First-ever advisory group dialogues AFDD 1

by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

10/22/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- More than a dozen retired Air Force generals and colonels along with civilian leaders recently attended the first Doctrine Advisory Group, a new initiative held at the Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education.

Initiated by Major Gen. Walter Givhan, commander of the LeMay Center and vice commander of the Air University, the Doctrine Advisory Group acts as a "think tank," generating ideas on how to best relate doctrine to younger Airmen and joint services.

"The purpose of this group is to leverage the knowledge and experience of air-minded senior leaders and experts to ensure we're getting it right when it comes to writing Air Force doctrine and delivering it to Airmen and the larger joint and public audiences," Givhan said in an invitation to participants.

Insights from the group will assist the upcoming revision of Air Force Doctrine Document 1 and align the document with Gen. Mark Welsh's mission paper, "Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power." Welsh is the chief of staff of the United States Air Force.

AFDD 1 is the capstone document of all Air Force doctrine and is the basis for airpower discussion. Welsh's document explains how the service provides airpower to America, citing Airmen as the foundation to airpower success.

Colonel Todd Westhauser, director of doctrine development at the LeMay Center, and his team also were present during the Doctrine Advisory Group, facilitating discussion and capturing shared information.

Westhauser was impressed with the camaraderie of the group and the varied perspectives each participant was able to contribute to the discussion.

"It was great to hear from people who have had 30-40 years of experience in the Air Force just give us their opinion and perspectives on how to revise doctrine. It was fascinating to get that many airpower thinkers in one room together," Westhauser said.

Westhauser said participants were selected from several Air Force agencies dealing with air, space and cyberspace.

By bringing in individuals from different areas, the group could gather diverse impressions on the direction of doctrine and how it relates to Airmen.

One of the suggestions was to include more Airmen's stories and historical examples to make doctrine "more interesting and more readable," Westhauser said.

"Right now, our doctrine seems very cut and dry. The group thought it would be better to have more historical examples or more modern-day examples from our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan," Westhauser explained.

The group also discussed including the differences in the way Airmen think compared to airmen in other services, because of the nature of their jobs and how that translates into war-gaming strategy and national security solutions, Westhauser said.

Based on the discussion, the group's first meeting was a huge success, Westhauser said.

"We think that we'd like to do it again next year and make it an annual event," he said.

Givhan will brief Welsh and other senior leaders at this year's Doctrine Summit on Oct. 29 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He will present the Doctrine Advisory Group's recommendations to revise AFDD 1, looking for Welsh's approval.