Air and Space Power Operations Course breaks down “stovepipes”

News Article / January 4, 2019

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By Captain Robert W. MacKenzie, with Major Jen Campbell

“The RCAF will provide the CAF with relevant, responsive and effective air power to meet the defence challenges of today and into the future.” —RCAF Mission

Major Jen Campbell, from 1 Canadian Air Division’s Family Support team, and Captain Robert MacKenzie, from 9 Wing Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, attended the Air and Space Power Operations Course (ASPOC) held in autumn 2018 at the RCAF Aerospace Warfare Centre at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. The 30-day intensive course develops air- and space-minded officers who can effectively assess, plan and task dynamic and complex aerospace operations.

As air reservists attending ASPOC, they brought unique perspectives to the course—and that is one of the greatest benefits of ASPOC. With 36 students attending, there was a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences from which to learn. The training also challenged everyone to break down “stovepipes” and learn from each other in a collaborative environment. Throughout the course, it was a daily occurrence to see support trades mentoring operators, and vice-versa.

ASPOC provided a learning environment designed to allow students to challenge ideas, to make mistakes, and to expand their abilities.

“Attending ASPOC is very key to the development of Air Force officers,” Captain MacKenzie said. “I was challenged daily to increase my knowledge, and ASPOC has provided me with new skillsets that I can bring back to apply at 9 Wing. I also now have the capability to be effectively employed in a variety of operational environments.”

The learning, however, moved at a fast and challenging pace. Each day, the students, regardless of their backgrounds, were challenged with new ideas, and how to incorporate them and make them part of their skillsets. Thinking critically was emphasized daily and practised until it became the norm rather than the exception.

The syllabus was also filled with exceptionally high-calibre speakers who challenged the students and allowed the students to challenge them. There were representatives from Canadian Forces College, the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy, Joint Operations Support Group, Director General Space (which falls under the RCAF), Canadian Joint Operations Command, 1 Wing Kingston, 8 Wing Trenton, Royal Military College of Canada, 2 Wing Bagotville (Air Expeditionary Wing), 1st Canadian Division, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

“As an air logistics officer with a finance and human resources background, ASPOC was an incredible opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and explore air and space power concepts with peers and directing staff alike,” Major Campbell said. “Having completed the course, I definitely have a much better grasp of both RCAF doctrine and how RCAF capabilities are employed in a joint operational context around the world.”


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