Forum provides opportunity for valuable XP crosstalks

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Wing planners from every Air Education and Training Command installation met here this week to discuss everything from Air Force Smart Operations 21 to disaster plans during the annual XP Workshop Tuesday through Thursday. 

Gene Quintanilla and Jim Bishop from the AETC Plans, Requirements and Programs Office made the trek from San Antonio to ensure wing planners knew what programs are currently flowing down and what could come in the future. 

"It's an annual forum for a representative from each AETC XP shop to roll up their sleeves and get to work," said Mr. Quintanilla, AETC's arms control and treaty manager. "It's a good means for people to share best practices." 

Topics on the workshop agenda included disease containment, treaties, installation readiness training, operations, base evacuation plans and the upcoming balanced scorecard. 

Balanced scorecard is perhaps one of the biggest hot topic items expected in the near future. 

Mr. Quintanilla said the balanced scorecard is expected to filter out to wings in the fall. He said officials will use the information to determine how wings across the command fit into the AETC strategic plan. 

The forum also gives AETC bases an opportunity to share their experiences to help others overcome adversity. 

Mr. Bishop, the command's counter-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear high-yield explosives program manager, said a representative from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., for example, provided a briefing about base evacuation plans because they have experienced almost annual evacuations of the base due to hurricanes. 

Another example of the cross-talk among AETC XP offices comes from last year's workshop. 

Mr. Quintanilla said Monday that Altus AFB, Okla., representatives briefed the XPers at September's workshop on the Open Skies treaty that is signed by 35 countries. 

"It enables them to fly an aircraft anywhere over the U.S. and take pictures," he said. "In April, we had a Russian aircraft fly over" some AETC bases including Sheppard.
The planners also discuss treaties such as the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and Chemical Weapons treaty.
 
At the first XP workshop led by Mr. Bishop, he said his vision was to create an Action Officer Guide that gave insight to the process for new XP officers, civilian an military. He said his vision was finalized through the completion of the document by Mr. Quintanilla and signed by Brig. Gen. Richard Perraut Jr., the director of Plans, Requirements and Programs at AETC. 

"We were looking for instructions of some sort," said Susie Jarrett, Sheppard's plans and programs officer. "It's really been remarkable for all of us." 

Mr. Quintanilla said the cross-feed during the forums enables each representative to go back to their home base and make modifications to various plans and programs to improve efficiencies and create a standardized way of doing business. 

"Who knows what the future has for us in this country," he said. "No matter where any base is, we need to be prepared."