That's a shitty situation. You have every reason to not want to go. A week before I left Afghanistan (I was not an air advisor), three contractors were gunned down at NKAIA on the airfield by an Afghan student. It's definitely a more clear and present danger than most Airmen (outside of SOF) face. That said, they really need our help and the majority of Afghans are grateful for what we are doing, fwiw. You'll definitely experience things that will change your life, both good a bad things. You'll have perspective and credibility that most of your coworkers will not have. You will see some remarkable scenery and you'll gain an incredible appreciation for everything we have in America.
Yes it is terrible, and nobody could blame you for not going. However, if you do go, there are at least some slightly positive aspects. Always be ready to defend yourself, and hope your luck doesn't run out.
Well shit. So, things are not going to get better anytime soon then? My classmates were thinking it would be a great job, because you get to fly real missions without having to be gone all the time. I guess that seems good in theory but not in practice. Thanks for the updates.
I'm in a class right now with some Naval aviator and Army helo types, and they asked me why dudes hated RPAs so much. It's clear why people that went through UPT would be miserable, but I don't know any 18Xs so I don't know how they feel. Are straight RPA officers equally miserable, considering that's what they signed up for? Are there just not enough volunteers? Seems strange that we are having to use UPT-trained aircrew still, so many years into RPA ops.
The simple truth is that in aviation, sometimes accidents happen despite the best intentions/efforts of the pilots involved. Flight following is a pain in the ass, and growing up flying in KATL's Class B, it was typically the last thing any controller wanted to help with. My home airport was 8 miles north of KMGE and we had F-22s, F-16s and C-130s, combined with the busiest airport in the world, and two of the busiest GA airports in the country. In spite of that, there we never any middairs. Maybe the congestion kept everyone's head on a swivel.
Comm support should be "outsourced" to organizations that are better equipped to handle bulk IT infrastructure. Offensive and defensive Cyber operations should be treated as an MWS and organized like any other ops unit. The problem is, what gets called operations in cyber varies greatly based on background. Installing mcafee and monitoring the local network, to some, is defensive cyber ops. That is basic comm support, not cyber ops. When people go out and represent comm support as cyber operations, it creates a lot of confusion and the real ops units lose credibility. Someone who has the right mindset, in my opinion, is focused on advancing our operational capabilities in the cyber domain.
ETA: What's wrong with many leaders across the Air Force is a fundamental lack of understanding of the domains in which we operate. Air, space, and cyber are as unique as land and sea, or sea and air. Yes, they are very much integrated, but they also have very different challenges and threats. There are campaigns being waged in space and cyber every day that have nothing to do with air. We could lose air superiority by losing space or cyber. We could lose space superiority by losing air or cyber. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. The mindset that everyone in the Air Force exists to generate sorties is ridiculous. Space wings have mission support groups that enable the space ops groups to do their business. Same with cyber. Space and cyber wings are not mission support to air wings. That mindset needs to change.
The next HAF/A3 will be the first non-rated ops chief for the Air Force. Thoughts? Does it matter what the A3's background is? As a space guy, I'm happy. I imagine there are some aircrew in the Pentagon that are not as thrilled.
I don't want to discuss specific organizations and systems, but I think you'll find that most agencies outside the AF have stacked or side-by-side boxes as the norm. I honestly think the Air Force just uses blanket overly restrictive policies because they are accounting for the lowest common denominator, and worst case scenario. Maybe that's a good strategy, maybe not.
Yeah, I don't understand the Air Force and their ridiculous EMSEC and wireless device policies. Where I work now, we have multiple boxes from multiple agencies spanning all classifications (unclass through SAP) sitting next to each other. They are all hooked up to switch boxes and use the same monitors, mice, keyboards, etc. They also all use the same wireless clicker. It's been the same setup in joint deployed environments, from what I've seen.
At my last duty station, which was an Air Force base, we had red tape all over the desks to show you the line you couldn't cross with your mouse or any other equipment. People literally got written up for moving an optical mouse hooked up to NIPR over the SIPR red line. Not only is that too stupid for me to process, they actually employed people who went around checking/monitoring this shit.