HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. — Successfully operating in a multi-domain warfighting environment will require all of our nation’s services and components to train and fight together.
It may be a challenge, but that challenge is one U.S. Army Capt. Craig Simmon of the Michigan National Guard took head-on. Simmon spent 20 weeks and countless hours on academics and training to become the first joint member and only Army Soldier to graduate from the Air Force’s Multi-Domain Warfare Officers course.
“The course was a very good experience,” said Simmon, officer-in-charge of supply, 3rd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Regiment, Michigan Army National Guard.
“The student body at the course was awesome. The Air Force is grabbing Airmen from all the different career fields to create the new Thirteen Oscar career field.”
The 18 graduates were the fifth class to complete the course run by the 505th Command and Control Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
“The training encompassed operational level air component planning,” said Simmon.
“It tied in almost the entirety of an air component campaign with an emphasis on space and cyber. The end goal was to have graduates who could go to joint staffs, air staffs or different planning groups and come up with solutions to challenges.”
According to the 505th CCW public affairs office, the main course focus areas include the Air Operations Center; Air Force Forces staff; joint planning process for air, joint air targeting cycle; Agile Combat Employment; Integrated Air and Missile Defense; information operations; non-kinetic operations; and seminars with each joint and functional component.
Simmon applied to attend the course in part due to joint courses he has attended in the past and his additional role in the Michigan National Guard’s largest all-domain exercise as Northern Strike’s lead rotary-wing planner.
Northern Strike is held annually at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center in Northern Michigan.
“There was a lot of value-added for me. It gave me a much better understanding of how the air component works, plans, and operates,” said Simmon.
“I had never really been exposed to anything in the space and cyber domains before, so having insight on those capabilities means I know whom to talk to in order to get the desired effects.”
Simmon’s experience in large-scale, joint exercise planning and Army rotary-wing aviation meant his attendance was beneficial to the course as well.
“The expertise and partnerships with joint forces are critical to mission success when providing holistic approaches to operational planning for air component commanders,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Mark Scott, 705th Training Squadron Thirteen Oscar course director.
“The attendance of the first joint student was invaluable in providing our air component planners a different perspective to ensure operational-level planning is not only synchronized but integrated across all components”
While Simmon can’t don the title of a Thirteen Oscar, he is one of three Michigan guardsmen who have successfully completed the course. His drive to improve set an example for any MIARNG soldiers thinking about attending in the future.
“It was a good experience, and I am glad I had the opportunity to go,” said Simmon. “I look forward to using the information I learned in the future.”
By Staff Sgt. Tristan D. Viglianco, Michigan National Guard Public Affairs