BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, Louisiana --
Following the same policies and procedures brings a sense of teamwork and cohesion to everything the Air Force does.
The Plans and Programs team, commonly referred to as XP has a lot to do with that cohesion, as they design plans that incorporate Air Force doctrine and war-fighting capabilities to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Airmen around the world remain united.
Maj. Jarrad Thorley, 2nd Bomb Wing/XP director of wing plans and programs, Capt. Kyle Allen, 2nd BW/XP chief of plans and programs, and Master Sgt. Roxanne Tapia, 2nd BW superintendent of plans and programs, make up the three-member team of the plans and programs section here, whose daily goals include devising strategies to help make sure troops stay vigilant and ready, keeping track of the strategic planning calendar, and making sure the commander has the information they need to make base decisions.
“Our main mission as XP is trying to sync different parts of the wing together and get everyone on the same page for an end goal of generating nuclear forces,” said Thorley. “In the wing, we have different people constantly rotating in and out of different squadrons. We are the communication piece of the mission that makes sure every unit is on the same accord in order to make the mission run as smooth as possible. It requires all of Barksdale’s personnel to make our mission successful.”
The uniqueness of the XP team's mission sets them apart from that of other units. Their jobs include being a gatekeeper of information, devising solutions to problems faced by the wing, and proposing work-arounds to potential future roadblocks.
“Once we get each squadron on the same accord and get them understanding what needs to be done on their end, our job is still not over,” said Thorley. “We take the information we receive from other units and relay the information to the wing commander. We then give recommendations on how we feel he/she should handle the situation and help work out any kinks in the plan they come up with.”
The XP team plays a huge role during base exercises when they take the lead directing the flow of operations as the Crisis Action Team directors. In the CAT they are managing the flow of information and making sure our base leadership knows what’s happening 24/7.
“The CAT is something that was created by the XP team,” said Allen. “We are the team that makes sure we have all the appropriate people in the CAT to be prepared for whatever crisis that may happen or has happened. We decide who needs to be there, how intense the situation is, how many people need to be available, and we are the filter for all incoming and outgoing information of the CAT. That is our baby.”
The Plans and Programs team also work diligently on new programs to implement that can help with base processes and benefit other agencies. One of their most recent additions is C2imera.
“C2imera is a common operating picture for the wing and available for every unit on base to use to have a shared mental model of what is going on within the base,” said Allen. “We are able to adapt it to several applications such as the airfield and road closures which gives leadership a clear understanding of operations on the base.”
C2imera was rolled out by the XP team in May of 2021 and has been an integral part of Barksdale’s mission since.
“C2imera has been our primary means of communication since its initial rollout,” said Allen. “It’s good to have a program like this at the wing level where we are able to coordinate things between the groups and create that cohesion in order to make everybody happy.”
Hurricane season in Louisiana has added another layer to the roles and responsibilities of XP. The XP team is the coordinator for hurricane evacuations and are more than happy to help out.
“Hurricane evacuations are what I am most proud to do here at plans and programs,” said Tapia. “We are able to make our home a safe haven for our brothers and sisters who may have lost theirs. It makes me happy to see all we can do for the bases surrounding us if we have to.”
The flow of information into and out of the XP team is critical to the mission here at Barksdale AFB because of all the things they do behind the scenes to make sure our Strikers are ready to provide the nation with winning combat power.