GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh, 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Summer Leifer, 16th AF command chief, visited virtually here, Aug. 17.
The 16th AF, headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is the first-of-its-kind Numbered Air Force. Also known as the Air Force’s Information Warfare Numbered Air Force, the 16th integrates multisource intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, cyber warfare, electronic warfare, and information operations capabilities across the conflict continuum to ensure that our Air Force is fast, lethal and fully integrated in both competition and in war. Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) provides mission integration of information warfare at operational and tactical levels, recognizing the role of information in creating dilemmas for adversaries in competition and, if necessary, future conflicts.
Due to COVID-19, most visits to Goodfellow have been canceled; however, Goodfellow found a way to bring 16th AF leadership here virtually.
Much has changed on Goodfellow since the novel coronavirus. Plans that may have taken years to roll out fully were put into place in mere months and have made Goodfellow a better base.
As the 17th Training Wing commander, one of Col. Andres Nazario’s main priorities during COVID-19 was getting students into classes more quickly by taking all of the unclassified information and consolidating it into a secure online course. Wi-fi was added to the dorms, and iPads were bought for the students.
Now, students can start classes immediately rather than wait for a security clearance to access information that doesn’t require one. It has “unclogged” pipeline training. This change has also reduced the threat of coronavirus among students. Less time in the classroom means less chance of exposure to a possible case.
“At the beginning of COVID-19, you would’ve found the same classical industrial model of intelligence training that you probably went through when you [Haugh and Leifer] came into the Air Force,” said Nazario. “But in less than a few days, my team came up with a hybrid model that has students taking classes both in and out of the sensitive compartmented information facilities.”
The process wasn’t an easy one. Nazario and his team had to cut through lots of red tape in a matter of days to make these virtual classrooms.
“This was really part of a larger plan that we had pre-COVID,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Sharp, 316th Training Squadron commander. “We just had to get the steps done in five days instead of five years.”
Sharp and his team went line by line through the curriculum to determine which parts were releasable for the virtual classrooms.
“Roughly 40 percent of the material is suitable for delivery over unclassified for official use only channels,” explained Sharp.
This was the start of the virtual training that has become normal for Goodfellow. The 16th AF leadership sat in on a virtual lesson with 316th TRS students and experienced their new learning process.
Haugh and Leifer also recognized some of the Airmen who helped Goodfellow thrive during COVID-19 and presented them coins for their achievements. Since the visit was virtual, Nazario and Chief Master Sgt. Casy Boomershine, 17th Training Wing command chief, presented the coins on their behalf.
Afterward, Haugh and Leifer spent some time sharing their thoughts on Goodfellow and answering questions from base members.
“We communicate to our 40,000 Airmen that we’re expecting Airmen to produce the innovative outcomes that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance warriors are capable of,” said Haugh. “That is how we ensure that the Air Force is fast and lethal.”