AETC benefits from 'Lessons Learned' program

  • Published
  • By Col. Tom Bell
  • AETC Lessons Learned Division
"Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid."

This quote from John Wayne as Sergeant John M. Stryker in the 1949 movie "Sands of Iwo Jima" reminds us all that knowledge can make life easier.
In 2009, Air Education and Training Command joined the U.S. Air Force Headquarters in kicking off the Air Force Lessons Learned Program, or AFL2P for short. What better way to gain knowledge than to learn the lessons of the past?

The purpose of AFL2P is explained in Air Force Instruction 90-1601. The program is designed to enhance readiness and improve combat capability by capitalizing on experiences of Airmen. It seeks observations resulting in an improvement in military operations or activities at the strategic, operational or tactical level. AFL2P also creates long-term, internalized change to an individual or an organization. Finally, it assists senior leaders in programming, budgeting and allocating resources as well as making changes to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities, and policy.

More to the point, "The Air Force Lessons Learned process is how we initiate changes to training, material, and doctrine and institutionalize those improvements," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff

Lessons Learned is a DoD-wide, joint program. In fact, the Joint Lessons Learned Program is the DoD system of record providing for transfer of knowledge through the rapid distribution of observations and recommendations, after action reports, tactics, techniques and procedures, topic papers, briefings and interviews.

What does all this mean to us Airmen? Our lives are about to get easier.

Airmen who don't like "re-inventing the wheel" or who want to know how service members accomplished tasks before them, can tap into the Joint Lessons Learned Information System, or JLLIS.

AETC is now an active participant in the AFL2P and its Lessons Learned Division recently completed its first two reports.

The first report was the "Lessons Learned from Vance AFB Labor Dispute." On June 8, 2009, about 850 contractors at Vance Air Force Base, Okla, went on strike after failing to resolve a collective bargaining agreement covering a variety of issues including seniority, employee attendance policy, drug testing, and increases to insurance rates. The more detailed report is available on the JLLIS Web-site at, detailing the six lessons learned observed from this event.

The second report, "Air and Space Expeditionary Force Deployment Process," shares how Airmen in AETC are trained and equipped to provide capabilities that enable combatant commanders to accomplish the mission. The Air and Space Expeditionary Force construct is the means by which this capability is presented to the warfighter.

This report examined the AETC deployment process and identified observations from all levels, from recently deployed Airmen, to wing commanders, to unit deployment managers and functional area managers.

More than 500 people were surveyed for the report. Results of these surveys and conversations generated the following six observations:

1. AETC statistically outperforms all other MAJCOMs with respect to major and minor mission impact discrepancies for deploying personnel.
2. Assigning the position of UDM as an additional duty is problematic.
3. Current UDM training is not adequately preparing members to perform their duties successfully.
4. Equitability with respect to the tasking process is not transparent.
5. A consolidated database system is needed for tracking pre-deployment processing and training requirements.
6. Pre-deployment training is not tailored to specific deployments.

More Lessons Learned reports are in the works for 2010, including Joint Strike Fighter Beddown at Eglin AFB, Utilization and Training Workshops," "Balanced Scorecard," and "Training Foreign Pilots in a Combat Zone."

Want to take advice from Sergeant John M. Stryker and start making your life easier? Make it happen through the Lessons Learned program by calling the AETC/A9L Lessons Learned Division at (210) 652-8008 or DSN 487-8008, or e-mail: