Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex, Texas --
Maj. Gen. Matthew Davidson, AFSOC director of operations, visits the SWTW to observe Assessment and Selection and the SWTW pipelines that feed AFSOC career fields at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Mar. 15 – 17, 2022.
The visit entailed detailed observations of various A&S events and deep dives into the A&S process with SWTW leadership teams.
“The Special Warfare Training Wing is leading the way for the Air Force with an innovative assessment and selection process,” said Davidson. “Between the previous work in Air Force Special Operations Command and the recent work in Air Education and Training Command, we have set a framework that will enable the operating force to establish attribute-based requirements which will be assessed and measured much earlier in the training pipeline than we have seen before. This will help decrease training attrition and provide better resolution on our accession requirements.”
The four-week SWTW A&S model, instituted in January of 2019, places Air Force Special Warfare candidates under prolonged stress on both land and in water while testing their physical, mental, and cognitive capabilities to determine whether they have the requisite attributes to become AFSPECWAR operators, many of whom will begin their careers in operational AFSOC units.
“The AFSOC commander believes that human capital is AFSOC’s competitive advantage,” said Col. Mason Dula, SWTW commander. “This makes the courses executed by the Special Warfare Training Wing to assess, select, and train ground-combatant Airmen heading to AFSOC critically important as our candidates are shaped throughout their training pipeline to generate competitive advantage for AFSOC, and the joint force.”
Although the SWTW is nested under Air Education and Training Command, one third of SWTW graduates will enter directly into AFSOC units, to include Combat Controllers, Special Reconnaissance Airmen, Special Tactics Officers, and some Pararescuemen. An initial challenge that all of these graduates must face is A&S, which ensures they have the mettle to eventually operate successfully in austere environments under tremendous pressure with limited support infrastructure.
“Assessment and Selection is, in many respects, an extended ‘job interview’ for Special Warfare candidates, and like any other ‘job interview’, context matters,” said Dula. “The context we try to create during Assessment and Selection is combat, which is where these candidates heading to AFSOC have found themselves for decades, after graduating the pipeline.”
The forces that graduate from SWTW pipelines must be ready upon their arrival to their operational AFSOC units to be force multipliers in the domains of Crisis Response, Competition Short of Conflict, Counter Violent Extremist Organizations, and Conflict.
“The future operating environment will offer a different but often more challenging mission for Air Force Special Operations ground forces than we’ve experienced on the battlefield over the last 25 years,” said Davidson. “What we know will not change is the SOF Truth that humans are more important than hardware. We count on the Special Warfare Training Wing to train these talented and driven young Airmen. AFSOC is truly appreciative of the hard work and intellectual rigor of the SWTW and their talented instructors’ investments into the Special Warfare enterprise every day.”
Members of the Special Warfare Training Wing provide initial training for all U.S. Air Force Special Warfare training AFSCs, to include, Combat Controllers, Pararescue, Special Reconnaissance, and Tactical Air Control Party Airmen.
To learn more about SW Airmen or other U.S. Air Force Special Warfare career opportunities, go to: https://www.airforce.com/careers/in-demand-careers/special-warfare.