NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The U.S. Air Force Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Operations School (AMMOS) here has been providing the Air Force’s premier advanced maintenance training and expanding combat capability through graduate-level education since it first opened its doors in 2003.
On Dec. 7, the school graduated 15 officers from its first Advanced Sortie Production Course (ASPC).
The 12-week course — which targets maintenance, munitions and logistics readiness officers in their four to nine year time-in-service window — teaches its students to think and view problems differently, ultimately to help them solve sortie production deficiencies more effectively.
Through key-leader seminars, classroom discussions, guided simulations and hands-on scenarios, each student is immersed in the world of sortie production and charged with solving an ever-present issue facing our Air Force today.
“This course goes through six blocks of instruction that focuses on everything from people, processes and resources to weapons, munitions, supply chain, consumption chain and mission execution applications,” said Lt. Col. Joe DePorter, AMMOS commandant. “We really drive to develop the student’s ability to look at things through a more critical lens. Not just being able to identify something and repeat that answer back, but no kidding be able to identify the problem, analyze that problem through critical thinking, and apply that process change going forward to remedy that deficiency.”
DePorter said all of the students in this graduating class — ASPC class 16A — have deployed once or twice, have significant experience in working flightline operations, and are going back into jobs that heavily effect sortie production. In addition, all of the students were selected through a nomination process championed by the Air Combat Command Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Brig. Gen. Carl A. Buhler.
“The title on the course is sortie production and that’s something that’s a really big emphasis issue for ACC and the Air Force. We have to be able to produce combat airpower,” said Maj. Dan Connors, an ASPC class 16A graduate and operations officer assigned to the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. “The biggest thing I’m going to take away from this course is I think we’ve kind of settled into thinking resources are our number one problem so that’s clouded our judgment in the way we look at a problem, but if we throw that away for now it really allows you to be creative in how you achieve the task, job, mission or whatever it is you need to do.”
Previously, AMMOS offered maintenance, munitions and logistics readiness officers the Combat Support Course, but in the beginning of 2016 the school developed the curriculum for what became the ASPC. ASPC class 16A began in September and all but one of the selected students were assigned to ACC bases.
Capt. David Liberti, AMMOS academics operations officer and an ASPC instructor, explained how the course benefits each graduate for the duration of their Air Force careers and beyond.
“One of the excellent aspects of this schoolhouse is we’re not just teaching the students one thing to go back and use in their current job and then move past it. We have 593 graduates going all the way back to 2003. So they’re going back to execute what they learned here to help their current unit but it’s going to continue to help them throughout their careers,” Liberti said. “It’s going to now influence how they think, how they approach problem sets, and that’s really what we try to do. The schoolhouse is a resource for them to come back to when needed, and the graduates have really formed a network that’s available any time.”
Ultimately, DePorter said the ASPC is designed to provide an immediate positive impact to the Airmen that each ASPC graduate is charged with leading.
“The Airmen are the ones that are doing the day-to-day heavy lifting, but the officers that graduate from this course will now have the critical thinking skills to better serve them,” DePorter said. “I’m looking forward to the new classes going forward and the increased interest and efforts in making the course better to produce a more proficient graduate going out in the field and leading our Airmen.”