618th Air Operations Center: Using 2020 Reorg as Launchpad for New Deployment Model


The 618th Air Operations Center (AOC) brings together more than 800 active duty, Reserve, National Guard, civilian, and contractor personnel as the Department of Defense’s largest AOC. It serves as an expert resource while maintaining America’s global reach when planning, tasking, executing, and assessing mobility missions.

618 AOC, Scott Air Force Base, IL, oper­ates 24/7. It has ensured global delivery for more than 30 years and is always ready to support mobility operations, wherever and whenever needed.

It will be following the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF’s) new deployment model, which entails the realignment of directorates and the establishment of new positions through its largest, full-scale organizational transformation in nearly 30 years. Airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation, and global air mobility are recognized as Air Mobility Command’s four core competencies and will be greatly enhanced due to this transformation.

The 2020 reorganization of the 618 AOC will act as a launchpad for these goals because of its push toward efficient, rapid mobility. This reorganization incorporates the concepts of Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and multi-capable Airmen (MCA). The Air Force introduced ACE as a proactive and reactive operational scheme of maneuver executed within threat timelines to increase survivability while generating combat power throughout the integrated deterrence continuum. The Air Force defines MCA as “Airmen capable of accomplishing tasks outside of their core Air Force specialty. Specifically, these personnel are often trained as a cross-functional team to provide combat support and combat service support to ACE force elements.â€


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Charles Q. Brown Jr. stated in an exclusive interview with Air Force Magazine in 2021 that the new Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) model will be “better aligned with how we present Airmen and airpower to support the joint operations, while at the same time, it actually preserves some of that readiness, not only for today, but for the future.â€

The Air Force expects to reach initial operational capability in fiscal year 2023 through a model identified by four “bins†that last 6 months each for a 24-month cycle. These four bins are as follows:

  • “Available to Commit†is when a unit is ready to mobilize on very short notice for such taskings as dynamic force employment deployments or short-notice task force deployments.
  • “Reset†is when Airmen return home for 6 months and take a break after the “Available to Commit†phase. According to Brown, this break should give Airmen the opportunity to reset and reconnect with family and review the basic skill sets they need for their commitments, whether deployed or not.
  • “Prepare†is when “you start to up your level of training and expanding beyond just your unit and start to work with others,†according to Brown. After focusing on the basics and 6 months’ rest, Airmen will have an opportunity to increase their preparation for a possible future deployment when they move into the next 6-month phase.
  • “Ready†is when Airmen will focus on more intense, multi-unit training in which the focus is on the high-end fight environment. Included are participation in a certification exercise with multiple wings; capstone exercises such as Red Flat, Red Flat-Alaska; or the USAF Weapons School. This phase is when it is time to ensure that Airmen are at peak readiness to move back to the deployment or “Commit†phase.

Some units started to implement AFFORGEN in 2020, although the goal was to reach initial operating capability in fiscal year 2023. According to Brown, the Air Force cannot just “flip the switch and go, ‘OK, … so we’re starting today.’†He said our USAF is in high demand and that AFFORGEN will provide discipline when communicating with the Joint Force about its availability and readiness.

“We’ve been going to the same bases for the past 30 years, and things are already established,†according to Brown. He said Airmen must look at these things differently now as they may be deployed to a base that is not fully operational.

The Air Force continues to be ready to support mobility operations in contested environments at any time and in any place. This readiness is accomplished through multidomain, world-class command and control. Even when commanding a fleet of nearly 1,100 mobility aircraft, the 618 AOC must provide mobility support to our warfighters downrange to ensure mission success.