AETC rapidly codifying competencies to develop the most competitive Airmen possible

  • Published
  • By Dan Hawkins
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Education and Training Command officials continue to rapidly codify occupational competencies by hosting career field specific studies with a focus on accelerating development of competencies that form the foundation of training and education programs that ultimately produce the most competitive Airmen possible for the Warfighter.

The studies help career fields develop competencies that align to strategy and foster competitive advantage by allowing them to define their capabilities and clarify expectations.

“The ability to learn and adapt faster than our adversaries is the sustainable competitive advantage in modern warfare,” said Col. Sandy Coble, chief of AETC’s occupational competencies division.

The goal is to help all career fields develop their specific occupational competencies by summer 2025, Coble said.

The design of a competency-based system sharpens Airmen and Guardian’s tactical expertise, operational competence, strategic vision, and joint proficiency to be empowered and execute the full spectrum of DAF missions.

“We are building frameworks that develop technical competence along with the leadership, combat, joint, all-domain, and social mastery competencies,” said Vincent Villanueva, AETC Occupational Competencies branch chief. “Our job is to assist career field leaders determine how best to professionally develop and train their Airmen.”

The end result of the studies is career fields gain a common language that describes what is needed to succeed as related mission and strategic objectives.

During the week of Feb. 20-24, competency studies for the 14N (Intelligence Officer), 1N0 (Intelligence Analyst) and the 1712 Training Instruction Job Series were conducted by the AETC occupational competencies branch.

“These studies consist of bringing in 10-12 career field subject-matter experts who work with a qualified competency expert to identify what is needed for their members to be successful throughout the course of their career,” Villanueva said. “The study is a four-day process filled with seven activities for SMEs to complete in order to develop their competencies.

Some of these activities consist of exploring issues and ideas that can potentially shape the future of the career field, defining measurable and observable behaviors needed for success, and correlating foundational competencies to their occupational competencies, Villanueva said.

“We work primarily alongside the career field manager, but the stakeholders involved in the process definitely expand across each MAJCOM, including the Total Force, our technical and flying training Numbered Air Force staffs, as well as a wide array of training and education mission partners who are instrumental in the complete transformation to competencies within learning environments,” Villanueva said.

The idea behind each career field having individualized occupational competencies is developing Airmen who are more agile, lethal, and ready to engage in strategic competition.

“These competencies will be used to communicate expectations for specific behaviors, empowering Airmen and providing them with insight into addressing performance gaps and creating personalized and realistic developmental objectives,” Villanueva said. “Competencies help career fields transition their education and training programs from task-based to competency based, which requires learning organizations to incorporate modern instructional design and learning strategies to achieve desired learning outcomes.”

After occupational competency studies are completed, the work continues to incorporate the competencies into education and training that is student-centered, adaptable, and agile to the needs of the Airmen, Villanueva said.

"We also assist career fields to conduct a learning planning workshop, which is the venue where we create learning outcomes that will be incorporated into a career field's education and training plan (CFETP),” Villanueva said. “This vital step helps the career field transition away from a task-based training framework to one that is competency-based. Additionally, this sets the foundation for formal learning across AETC and informal learning environments (individual and work center training and education)."