The Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) is reevaluating its training processes for a new era in combat, focusing on skills more relevant to potential future conflicts. Led by Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind, the review is part of an effort to adapt the Air Force to a faster-paced, more collaborative way of working, especially as it shifts from fighting terror groups to competing with nations like China. A significant change proposed is the removal of combat dive training for special tactics, combat control, and special reconnaissance officers. This reflects a shift in focus toward skills that will be necessary for future engagements.
- Review of Training Practices: AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Tony Bauernfeind is leading a review of initial and advanced training phases for airmen to prepare them for a new era of combat, including a focus on competition with nations like China.
- Removal of Combat Dive Training: A leaked memo revealed the proposal to cut the combat dive qualification course from the training pipeline for three special warfare fields. The Air Force is considering making combat diving a special qualification that can be earned later in an airman’s career.
- Context of the Changes: The proposed training changes come after the U.S. has withdrawn from Afghanistan and scaled back operations in Iraq and Syria, providing an opportunity to reassess and update training protocols.
- Potential Impact on Special Warfare Training: The elimination of combat dive training may affect the grading and selection process within special tactics training. The detailed implications are still under analysis.
- Broader Reckoning Within AFSOC: The top-level review is part of a more extensive reevaluation within AFSOC about the skills and organization needed on the battlefield. This includes revised fitness tests and responses to allegations of conflicting standards within the training process.