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XP: the base’s front door

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mya M. Crosby
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Getting your foot through the door for any kind of project requires many steps such as thoughts on how it will be created, what you need to get it started or if it will work and stay working.

The 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Plans and Programs shop, also known as “XP,” is that first step. They are responsible for developing base’s plans, programs and policies; coordinating programming actions to resolve issues; and constantly analyzing the effectiveness of these programs.

“We are the ‘front door’ for the base and we help field many of the questions that come down from Air Forces Central Command and U.S. Central Command about our mission and capabilities,” said Maj. Vito Bussmann, 380th AEW chief of XP. “Also, XP is in charge of briefing the 380th AEW commander and his staff in the event of a base emergency and we work a lot behind the scenes to maintain constant readiness of the Crisis Action Team facilities and team members should the need ever arise.”

This shop manages a wide range of programs and their hard work does not stop there.

“We, myself and the superintendent, coordinate the 18 base plans that the wing maintains for various contingencies (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive; mishap response; disease containment; etc.) and runs the Operations Security, Mission Assurance and Signature Management programs,” Bussmann said. “That, however, only fills about half of our time and the other half has mostly been spent on a variety of projects that also flow through the office – aircraft beddowns, base defense upgrades, support to Operation Plans revisions, exercise planning, and directing the CAT during base exercises.”

Being a part of a shop usually comes with technical training, multiple career development courses and different training opportunities, but XP is not the average AF job.

“XP is almost exclusively learned on-the-job because it is not an Air Force Specialty Code, and no formal training exists,” said Master Sgt. William Jackson, 380th AEW XP superintendent. “Maj. Bussmann is an engineer and I am a loadmaster, so we relied heavily on regulations and continuity to start. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to work in XP for a year at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. We had an office of five, so my focus was on managing the CAT and the Programs side of the house. It’s just the two of us at ADAB, so I have definitely been exposed to a lot more.”

With the amount of behind the scenes work and memorizing different Air Force Instructions, the two-man shop still feels the pride of their craft.

“I think the most prideful I have felt about my job came after winning a quarterly award,” Jackson said. “The award validated the significance of the work we do, and our contribution to the mission.”

With all of the interaction this team has with other units on base and around the Area of Responsibility, they get a unique view of how their work directly contributes to the mission.

“I visited Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, recently to help plan ADAB’s support to a theater missile defense exercise. While there, I had a chance to visit the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), which directs the entire air war in the Middle East. Standing in the middle of the control room watching all of the screens and liaison officers conducting operations across all of Central Command was humbling. You can see everything we do come together to support the actual fight in one place!”