Air Force Tests Cutting Group Commanders

NGAUS Washington Report
May 29, 2018

Squadron commanders report directly to wing commanders under an organizational experiment the Air Force is conducting at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

A statement from Air Combat Command says group commanders and the wing’s vice commander are removed from the wing structure. The test is being done with the 366th Fighter Wing at the Idaho base.

The aircraft-maintenance squadron is eliminated and “aligns the Aircraft Maintenance Units for each fighter squadron with those squadrons,” the statement explains.

Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, says in the statement, “This experiment is about our desire to improve lethality and create an environment where leaders are empowered to lead and squadron personnel can focus on their core missions. This concept should flatten the decision-making structure within wings to encourage faster, decentralized decision-making and to remove some duties from our front-line units.”

The experiment is expected to last for two years. Experts inside and outside the Air Force will evaluate the effectiveness of the new structure at that time.

Col. Joseph Kunkel, the commander of the 366th, said in the statement, “This experiment is aimed at revitalizing our squadrons by allowing them to focus on the mission while pushing administrative duties to a wing staff. This puts decision-making authority and accountability for the mission at the squadron level. That’s where we need it to be to build the squadrons and leaders we need for tomorrow’s challenges.”