ILO taskings unite forces: Efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq must continue

  • Published
  • By Maj. Eric Waterworth
  • 62nd Security Forces commander

Though the Global War on Terrorism has gone on for almost five years, the reality is that the efforts in and must continue to ensure democracy takes root in those areas. 

As a result, the U.S. Armed Forces are now operating in increasingly joint endeavors. Certain specialties within the Air Force are being asked to support the war effort by helping share the workload with our fellow services.

That means Air Force personnel are being asked to serve in deployment duties with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps during what is referred to as in-lieu-of-taskings. ILO deployments of six months or even a year are the norm in this joint environment.

This is a challenge for Airmen in that we find ourselves engulfed in a different operating environment. But we must step up and meet the challenge. The Army is transforming itself just as the Air Force is.

Gen. Richard Cody, the Army vice chief of staff, told Congress in February 2005 that the Army is increasing its combat power by 30 percent as well as the size of its overall pool of available forces by more than 50 percent.

However, while this transformation is underway, the Army needs the support of the Navy and Air Force. Working with the other branches of the military may not be what we are familiar with and may push us into new working situations we have not experienced in the Air Force. But we need to open ourselves to the new work environment.

New terms, procedures and protocol should be expected when working with the other services. We will have to learn some new skills and methods of operating. We may become a little greener along the way. The secret is to take the opportunity of working with our fellow services to learn new ways of completing the mission.

Only by standing side-by-side with our fellow members of the Armed Forces can we sustain the effort needed to defeat our adversaries.