Officer Training: A Digital Approach
In order to fulfil the mission of the Air Force, it is important that each commanding Air Force officer has a basic knowledge about how air power is achieved. Understanding the mission forms the common foundation which ensures that each force element is directed towards the same goal. For this reason the study of air power is conducted already at the beginning of the career of each German Air Force officer at the German Air Force Officer School. The most effective way to understand, test, and develop the concepts of air power is through practical employment. This is achieved by performing wargames at the German Air Force Officer school through the employment of the simulation software “Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations” (CMANO).
During each wargame a training group is split into different sub groups. Each sub group commands different air assets used for different core air power roles and types. Together all sub groups have to coordinate the employment of their assets in order to fulfil a common objective in a complex scenario. While the initial planning is conducted on conventional maps to determine individual mission areas, the resulting cruising distances are entered into digital planning aids to calculate cruising, station, and loiter times. The final planning is then entered into CMANO to simulate the mission. Through this type of training the cadets are able to make their first own practical experiences in the conduction of air warfare and gain a comprehensive understanding of the interdependencies between individual core air power roles and types.
Additionally, a wargaming club, in which CMANO is used, has been founded at the German Air Force Officer School. During this extracurricular activity, the participating cadets have the opportunity to build their own Air Force, based on a budget. Afterwards, a tournament is conducted in multiple rounds, in which the cadets have to defend their own air base or attack the air base of a changing opponent. This enables the cadets to develop their own tactics, test, and re-evaluate them during numerous opportunities while achieving a deeper understanding of air power.As an overall result, the use of a simulation software to conduct wargames has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of training in the subject of air power studies at the German Air Force Officer School.