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New acquisition course builds value in first year

Acquisition Instructor Course patch.

Acquisition Instructor Course patch.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Acquisition Instructor Course (AQIC) has moved to the next phase of its development after the first cohort of acquisition officers finished their research and laid the groundwork for the development of AQIC.

Sponsored by Air Force Materiel Command, AQIC was established in 2019 to improve collaboration and understanding between the acquisition and operational communities, and to provide advanced training to acquisition officers.

“Training that is available to acquirers right now is mostly academic and theory-based, and we like to make the distinction and call it education vice training” said Capt. Corey Wiechmann, Director of Operations for AQIC, as he explained the difference between AQIC and other acquisition training programs. “Currently you are taught the over-arching processes to develop and acquire capabilities but are not always learning the specifics of your day-to-day job. With AQIC, students will receive in-depth training and knowledge in multiple functional areas like contracting, finance, logistics, etc. They will also learn about the weapon systems they support from the individuals who operate them. Once they graduate, they will have the responsibility to go back and instruct their peers on the things they learned.”

During the course, students had the opportunity to audit the U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s Core I and Core II academic blocks, where they observed academics given to all Weapons Instructor Course students specializing in just about every weapons system in the Air Force fleet.

In addition, they observed the Weapons School Integration phase or WSINT, a series of large-scale training sorties where Weapons School students are put to the test on how to integrate and operate amongst each other.

“The last cohort gained some extremely valuable experience and knowledge through their interaction with the students in the 19 Bravo [Weapons School] class,” said Col. Steve Smith, Commandant of AQIC. “They were able to interact with them and see their operations first-hand. They were able to see the mission briefings, mission planning, and mission debriefing and even had the opportunity to go out and fly along during one of the larger sorties towards the end of the WSINT period.”

Wiechmann added that being able to observe the Weapons School students was a great experience, because it allowed the acquisition officers to get a better understanding of the systems they support and identify areas they can help improve capabilities.
The knowledge gained from the Weapons School experience is being used to further develop the AQIC curriculum.

“While we are not a member of the Air Force Weapons School, we are using their methodology to develop this course and infuse the community with advanced trained [acquisition] officers that will provide instruction and training to other acquisition professionals,” said Smith. “We will also use what we learn to identify and address capability gaps and areas of concern for the operational community.”

The AQIC beta course (20 Bravo) call for nominations is currently open and due back to the school house on Feb. 28. Eligible applicants should have received a myPers notification with application requirements and instructions. The 20 Bravo course will start on July 6, 2020.