Assignment Goodfellow

by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Rogers, USAF

Most of us who have been in the U.S. Air Force's Air Intelligence Agency or any of its predecessors for a while have fond memories of Goodfellow Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, home of cryptologic training. I know my memories of Goodfellow from 18 years ago, when I went through Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer school there, were of a sleepy little Air Force base on the outskirts of the friendly little town of San Angelo. San Angelo is still a friendly little town, but that's about the only thing that's remained the same. Goodfellow AFB and it's mission have grown and diversified greatly in the last few years, and the resident 17th Training Wing is on the leading edge of technical training innovation in the Air Education and Training Command .

Organization and Mission

The 17th Training Group (TRG) has grown into a diverse technical training organization that trains disciplines far different from the SIGINT-focused school of the past. The 17th TRG consist of four squadrons and three geographically separated units. Figure 1 on the following page outlines the basic organization of the 17th TRG and the missions of its subordinate units.
The Base Realignment and Closure process has contributed to the growth of the training mission at Goodfellow AFB. The following highlights some of training missions transferred to the 17th TRG:
  • If you have not been to Goodfellow AFB in a while, the new fire school, part of the 312th TRS is a sight to behold. The school has a new 213,867 square foot facility and a huge vehicle fleet of firefighting trucks and large, modern fire training pits. The projected student load for fire training students alone for 1996 is 3004, over three times the student load for cryptolinguists.

    Intelligence Training

    Yes, Goodfellow AFB has retained its original cryptolinguists, analysis and reporting, cryptologic maintenance, and SIGINT officer training functions. These are now spread out over the 312th, 315th, and 316th Training Squadrons (TRSs). The 311th, 313d, and 314th TRSs exercise administrative control over Air Force students going through the schools for which other services are the executive agencies.
    312th Training Squadron. The 312th TRS provides analysis and reporting (A&R) training for all Services. This training is undergoing a major revision. It still culminates in an exercise that replicates a Surveillance & Warning Center. There are, however, many new training initiatives within the A&R training flight. The new Consolidated Intermediate Analysis and Reporting Course (CIARC) came on line 5 April 1995. In addition, all four Services are in the process of revising their entry level A&R training courses. The U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps expect their new course to come on-line by October 1995. The U.S. Army and the Air Force are in the first stages of course redevelopment. Both courses are also candidates for further reengineering as the 17th TRG attempts to integrate all enlisted and officer intelligence training exercises.
    315th Training Squadron. The 315th TRS is implementing a major reengineering of its alpha (operations) and bravo (applications) officer courses. The new courses will consist of realistic scenarios and performance-based training. The objective will be to produce a more mission-ready graduate who can hit the ground running with minimal training upon arrival at that first duty station.
    The "alpha" course will expose the future intelligence operations officers to simulated field site operations that provide more direct interface with enlisted analysts, reporters, and linguist students. To enhance the applications officer training, the squadron is introducing the Combat Intelligence Systems to it's arsenal of training systems. This new state-of-the-art workstation supports Air Force mission planning and targeting. It is exactly the type of equipment intelligence applications officers will use in the field.
    316th Training Squadron. Cryptologic linguist training for all Services is the job of the 316th TRS. The squadron provides target-specific training in nine languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Korean, Persian-Farsi, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. It provides a non-target course that provides general cryptolinguist training to low-flow language students, such as Tagalog and Portugese.
    Cryptologic students train on the 468-position Voice Processing Training System (VPTS). Although an old and slow system by today's standards, the VPTS is a success story with over 12,000 hours of active courseware and a 98 percent reliability rate. The VPTS was the Department of Defense's first experience with a large-scale computer-assisted instruction training system. The system's technology is now outdated and in the seventh year of a planned ten-year life expectancy. Studies are ongoing to select a system to replace the VPTS. Emphasis for the new system is for one that provides commonality with fielded operational systems and the latest in interactive, computer-based instructional technology. Additionally, a team is exploring the idea of an end-of-course computer-based simulated exercise that would integrate all of the intelligence disciplines taught at Goodfellow into a single learning experience that closely replicates the entire spectrum of intelligence support to the warfighter.

    Jointness--A Way Of Life

    "Joint training" is not just a catchy phrase at Goodfellow AFB; it is something we've been doing for a long time. In fact, the 316th TRS is the Air Force Air Education and Training Command's model for joint training.
    In both the 312th and 316th squadrons, joint courses are numerous, and becoming more so every year. For instance, in 1990 there were only three consolidated courses (as in comprised of more than one Service ): Hebrew, Persian-Farsi, and Vietnamese. Late last year, the Air Force and Navy decided to combine their Arabic courses; by late 1995, there will be consolidated Korean and Chinese courses. The trend is for most of the remaining courses, including Russian and Spanish, to eventually consolidate. This will bring our language training more in line with the realities of joint operations in the field and activities such as the Regional SIGINT Operations Centers.
    In the joint classroom, instructors from different Services teach students from all the Services. Optimally, these instructors become qualified to teach all phases of an entire course. This exposes students at an early stage to the multi-service environment they will no doubt encounter in the field.
    Another indicator of interservice cooperation toward the same goals is the opening of Goodfellow's Consolidated Language Resource Center (LRC). Housed in an older building, Air Force and Army personnel teamed up and completed a self-help project to refurbish the facility. Through their efforts, the LRC is now a place where students can work on sharpening their language skills. Opened in January 1995, the LRC houses various computer-based and conventional language refresher and maintenance programs. It also possesses facilities for Satellite Communications for Language broadcasts and a video-teleconferencing. Since January 1995, the LRC has conducted six language refresher classes in the video-teleconferencing room.

    Instructor Duty-
    Challenging and

    Instructor duty at Goodfellow gives the very best Air Force commissioned and noncommissioned officers the opportunity to help build the intelligence and firefighting career force of the future. Duty days are long and filled with plenty of challenges. Instructors are not only expected to deal with every facet of the student's academic and military progression, but also to maintain the health of the course through continuous feedback from the field.
    The instructors gain feedback through the Graduate Assessment Survey. The survey is one of the newest forms for gaining feedback from the field. This survey is sent directly from Headquarters, 2d Air Force Headquarters, at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and to supervisors of graduates at all operational Air Force wings, centers and agencies. The instructor must contact the graduate's rater for any rating below satisfactory. Through discussion with the rater, the instructor is able to indentify and resolve potential training shortfalls.
    In addition to the Graduate Assessment Survey, a feedback program has begun that sends instructors back to the field to get face-to-face feedback from our operational customers, former students and their supervisors. Taken in total, these efforts to improve the quality of training at Goodfellow Air Force Base are paying big dividends to our students as well as to our operational unit customers.
    As we strive to acquire and integrate the latest fielded equipment into our classrooms and to change our training delivery methods, we hope to make Goodfellow AFB the assignment of choice for up-and-coming commissioned and noncommissioned officers who want to touch the future by teaching tomorrow's leaders.

    The Future

    The 17th Training Wing and Goodfellow AFB have earned a reputation throughout the Air Force as a true center of excellence, and not just for intelligence training. We at Goodfellow expect the Wing to take on even newer missions as the Air Force, and all Services, downsize and consolidate. We are more than ready for the challenge.
    Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Rogers is the commander, 316th Training Squadron, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. A career SIGINT officer, his assignments and duties have taken him to all corners of the globe including Hawaii, Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Greece, the United Kingdom, and Panama. Lieutenant Colonel Rogers is a 1977 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.