pilot can fly for the 160th.

Not true at all, the ANGLICOs are chock full of fire support guys who are trained to control all aspects of fire support - surface, naval, and air.

How about something of a different take on this? Rather than having a separate FSE and ASOS, why not combine the two into a single unit under the Army? Each BCT could have an "observation battery" that provides trained FSEs to the maneuver units. The battery HQ would staff the BCT FSE, and there would be a platoon for each battalion to provide the battalion FSE. The battery HQ would have an ALO and necessary ROMAD/TACP types to process the subordinate units' requests for air support. Same for each platoon HQ. Each platoon would then provide FIST teams to the maneuver companies, with trained FSOs, 13Fs, and TACPs all rolled into one. However, the BCT FSO would be the battery CO, and the Air Force ALOs and TACPs would ultimately answer to him. This means AF personnel are OPCON and ADCON to the BCT observation battery.

The TACPs in this fictional structure could theoretically be the existing Air Force enlisted controllers, or experienced 13Fs trained as terminal controllers.

OK, I've thrown it out there; now Type 3 is in effect and you guys are cleared to engage. :cool:

MS275
30 July 2008, 20:38
VMI,

As far as USAF support to the Marines...primarily in OE as late as 05', but also numerous times in OI (early on), USAF TACPs were sliced to the Marines to fill shortages of JTACs.

Not true at all, the ANGLICOs are chock full of fire support guys who are trained to control all aspects of fire support - surface, naval, and air.

I was not inferring an FSNCO/FO could not become a JTAC (many a 13F in my supported unit is JTAC qualled), but it is not for everyone. Not even every TACP or Combat Controller becomes a JTAC. We hold our personnel to a high standard and some guys just can't do it.

MS

SATCOM
30 July 2008, 21:46
Really? I'd be interested to hear examples of that, because I'm unaware of it ever happening. TACPs do work within the MEF AO in OIF, but in support of Army units.

I personally know of two AF TACP's that were assigned to USMC units in OEF in 2003 (one earning a BSM with V). If you need exact dates/times/units/DSN numbers/After Actions Reports, let me know....

VMI_Marine
2 August 2008, 16:08
I personally know of two AF TACP's that were assigned to USMC units in OEF in 2003 (one earning a BSM with V). If you need exact dates/times/units/DSN numbers/After Actions Reports, let me know....

Actually, now my curiosity is piqued. I'm only aware of one USMC ground unit deployed to OEF in 2003, and I was in it. I know we didn't have any USAF TACPs attached. Understand, I'm not waving the bullshit flag, I'm just curious because I've never heard of any instances. Doesn't exactly qualify as "routine", though.

MS275, I think we understand each other on the time and skill required to be a proficient JTAC, but speaking from an outside POV, I think there is some merit to more Army involvement in CAS employment. I also think the AF needs to stay involved as duty experts on the aircraft and weapon systems. Some of this requires the AF to encourage pilots to spend time as ALOs, much like the Army is struggling with sending their guys on MiTT tours. Not to keep tooting the Marine Corps' horn, but FAC tours are generally sought out by our pilots as career enhancing, and also as just a chance to spend some time rolling in the mud with the grunts.

MS275
6 August 2008, 23:19
VMI,

2/3 Marines were at my location in OEF from 05'-06' and had an AF JTAC working with their AO as did other locations.

MS

VMI_Marine
7 August 2008, 17:54
VMI,

2/3 Marines were at my location in OEF from 05'-06' and had an AF JTAC working with their AO as did other locations.

MS

Roger. Makes sense as spread out as those battalions were during that time period.

dsumner
19 May 2009, 11:10
A little update

Push for ALO career field gets new vigor

Army, Air Force chiefs of staff agree to move forward
By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday May 4, 2009 6:15:00 EDT

The airmen who call in airstrikes that save U.S. lives and kill al-Qaida operatives are being supported by the military’s top leaders in their push for an officer career field to call their own.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey both agree the services should move forward with establishing a joint career field for air liaison officers, said Lt. Col. Lee Spechler, the joint fires branch chief and one of the career field’s architects.

Also behind the proposal, Spechler said, is Lt. Gen. Daniel J. Darnell, deputy chief of staff for air, space and information operations, plans and requirements.

Currently, most active-duty ALOs are pilots who do two-year tours performing two roles — leading the tactical air control party enlistees who direct airstrikes and working with both the Air Force and the Army to orchestrate airstrikes.

Emerging needs for pilots in jobs outside the cockpit, such as operating unmanned aerial vehicles, have put a strain on the pilot force and are forcing service leaders to fill nonflying duties — such as ALO positions — with nonrated officers.

TACP leaders have argued for years that they, too, need an ALO career field to establish continuity and to build expertise in providing close-air support, said Chief Master Sgt. David Devine, the TACP career field manager.

A decade ago, the Air Force made a similar change when it created the combat rescue officer career field to lead what had been an all-enlisted pararescuemen community.

Spechler wants 70 percent of the Air Force’s ALOs positions to be career ALOs and 30 percent to be pilots. He estimated it might take more than a decade to fill the career ALOs.

Today, the Air Force has 291 ALOs; that number will grow to 370 by 2012, Spechler said. The service hopes to train at least three new ALOs a month starting as soon as spring 2010, Devine said.

The Air Force takes its first step toward that goal this summer when 20 airmen beta test a training course designed by ALO and TACP leaders.

The airmen will be divided into two groups of 10. Making up the first group are five enlisted TACPs and five officers who served as TACPs before they commissioned and moved into a different career field. The second group hasn’t been selected, but Air Force officials want airmen who don’t have a TACP background. Applications from all nonrated officers are still being accepted for the second group, Devine said.

The Air Force wouldn’t discuss the details of the training course, such as how many weeks it will run or when each group will start.
Testing candidate skills

Spechler will outline the specifics later this month at the Air Force operations conference, but Devine and Spechler said officers will have to complete a one-week screening course that tests their mental and physical acumen for the job.

“We are looking to weed out those that are probably not cut out for this career field and to make sure, as they select this career field, that it was the right decision for them,” Spechler said.

The candidates then must complete TACP technical school at Hurlburt Field, Fla., followed by additional Army and Air Force advanced training that will depend on their assignment. In all, the training will last nine to 10 months, Spechler said.

Most of those who complete the training will be second lieutenants. Today, active-duty ALOs are typically captains and majors.
Will Army respect them?

Spechler acknowledged Air Force officials have heard concerns that the Army won’t respect a nonrated lieutenant ALO.

“There are those that say the Army is going to chew them up and spit them out, but I think the Army is going to see a huge benefit from this in that the Air Force is now giving them an officer for a career field and a mission area that is dedicated to their direct support,” he said. “When they view it in that matter, they will give it the benefit of the doubt and provide support rather than work against it.”

Research, however, shows those fears might be overstated. Maj. Mark Wisher, a former ALO who did a report on the issue, polled 299 Army and Air Force members and found that nearly two-thirds believe career ALOs would benefit the Army.

What Air Force leaders might really be worried about is losing the air liaison position to the Army if it doesn’t have pilots fill the billets, said Charlie Heidal, a retired master sergeant who served 22 years as a TACP.

“There is a concern in the ranks that this is the first chance the Army gets to make a grab for the job, but I don’t think it will happen because the Air Force owns too much of the close-air support role,” said Heidal, who also runs the Web site ROMAD Locator at www.romad.com, a popular site for TACPs.

Heidal described the response to an ALO career field inside the TACP community as overwhelmingly positive and estimated he has received hundred of e-mails from nonrated officers and officer candidates interested in becoming ALOs.

“I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve had a young trooper who is going through [officer candidate school] or an officer who is a finance dweeb who e-mails me and wants to be a TACP guy,” he said. “Before, I had to say: ‘Sucks to be you.’ Now I have something I can tell them about.”
A new field

• 61: Percentage of Air Force and Army members polled who think career ALOs would benefit the Army.

• 291: Number of Air Force ALOs today.

• 370: Estimated number of Air Force ALOs by 2012

Chad K
6 July 2009, 16:47
I don't know all of the exact professional jargon, but I do know J-TAC. We have 2 or 3 guys up here at our Combat Readiness Training Center, Phelps Collins if anyone has heard of it, and they're J-TAC guys. Now, this my be a dumb question, but why can't CCT or Weatherman be part of J-TAC. CCT has a huge role in some of the same stuff as TACP. As for STO that's Special Tactics Officer, yes? The officer equivalent for both TACP and CCT. I think that their should be a job for J-TAC, for those who are qualified and good at what they do. But also on the other hand, aren't the most skilled Spec Ops guys committed to J-TAC when needed? I'd need to lern more on it, but it sounds good to me.

MS275
9 July 2009, 21:34
I don't know all of the exact professional jargon, but I do know J-TAC. We have 2 or 3 guys up here at our Combat Readiness Training Center, Phelps Collins if anyone has heard of it, and they're J-TAC guys. Now, this my be a dumb question, but why can't CCT or Weatherman be part of J-TAC. CCT has a huge role in some of the same stuff as TACP. As for STO that's Special Tactics Officer, yes? The officer equivalent for both TACP and CCT. I think that their should be a job for J-TAC, for those who are qualified and good at what they do. But also on the other hand, aren't the most skilled Spec Ops guys committed to J-TAC when needed? I'd need to lern more on it, but it sounds good to me.

JTAC (no hyphen) is a qualification, not a job/team (symantics aside)/or unit. In the Air Force, TACPs, Combat Controllers, STOs, ALOs and now CALOs can all become JTAC qualified.

STOs are not TACP officers even though in the near future they may be in charge of a certain ASOS. TACPs have their own officers called (for the time being) Career Air Liason Officers (CALO).

You are right, you need to LEARN more about it.

MS

SN
30 July 2009, 10:36
Here is a blurb on the 1st CALO class.

Hope they make it; even though I disagree on some of the selection criteria.

A New Breed of ALOs: The Air Force has opened its air liaison officer duty to non-pilots, ushering the first 15 candidates through a five-day pre-selection course last week that whittled the group down to just five who will attempt to make it through the 75-day tactical air control party technical school. The service actually had more than 15 interested officers, but a board with members representing HQ USAF, Air Combat Command, and the 93rd Air Group Operations Wing reduced the initial applicants—after reviewing officer performance reports, medical evaluations, academic achievements, and more—to just 15 who would attend the pre-selection test phase conducted by the 93rd AGOW at Moody AFB, Ga. The pre-selection course tested "leadership abilities, physical standards, and a positive attitude," said TSgt. Iain Stewart, with the 93rd AGOW. (Moody report by SrA. Frances Locquiao)

Snakeyes 31
30 July 2009, 16:23
I think this is a Great move in the Air force. If they can do it in the ANg why cant they do it the active part. I am enlisting to be a TACP but it this career field opens up i would finish my college credits an move in to that slot after doing some time as an enlisted. It would be nice if they made the course a lot like how that have it for the seals. like how the officers go through the training along with the enlisted and not seperate. i dont know if that is what they are going to do with this course. I know in the Air force the officers get to take the easy way around a lot of the training. Like feild Training officers in ROTC: 3 weeks, Enlisted: it takes 8 weeks. you dont get all the training that you should have. I think everyone should be put through the same $h!t even if you are an officer training to be a leader. Train together, fight together, bleed together.

SATCOM
30 July 2009, 18:49
If the challenge of doing the SAME training as the enlisted excites you, then why not go Pararescue or Combat Control? I guarantee you the training is the same for the officers. No one escapes the evil eyes of the instructors.

OZEbullfighter
31 July 2009, 08:15
I worked with a combat controller (JTAC) who was a Captain, does this mean he does not have a long term career path?

For what it is worth the USAF CCT guys i was with were 10x better than the reg FO's i was alongside at other times.. Not wanting to start something as i am out of my field just tipping my hat to the great professionalism and work done by the guys i saw.

SN
31 July 2009, 11:39
I worked with a combat controller (JTAC) who was a Captain, does this mean he does not have a long term career path?

For what it is worth the USAF CCT guys i was with were 10x better than the reg FO's i was alongside at other times.. Not wanting to start something as i am out of my field just tipping my hat to the great professionalism and work done by the guys i saw.

CCT is a career, ALO is a non-flying assignment for pilots. Not a lot of takers, especially if I can get a UAV job and reduce my TDY schedule by 50%.

SN
1 August 2009, 18:47
Here is a link from the ACC webpage, pics are there.
http://www.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123160615
Would hate to be one of the 7 who failed the PT test.

The story:

by Senior Airman Frances Locquiao
23rd Wing Public Affairs

7/27/2009 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- With bullets flying, explosions pounding the earth and his soldiers pinned down, a U.S. Army ground commander turns to his Air Force air liaison officer to coordinate the close-air support that has so often been used to save the lives of coalition forces in need.

Until recently, the ALO position was a two-year special duty assignment available only for pilots, but the Air force has now created a new career field open to nonrated officers. For the first time in Air Force history, an ALO selection course was conducted at Moody to search for officers who are fit for the job.

The five-day course was designed to scale down the number of candidates before they are selected to complete the tactical air control party technical school, which consists of 75 days. The 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing created the selection course and conducted the first search.

"We need to know these candidates possess leadership abilities, physical standards and a positive attitude, which are all necessary qualities to become ALOs," said Tech. Sgt. Iain Stewart, 93rd AGOW. "The selection process ensures they have the chance to successfully pass the TACP tech school."

Each candidate was required to submit an in-depth application which included letters of recommendation, officer performance reports, medical qualifications, academic achievements, leadership abilities and an essay.

The applications were then reviewed by a board of members from Air Force headquarters, Air Combat Command and 93rd AGOW. Many officers from all over the world applied for the selection course, but only 15 were invited to Moody.

The candidates ranged from U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC graduates to first lieutenants and captains already in a career field.

"When I found out that they created a brand new Air Force specialty code for ALOs, I was eager to apply," said Lt. Brian Leen, 17th Air Force intel officer at Ramstein, Germany. "I want to offer my leadership abilities and help build long term relationships with TACPs."

The first day began with a physical fitness test consisting of a 1.5-mile run, sit-ups and push-ups. The individuals who passed were then issued equipment and given a few hours to set-up a tent, which they lived in for the week.

The rest of the course included more physical training, an 8-mile ruck march, introduction to land navigation, training at the 820th Security Forces Group's military operations in urban terrain and introduction to modern Army combatives.

"There were challenging times, but I kept thinking about how great it would be to work with TACPs," said 2nd Lt. Brian Brittner, U.S. Air Force Academy graduate. "The cadres were awesome--they were very motivating and helped us throughout the course."

Before the final candidates were selected, the remaining seven individuals were interviewed.

"I feel really proud to have made it this far," said 2nd Lt. John Day, graduate of the University of Louisville, Ky. "It's not my personality to quit and I wanted to finish the week regardless of what was planned. I hope that I can move forward to the tech school and eventually work in the TACP community."

Those select individuals who pass the course and interview board are enrolled in the TACP technical school located at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Candidates who were medically disqualified or not selected must return to their respective career fields. However, individuals not selected are given another invitation to try out again during the next selection course.

This year, only five individuals were chosen to attend TACP technical school: Capt. Matthew Kealy, education officer at the University of St. Thomas, Minn., Det. 410, 1st Lt. Brian Leen, 2nd Lt. Brian Brittner, 2nd Lt. John Day and 2nd Lt. Eamonn O'Shea.

"Overall, the first ALO selection course went very well," said Sergeant Stewart. "The cadres are confident in the five individuals chosen. We can now take the lessons learned and re-build the course for future use."

Snakeyes 31
2 August 2009, 17:13
If the challenge of doing the SAME training as the enlisted excites you, then why not go Pararescue or Combat Control? I guarantee you the training is the same for the officers. No one escapes the evil eyes of the instructors.

I want to be a TACP ever since I found out about the career field. My entire family and a few of my best friends are in the medical field. I know paramedics, EMT’s, nurses , ER techs, Doc and I have great respect for those in the medical field and especially those that practice medicine in the midst of combat with bullets flying over head but although I don’t mind the work that is not what I want to do. i would love to be a CCT one of the top elites in the world but having a primary job as a ATC although they get to do a lot more cool stuff I don’t know. I am more inclined to blow things up using precision air strikes and also be part of an intricate network of dedicated airmen in the new Special Tactics Squadron as a TACP is what I would love to do. I would like to go on in the future get my college degree and be an ALO. I think this is one of the coolest job in the Air Force.

Skidder
24 March 2010, 22:06
Update to this thread...I just went thru the JFires course at Nellis in Jan. In that particular class were about 7 brand new 2Lts, the second round of the AF's new career ALOs. As one of only a couple of Lt Cols in the course, I spent time on the breaks talking to the 'new breed'.

To the man, they were all very interested in everything relating to what they were getting into, and they all ended up in the top of the class. Very impressive group of guys.

After I got back from Nellis, I called up my bros in the 93d AGOW and told them how impressed I was with the guys they were letting into the track. "Gumby" Webster told me he was glad to hear they were doing well. The AGOW leadership did a very good job in checking out the guys they are allowing into the program.