RAF ALCONBURY, England --
The 423rd Air Base Group and U.S. Africa Command Directorate for Intelligence at RAF Molesworth worked together to facilitate Joint Immersion Day, Feb. 20, 2020, and build a bridge between service members at RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth.
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dan Spencer, USAFRICOM J2-Molesworth senior enlisted leader, worked with U.S. Army Col. Brian Dunmire, USAFRICOM J2-Molesworth multi-service commander, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Dan Tiedemann, 501st Combat Support Wing career assistance advisor, and many other joint members, to create a day for engaged learning about the Army, Navy and Marines.
“We have a lot more in common than we do different,” said Spencer. “We all have U.S. written over our heart. We are all in this together, regardless of whether you’re a Sailor, Soldier, Airmen, or Marine, there is nothing more important than the strength of the team. At the end of the day we’re all part of one great big team.”
The day consisted of learning about laws governing the joint environment, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s joint initiatives, and joint education opportunities. Personnel at AFRICOM held open panel discussion about the similarities and differences amongst different branches of the U.S. military. Air Force personnel had an opportunity to test their physical abilities while practicing the physical fitness exams for the Army and Marines.
“The goal is to provide an opportunity to learn and understand the importance of a joint environment, as well as a chance to build joint knowledge directly from members of each of the services,” said Tiedemann. “We could use what we know to continue to build relationships with one another, so we can better understand each services’ unique contributions.”
In October 1986, the Goldwater-Nichols Act signed by President Ronald Reagan, reorganized the Department of Defense and worked to cultivate a more joint military environment. It created a requirement for individuals entering leadership roles to have experience working with counterparts from other services.
“Joint immersion training is important because we, as a military, are all working towards the common goal of not only protecting the Unites States, but also other countries,” said U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Alicia Cleveland, AFRICOM J-2 Molesworth senior enlisted component advisor, who also led a discussion about Navy structure, education and evaluations. “In order for us to be efficient and successful in our mission, we have to learn and appreciate what each branch can bring to the fight.”
According to the USAF Posture Statement Fiscal Year 2020 by the Secretary of the Air Force, there needs to be stronger collaboration across all warfighting domains.
“I hope the Airmen that participated in the class walked away with a deeper understanding of what the joint force brings to the fight against our nation's enemies,” said Dunmire. “Whether the Marine's Air-Ground Task Force concept, the Navy's approach to Fleet Defense, or how the U.S. Army delivers Professional Military Education to Soldiers - Airmen should understand there are similarities, but there are also differences. We cannot bridge those differences without education and dialogue.”
Service members learned why it is necessary to develop a joint mindset.
“Iraq and Afghanistan taught us that you can’t win a war with one service,” said Spencer. “It has to be a team fight! Why is it important for Airmen to understand joint? Not only is it law, based off the Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986, but it’s also what the Chief of Staff of the Air Force is telling us to do, and its common sense because that’s how we go to war.”
At the end of the event, suggestions were shared for increasing the base’s joint capabilities.
“I think it would be beneficial to have some additional immersion days where we can bring members together, showcase all of our similarities and our differences-how we do things, what we do,” said Tiedemann. “I think that highlighting each of our individual services, their rich stories and traditions, helps us appreciate what we bring to the mission, and just brings that extra element to the community.”