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MAWGs work to deliver innovative solutions

  • Published
  • By Debbie Aragon
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs
On the heels of a very successful 2017 Installation and Mission Support Weapons and Tactics Conference, mission area working groups are well on their way to tackling four new agile combat support challenges in 2018. 

Group chairmen will present their innovative solutions when the Second Annual I-WEPTAC Conference convenes May 6-16 in San Antonio with a theme of “Bridging the Gap – Multi-domain Combat Support.”

“The MAWGs are the essence of I-WEPTAC,” said Lt. Col. Steven Thomas, chief of the AFIMSC Plans and Analysis Division and I-WEPTAC chairman. “Our event is modeled from combat air force’s WEPTAC, run by Air Combat Command, that’s been going on for decades. Instead of CAF challenges, we’re focused on combat support challenges.”

The MAWGs consist of the best and brightest from across the installation and mission support enterprise and they’re chartered to focus on challenges directly related to combat support, added Maj. Derrick Hodges, director of operations and safety for Air Force aero clubs and “ground boss” for I-WEPTAC.

This year’s I-WEPTAC process began in September when organizers solicited potential topics from across the Air Force agile combat support enterprise. 

“At AFIMSC, we are warfighters supporting warfighters, so it’s important that challenges solicited directly from the field headline the conference,” Hodges said.

After receiving 50 potential topics, a board of senior narrowed the field to and presented the top 10 to AFMC Commander Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, who selected the final four topics. Those topics are: Installation Investment Initiative 2035; Multi-Domain Tactical Agile Combat Support Command and Control; Critical Base Resiliency Capabilities; and Integrating New Agile Unit Type Codes into the Combat Support Wing.

The goal for this year’s working groups is to provide achievable solution sets to be presented to Air Force senior leaders for consideration and implementation, the major said.

Subject matter experts chairing the MAWGs didn’t enter the process blindly.

“We hosted a series of training events for MAWG leadership that included an orientation, topic development training and overall working group training,” Thomas said. “Now, we’re guiding the chairs through a progression of senior mentor reviews where they brief the status of their research and topic development.”

Functional community, combat air force and AFIMSC leaders conduct the reviews.

“The intent is to solicit a wealth of feedback from a wide variety of perspectives to ensure MAWGs are heading in the right direction to ultimately present out-briefs that propose achievable solutions,” Thomas said.

In addition to establishing a near-real time dialogue across the Air Force enterprise, MAWGs have the goals of offering potential strategy and resourcing recommendations and providing better support for current and future combatant commanders, Thomas explained.

In a nutshell, MAWGs aim to identify mission support deficiencies, shortfalls and developmental gaps, and propose solutions and actionable ways ahead, he said.

“Beyond that, we simply trust the MAWG chairs and their selected group membership to be innovative and revolutionary,” Thomas said. “I-WEPTAC capitalizes on their knowledge of how we can best approach our greatest challenges in order to better support the warfighter of today and tomorrow.”

“We really want the AFIMSC team to get excited about this conference,” Hodges added. “Warfighters are making positive changes across the Air Force, and this is our opportunity to showcase our people, mission and innovation.”

Anyone with a Secret clearance is invited to attend the out-brief and must register in advance at!/home. Attendees can also register to participate in other events held in conjunction with I-WEPTAC, including an Industry Day where the latest I&MS technology from an expected 50 vendors will be on display.