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ACC plans Sword Athena 2020

(U.S. Air Force graphic)

(U.S. Air Force graphic)

Air Combat Command will host Sword Athena 2020 (SA20) Leadership Symposium August 12-14, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

SA20 is the first event of its kind in ACC and is a forum for rising leaders, across ranks, to focus on female- and family-centric issues which impact readiness.

The theme for the event is “Building Leaders Armed for Action.”

The event will be modeled after Weapons and Tactic Conferences (WEPTAC) and will conduct focused Mission Area Working Groups (MAWGs) to address crowd-sourced issues and present short, medium, and/or long-term solutions to the commander of Air Combat Command. 

“With Sword Athena 2020, I am proud to host a first of its kind event for Airmen to tell me directly what they need to be ready to fight,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of ACC. “The mission of Air Combat Command is People First, Mission Always. And when we listen to the people - our incredible Airmen - we will always be able to accomplish the mission.”

SA20 will be a combined forum of leadership-focused education sessions and five MAWGs: creating a safe psychological space; mental health; family and children; flyers; and equipment/tools/gear. Each attendee will be assigned to a MAWG and will submit their preference during registration. MAWGs will begin virtual collaboration via MS Teams (CVR) 30 days prior to the event, continue in-person collaboration during SA20, and out-brief COMACC on the final day.

“The MAWGs are led or co-led by SA members who have researched the issues deeply and are armed to bring up potential solutions for discussion,” said Maj. Veronica “V” Brownheim, ACC deputy command bioenvironmental engineer. “SA20 is the only course in ACC where we use a MAWG-type approach modeled after ACC’s Weapons and Tactics Conference to take action in solving issues.”

ACC requested each active-duty wing to nominate one Airman to travel to Joint Base Langley-Eustis for the event.  The Airmen selected will be committed to inclusion and known for identifying issues and proposing solutions. 

Due to COVID-19, the total attendance for this event will be limited to 100. The SA20 committee will request total force representation from local Air National Guard, Reserve, and ACC staff directors to reduce travel requirements. By mid July, the conference team will determine if COVID-19 restrictions will further impact the event, to include additional attendance restrictions or transitioning to a virtual event if necessary. 

“COVID-19 has turned our world upside down,” Brownheim said. “Thankfully technology has been the bridge to enable SA 2020 to continue in a reduced fashion.  We are also engaging with our ACC members via social media and plan on utilizing print media, social media, and podcasts to spread our messages and action items to all ACC and hopefully AF members.”