Col. Robert Kinney, the first non-pilot to command the Arkansas National Guard 188th Wing in Fort Smith, is moving to a job in the nation’s capitol. 188th Wing Vice Commander Col. Leon Dodroe will assume command of the unit.
According to a statement from the 188th, Kinney has been named Chief, Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief National Mission Initiative under the newly-established Joint Artificial Intelligence Center in Washington D.C.
“The mission of the JAIC is to transform the DoD by accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI to achieve mission impact at scale,” the center notes on its website. “The goal is to use AI to solve large and complex problem sets that span multiple services; then, ensure the Services and Components have real-time access to ever-improving libraries of data sets and tools.”
Kinney was named 188th commander in September 2017 when Col. Bobbi Doorenbos – the unit’s first female commander – transferred to a job at the Pentagon.
The 188th’s three primary missions are Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MQ-9 Reaper); Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); and Targeting (Space-Focused). According to the Air Guard, the unit has an annual impact of $40 million on the local economy. The unit has about 1,000 employees, with around 660 being full-time.
Broad cuts in U.S. defense spending included the removal of 20 A-10 fighter planes from the 188th Fighter Wing in Fort Smith. It was announced in 2012 that the unit’s mission would change to an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission. The unit converted to the new mission in June 2014.
Kinney was the 188th ISR Group commander during the wing’s conversion from the A-10C Warthog attack mission to the MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft, ISR, and Space Targeting mission set.
Dodroe, a 26 year combat veteran, has served on active duty in the Army and Air Force and is a command pilot with 4,300 flight hours in manned and unmanned ISR platforms. He joined the U.S. Army in 1993 and served with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Ga.
He was selected for pilot school in 1995, and after completing training in 1996 was named a fixed wing platoon leader in the Southern European Task Force in Vicenza, Italy.
In 2000 he attended the Military Intelligence Officers advance course and later became Chief of RC-12D Special Electronic Mission Aircraft training. He joined the Arizona Air National Guard in 2010.