139th News

Total Force Integration comes to the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center

  • Published
  • By Capt. Brian Bowma
  • 139th Airlift Wing
Total Force Integration, or TFI, is a catchy phrase describing the merging of certain active and reserve component assets to better accomplish certain missions.

And, at Rosecrans, TFI is becoming a reality in the form of 18 active duty airmen who have moved or will move here as part of the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center.

But what does TFI really mean? And, why do it?

"What we're talking about here is saving lives," said Lt. Col. Kurt Westfall, chief of staff at the AATTC.

Westfall explained that merging active duty intelligence assets with the schoolhouse teaching the "lessons learned" in airlift tactics shortens the turnaround from what is learned in an area of operation, to what is taught to those preparing to go in.

"We're at less than a 30-day turnaround," Westfall said of the process. "It was six months to a year (turnaround) before."

And that translates into lives saved.

"You never know how many lives you save," he said, "you just know when you don't save one."

Moving personnel, classroom courses and other assets from Ft. Dix, N.J., to Rosecrans was not as easy as packing bags. Space had to be found. A large investment for secure intelligence and communications ability had to be funded and built. Agreements between a variety of active duty and Guard entities had to be hammered out.

In fact, most of 2008 was devoted to those tasks before the first of the personnel - most belonging to Air Mobility Command -- began arriving in the late summer and fall. The rest of the personnel will trickle in throughout fiscal year 2009, completing years of planning and more than $500,000 worth of expense.

A key component to the move was bringing personnel from the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency from Ft. Dix to Rosecrans. A mandatory part of that move was the need to build a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF, in the school house building. Entrance to the SCIF will require a Top Secret/SCI clearance and a "need-to-know" reason to be there.

Westfall said consolidating the various airlift-related tactics courses for individuals and for aircrews made sense. The AATTC was the natural choice.

"There's a lot of experience that is here and it stays here," he said of the AATTC personnel from the Guard. "We provide training continuity. The active duty personnel (will) rotate and take (their AATTC experience) back out in to the (rest of the Air Force)."

Westfall has been intricately involved with the day-to-day operations of the transition, but he is quick to credit past and current AATTC and AMC leadership for bringing the changes about.

"The foundation for these changes was laid in 2002 under (current 139th Airlift Wing commander) Col. (Steven) Cotter," Westfall said, who said Cotter led the charge to expand the AATTC's course offerings.

"Then (current AATTC commander) Col. (Mike) McEnulty really got the wheels in motion for (adding) Test and Evaluation, and other programs, leading to the TFI."

Westfall added current and past AMC active duty leadership supported and helped to fund needed construction at Rosecrans to help make the TFI a reality.