The training gave trainees the chance to go on mock deployment exercises, work on security protocols and fight simulated threats.
Now, the Air Force is replacing the four-day drills with PACER FORGE —Primary Agile Combat Employment Range, Forward Operations Readiness Generation Exercise — a new day-and-a-half-long training program.
Colonel Jeffrey Pixley with the USAF has been leading basic military training since 2021. He joined Morning in America to explain why the Air Force adjusted their training program, especially amid a time with increased imminent threats.
“The precise reason we adjusted our BEAST into the new PACER FORGE is because of the emerging threats that we’re seeing out there in the world today,” Pixley said.
He explained that the training program was enhanced and is now better than it ever was before.
“We’re able to give the trainees a shorter, more intense experience that’s focused on actually executing the things they’ve been training for during their weeks of training prior to deploying to PACER FORGE. The Air Force has made a transition in the way we think about the future fight with Agile Combat Employment, it’s in the name and how we’re going to fight in the future,” Pixley explained.
The new construct of PACER FORGE is meant to prepare airmen and women to operate in that world, not the world of the global war on terror that dominated BEAST, he said.
The colonel said the PACER FORGE allows the trainees to hit the ground and get briefed by a simulated deployed commander who’s going to give them the scenario they’re operating in, give them an intelligence update and then put them into small teams where the trainees will lead themselves through a 36-hour intense, trainee-led environment that’s meant to put skills to the test.
Pixley would not comment on the Heritage Foundation‘s recent ranking of the U.S. military, where the Washington Examiner reported that the foundation said the U.S. military is weak based on capability and readiness. The foundation also ranked the Air Force as the weakest among other branches of the military due to struggles with pilot production and retention.
“My focus is on our airmen, they’re showing up every weekend and every week,” Pixley said. “When they show up here, what they’re expecting is to be well led and well trained and prepared for whatever environment that comes their way over their career.”
Pixley said that this is the right move and at the right time for the USAF.