Readiness Challenge

Readiness Challenge is a capstone event to test the readiness of Air Force Civil Engineers across the full-spectrum of Integrated Base Response & Recovery (IBRR) operations. During the event, Civil Engineers demonstrated their capacity and capability to execute critical operations in a warfare-environment, while exhibiting their esprit de corps and warrior ethos.

After a pause in the early 2000s, Readiness Challenge VIII returned, April 18-22, 2022, as an initial operating capability (IOC) event at the Silver Flag Exercise site, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Teams did not know the tasks they would be executing until they arrive on site. Instructors evaluated the teams’ performance using a scoring rubric, with a single winner announced April 22, 2022. Air Force Reserve Command's 934th Civil Engineer Squadron from Minneapolis Air Reserve Base, Minnesota, earned the Brig. Gen. William T. Meredith trophy as the "Best of the Best Team."

Following the award's ceremony, organizers they would incorporate lessons learned from the 2022 event in to their planning, add additional teams and conduct the full operational capability (FOC) event in April 2023.

Readiness Challenge VIII is about three things: building a warfighting culture among Civil Engineers, assessing unit readiness and building Airmen engineer contingency skills. This event will test the readiness of the eight selected major commands across the spectrum of IBRR tasks, to include airfield opening operations. This is an opportunity to test the enterprise’s capacity to execute future events and collect lessons learned.

As the precision and speed of U.S. adversaries increases, Air and Space Forces face an increased pacing challenge. Readiness Challenge tests the agility and adaptability required to operate in contested, degraded, and operationally limited environments and strengthens our posture for the future fight. Competitions like Readiness Challenge emphasize that readiness is a culture that must be fostered and maintained to ensure the Air Force can respond as cohesive units to known and emerging threats.

Teams of approximately 40 Air Force Civil Engineers competing in the April 2022 event:

• Air Force Reserve Command: 934th Civil Engineer Squadron – Minneapolis Air Reserve Base, Minnesota  

• Air National Guard: Blended Team with units from the 138th Civil Engineer Squadron – Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma; 115th Civil Engineer Squadron – Madison Air National Guard Base, Wisconsin; 150th Civil Engineer Squadron – Albuquerque, New Mexico; 137th Civil Engineer Squadron – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron – Peoria, Illinois

• Air Combat Command: 366th Civil Engineer Squadron – Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

• Air Force Special Operations Command: 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron – Hurlburt Field AFB, Florida

• Air Mobility Command: 60th Civil Engineer Squadron – Travis AFB, California  

• Pacific Air Forces: 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron – Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska  

• U.S. Air Forces in Europe: 31st Civil Engineer Squadron – Aviano Air Base, Italy  

• United States Space Force: 45th Civil Engineer Squadron – Patrick Space Force Base, Florida 

Established in 1986, Readiness Challenge was designed to task Air Force Civil Engineering participants with building a base, testing their ability to perform tasks while working quickly, efficiently, and safely as a team in a simulated chemical warfare-environment. The first Readiness Challenge took place June 1986 at Eglin AFB, Florida, with teams of 25 personnel from 11 commands participating in seven competitions. This set the foundation for future biennial challenges, providing opportunities for developing skills and building teamwork, as well as increasing exposure to combat support tasks. Readiness Challenge eventually grew to include participants and observers from allied nations. At the end of 2001, Readiness Challenge VIII was called off and subsequent challenges were cancelled due to Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. A beta test to determine a way forward took place in October 2019 in preparation for the return of Readiness Challenge.

(Current as of May 2024)