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Leveling the data field

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

To provide a unified education for students learning how to work as operation analysis officers, the 335th Training Squadron is taking initiative and launching an Initial Skills Training course at Keesler, Oct. 10.

Initially, an IST course wasn’t available for the operation research analyst curriculum. There were two paths students could take: earning a master’s in data science, a certificate in operations research from the Air Force Institute of Technology, or attending the Army’s Operations Research Systems Analysis Military Applications Course at Fort Lee.

This new IST course will standardize an educational baseline and establish an equal starting point for every student. The course has been set up to equip students with an overview of the different tasks they will experience, giving them hands-on practice.

“The 16-week program covers numerous topics and is project based,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Donahue, 335th TRS commander. “Students are going to work through a process on how to solve the problem for their senior leader. They will use what they’ve learned to help their commanders see what decisions can be made and will integrate across multiple warfare domains.”

Because operation analysts provide the information commanders use to make informed decisions, it is crucial that the training students receive in technical training equips them for success in the operational field.

Not only does the course equalize the starting point for students, but it also allows them to enter their career field with a skillset that prepares them to fight against the ever-changing tactics and capabilities of the nation’s enemies.

“As the Air Force grows its data science and tries to make data informed decisions, it's important to have our future analysts come in with an understanding and background of the various duties they’ll be asked to do,” said Donahue. “Our students must be prepared to provide guidance to the commander to help shrink the decision space for the Air Force and our friendly forces versus our adversaries.”