I understand that this future course will be beneficial to increasing the size of battlefield airman in service, and that this course will be the "pre-devlopment/pre-pre indoc" course, but I am still questioning this a little.
The BA Preparatory Course has no concept or intent to increase the duty position (funded and authorized mission ready force structure size) of the BA capability. It does have purpose of reducing trainee attrition from the training pipelines to have effect of having most if not all duty positions filled by mission ready Battlefield Airmen.
Understanding concept and need for BA Preparatory Course requires understanding significance of it being an eight week course. Numerous studies and research conducted during and after WWII have consistently concluded it takes eight weeks to increase the fitness of the average civilian to a level needed to perform combative duties on the ground battlefield.
Other driving necessity for the course requires awareness each of the BA AFSCs instituted a variety of training concepts and models on different time lines pertinent to requiring occupational-specific fitness and using screening measures for entry job placement. The timelines differ primarily because each BA AFSC came into existence in different decades after WWII and for some of the BA AFSCs (primarily TACP and SOW and to a limited degree CCT) they evolved in gaining mission capabilities and mission utilization. Consequently some of the COIEs are more of a combination of ad hoc techniques than others.
From a 2014 RAND Study:
Finally, we reviewed key official training documents, the Career Field Education and Training Plan, and the Plan of Instructions) for pararescue and combat control training. However, only the Plan of Instruction for the PJs contained any content related to stress inoculation. Currently, this instruction by the staff research psychologist covers four hours during the PJ Preparatory/Development Course and six hours over a ten-week period during the PJ Indoctrination Course to introduce topics related to stress and performance enhancement (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, and locus of control).
Gender integration into the BA AFSCs is another driving consideration. Although the BA AFSC were opened to women effective January 24, 2013 no female airman has succeeded in successfully completed more than a week or two of training. Although not disclosed in any official press releases the BA Preparatory Courseís primary trainers are mostly civilian Division 1 College Coaches. This gives ability to hire female coaches/trainers as no females currently hold and perform duties of a BA AFSC.
Some of the potential mission requirement disconnects is although all the BA AFSCs have mission requirements performing in physically demanding, stressful and sometimes life-threatening environments, pararescue and combat control most routinely operate outside the wire (i.e., in enemy territory) to recover downed or injured military personnel and direct military aircraft in hostile or denied regions, respectively. Of the two, only pararescue has mission role having success that depends on the survivability of downed aircrew and passengers and other isolated personnel. If the rescue is a combat zone the conventional rescue also depends on ability of isolated personnelís to avoid immediate capture. Without getting into detailed and complex discussion this is why the enlisted Pararescue has the most robust PAST standards and is the only BA AFSC to have a required 45-training day Indoctrination Course.
Regardless, the current preparatory and development courses, although different in training day length, are used to ensure that battlefield airmen are successful and can perform physically demanding activities well under stress. First all the course of initial entry (COIE) preparatory and development courses are used to develop and improve physical fitness of the trainees to the desired fitness performance level. Second, the can self-select out of training if they are unable to cope with the high physical and psychological demands of training (the cause for most trainee loss). Third, instructors can screen out trainees who are unable to cope with the physical demands and/or (Pararescue Indoc Course) perform successfully under stressful conditions.
#1. The BA preparatory course doesn't simply add another 8 weeks to each BA tech school (pipeline).
#2. The BA Preparatory course will mostly be physical training with some training focused on enhancing performance under stress. Some individuals continue to perform well under stress, whereas others make critical errors or even fail to perform. The 45-training day Pararescue Indoctrination Course is the only Air Force course that has had a improving performance under stress training objective in its curriculum since it was put in place. I suspect the BA Preparatory Course will have some of its curriculum oriented to informing of career field history and mission role and utilization.
#3. The PJ Development Course is simply training days yanked out of the PJ Indoctrination Course. The concept was as most student attrition (trainee loss) from the course was due to lack of physical fitness and encountering more stress than they could handle it would improve retention of students by transitioning them from BMT into the PJ Indoc Course by providing as much as a stress free environment as possible and still prepare them for PJ Indoctrination Course training environment. If you multiply 7-training days by eight weeks, the result is 56-traing days. If you add the 10-training days of the PJ Development Course to the 45-training days of the PJ Indoctrination Course, the result is 55-training days. Consequently there is a training day pattern connected to eight weeks that goes back to WWII.
It can be reasonably speculated (mine) the new BA Preparatory Couse will give ability to more effectively and efficient divert trainees unable to meet standards to proceed further into the Pararescue and Combat Control training pipelines to choose to entry classify into Special Operations Weather and TACP.
It is also reasonable to speculate (mine) that at some time in the near future the BA Preparatory course will cause elimination of the 5-training day TACP preparatory course, 10-training day combat control/special operations weather selection course, and 10-training day PJ Development course. The PJ Indocrination Course will probably remain in some form as a one Preparatory course fits needs of all BA AFSCs was demonstrated to be ineffective in achieving desired outcomes (for many documented causes) during the period 18 December 1988 (Indoc Class 88-02 graduated) to 2000. The same for the PAST Standards which were know as the joint CCT/PJ PAST during this period.