AFIMSC I-WEPTAC 2023 MAWG 2 chair spotlight

  • Published
  • By Malcolm McClendon
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

Maj. Ronda Underwood, chief of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center Expeditionary Engineering Division at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, is the chair for Mission Area Working Group 2 at the 2023 AFIMSC Installation and Mission Support Weapons and Tactics Conference.

The conference concludes Oct. 4 with the four MAWGs delivering their solutions to installation and mission support challenges to Air Force and Space Force leaders here. 

Underwood and her team will tackle the following topic:

Focusing Expeditionary Combat Support Capabilities in the AFFORGEN Deployment Model.

Within the proposed force presentation model, AFFORGEN, we now understand the size, structure and personnel composition of the Air Force’s new Expeditionary Air Base Squadrons and Mission Support Teams. We need to clearly understand designed operational capabilities of the EABSs and MSTs and, subsequently, the design and composition of Capability Enhancement Teams necessary to deliver critical combat support capabilities that will not exist within these light and agile EABSs and MSTs. This MAWG’s solutions will directly inform AFFORGEN implementation work being led by the deputy chief of staff for operations, Headquarters Air Force.

We asked Underwood a few questions about the topic, serving as a MAWG chair and how the team’s solutions will impact the Air and Space Forces.

• Please describe why you feel you were chosen for the topic and what experience you bring to the team.  

I have been involved in developing options and solutions for the Air Force’s new unit of action for force presentation since the first operational planning teams in early 2023. I have a lot of warfighting readiness, deployment and joint force experience that helps shape the future force presentation capabilities. I’m not in the business of figuring out or defending why we can’t do something. I’m in the business of figuring out how we can present options to get to ‘yes’ with the understanding of the risk within those options.

• Why is the topic you’re solving for important for the DAF?

Change is long overdue; business as usual will not cut it for the future fight. We must redesign our force presentation and the way we package our warfighting capability to be a competitive fighting force. Today, the DAF cannot accurately communicate how much agile combat support capability we can provide to the joint force and the risk of taking individual ACS warfighters. We are slowly bleeding our ACS warfighting capability and installation support missions to death by an unknown number of paper cuts. This effort and the change that it will bring will allow us to communicate that risk. To quote Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, “Change is hard, losing is unacceptable.”  

• How does it feel to be part of an event that can change the Air and Space Forces?

It’s exciting. To have a defined unit of action that can team, train, deploy and come home together is a must for increasing the lethality of the warfighter and the capability that goes forward in the fight. I’m honored to be a part of shaping the future force presentation and tackling the tough challenges we face.  

This year’s event will be recorded, and the video will be made available shortly after the conference. Visit the 2023 I-WEPTAC website for the link and more information.