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No more redundant inspections: AF implements new inspection system

English: Office of the Secretary of the Air Fo...

English: Office of the Secretary of the Air Force Seal. Department of Defense and Military Seals are protected by law from unauthorized use. These seals may NOT be used for non-official purposes. For additional information contact the appropriate proponent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

7/24/2013 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force recently implemented a new inspection system, aimed at giving more power to wing commanders.

With the signing of Program Action Directive 13-01, Air Force inspection system Implementation Tiger Team transitions from the planning phase to the execution phase.

The program, which was beta tested by United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, aims at empowering wing commanders to run their wing’s inspection system. By doing this, each commander will be able to focus on improving mission effectiveness every day, balancing resources and risks without the wasteful peaks and valleys of preparing for inspections. The goal of the new system is to make inspections a nonevent, part of the daily battle rhythm of continuous improvement.

With the new AFIS, it “rebalances authority from functional staffs to commanders,” said Col. Robert Hyde, the Air Force Director of Inspections. “(It) enables commanders to focus on mission readiness, not inspection readiness.”

As the Air Force continues to be shaped leaner, the importance of eliminating waste, and increasing efficiency is at an all-time high. As the new AFIS is implemented and evolves, senior Air Force leaders are confident the program will reduce manhours significantly.

“I believe the return on a manpower investment to help the wing commander identify, report, analyze and fix problems is at least 10 to 1,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Mueller, the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General. “I’m convinced the efforts we’re making together to strengthen command, reduce and prioritize our guidance and reduce wasteful preparation for external inspections will be a catalyst for mission capability and cultural changes that will benefit every Airman, our Air Force and our nation. I don’t say that lightly.”

Under the previous legacy system, major commands would send their inspector general along with dozens of function inspection teams to inspect how ready that unit is and how compliant they are.

“The legacy system of 100 (plus) inspections, no matter how well organized or consolidated, still resulted in several unhealthy outcomes,” Hyde said. “The worst of which is wasted effort to prepare for inspections at the expense of mission readiness.”

Under the new AFIS, “the MAJCOM commander says to the wing commander ‘You inspect your unit and tell me how ready, compliant and sure your unit is,” Hyde said. “Help me see the big problems, how you are fixing them and where you need my help. Over the two-year (Unit Effectiveness Inspection) cycle, I’ll have my IG verifying how your wing is doing. My IG will inspect your own inspection program, validate and verify your reports, and help you see how to become more effective. If I find your reports are not accurate I will ensure we find and fix the root cause of the inaccuracy. My staff will engage you as a result of the info you provide.'”

As wings begin to adapt to this new culture, senior leaders are confident their main objective of strengthening the Air Force will be achieved.

“Our ultimate goal is to strengthen and improve the force,” Mueller said.

AF lifts stop movement order, resumes moves to Colorado

Emblem of the Air Force Personnel Center of th...

Emblem of the Air Force Personnel Center of the United States Air Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Debbie Gildea

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

6/18/2013 – JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Permanent
change of station
and temporary duty assignments to Peterson Air Force
Base
, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station and the U.S. Air
Force Academy
have been restored, Air Force Personnel Center officials
announced.

A stop movement order, requested by the Air Force Space Command and
USAFA commanders, was implemented June 14 in reaction to wildfires
burning in the Black Forest northeast of Colorado Springs.

All Airmen, including civilians, are now authorized to proceed on
orders. Airmen assigned to or living in the area or whose dependent
family members live in the affected area are reminded to log in to the
Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System at https://afpaas.af.mil to account for themselves, if they have not already done so, AFPC officials said.

For more information about stop movement and other personnel programs, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil.

NCO retraining program application window open

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

6/6/2013 – JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Staff sergeant-selects through master sergeants in overage career fields can apply for retraining into an undermanned career field during Phase I of the fiscal 2014

English: Manpower & Personnel Badge.

English: Manpower & Personnel Badge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. Retraining applications will be accepted June 4-July 8.

The two-phase program is used to balance and sustain the enlisted force by moving second-term and career Airmen from overage career fields to shortage career fields, said Master Sgt. Lytronda Clay, the AFPC retraining policy superintendent.

Approximately 970 Airmen from nearly three dozen career fields will be affected this year, compared to more than 1,400 last year.

Those Airmen have an opportunity during NCORP Phase I to voluntarily retrain into the undermanned career field of their choice, if they qualify, Clay said. The list of open fields is updated daily, and interested Airmen can access it on the myPers website.

Phase II is involuntary and will implemented if Phase I objectives are not met. During Phase II, AFPC will select the most qualified and vulnerable Airmen for retraining out of overage career fields. Phase II is slated for July 8-Sept. 8. Airmen who meet retraining eligibility criteria and who are vulnerable for non-voluntary retraining will be notified by their local personnel section in July.

Airmen who volunteer during Phase I will have significantly more options, said Clay. Undermanned fields include flight engineer, cyberspace defense operations, military working dog handler, at least nine medical fields and more.

To apply for NCORP retraining, Airmen must be on their second or subsequent enlistment, be a staff sergeant (or staff-select) through master sergeant, and have a minimum 5 skill level in their control Air Force Specialty Code. In addition, staff sergeants must have fewer than 12 years of active service as of Sept. 30, and technical and master sergeants can have no more than 16 years of active service by Sept. 30.

Retraining applicants must have at least 24 months of retainability upon completion of their new career field technical school, as well, Clay said.

“Airmen selected during Phase II for retraining who do not have 24 months of retainability may decline retainability, but will then be ineligible for assignment, promotion and reenlistment,” she said.

For complete eligibility and application information, go to myPers at https://mypers.af.mil and enter “Enlisted Retraining” in the search window.

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Air Force general calls sex assaults a ‘cancer’ – Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

This report from the Associated Press covers the Air Force Chief of Staff’s testimony on the sex scandals at Lackland Air Force Base, and elsewhere throughout the military.  Hopefully he means what he says, and he is not alone because this is an issue that needs not only our full attention, but immediate action !

 

Air Force general calls sex assaults a ‘cancer’ – Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston.

Lt. Gen. Clarke nominated as Director, Air National Guard

LIEUTENANT GENERAL STANLEY E. CLARKE III

12/12/2012 – ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region – 1st Air Force, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next director of the Air National Guard.

If confirmed by the Senate, Clarke will replace Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt III., who is retiring in January. Wyatt has led the Air National Guard since February 2009.

Wyatt said Clarke, if confirmed, is the right person at the right time.

“Sid is an outstanding leader,” he said. “He has an opportunity to lead the best Air National Guard in our nation’s history; a force that is proven in combat and domestic crises. His wealth of command and staff positions will help shape and guide the Air Guard as we forge ahead to the future.”

As Air Guard Director, Clarke will be responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs affecting more than 106,000 Air Guard members in more than 88 flying wings and 200 geographically separated units throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Clarke is no stranger to key leadership positions. At 1st Air Force, he commanded four direct reporting units, 10 aligned Air National Guard units, and a large number of active air defense alert sites — including aircraft, air defense artillery, and up to 15,000 active duty, National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian personnel. As the Joint Force Air Component Commander for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Clarke developed contingency plans and conducted full-spectrum U.S. Air Force air and space operations in the continental United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as over the maritime approaches to the U.S.

Clarke is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours, including more than 100 in combat, in the T-38 Talon, C-26 Metroliner, A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon. He has served as the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air for the Alabama Air National Guard.

Prior to his NORAD assignment, Clarke served the senior defense official and defense attaché in Turkey. The general was commissioned in 1981 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at the University of Georgia. He has served in various operational and staff assignments including duty as an A-10 and F-16 instructor pilot. He also has commanded a squadron, fighter wing and air expeditionary wing.

New program helps develop holdover Airmen at BMT

English: LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air...

English: LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Airmen participate in a rite of passage shared by all enlisted Airmen — the Basic Military Training graduation parade. The parade of 15 squadrons marked the end of the six-week training period for about 750 of the Air Force’s newest Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ken Wright) Source: USAF http://www.lackland.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/web/050820-F-4500W-015.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12/6/2012 – JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) — Airmen placed on hold in the 324th Training Squadron here are benefiting from a new program established earlier this year.

Typically, Airmen in a hold status have already completed basic training and are awaiting orders or assignment to technical school. There may be medical reasons for a hold status according to squadron leaders, but other factors may also result in assignment to the 324th TRS.

The new Holdover Airmen Development Program, focuses on personal and professional development; giving Airmen in a hold status options to further their careers.

The program has already been successful. Airmen interested in broadening their educational goals accumulated more than 1,000 credit hours to date by using their time to study for, and taking, College Level Entrance Program tests.

Several community service projects in and around base were completed by Airmen in the program. Holdover Airmen also organized a drill team with the aim to compete in the quarterly 37th Training Group drill down competition, and established two “rope programs”: the chaplain-based White Ropes and an Airman Leadership program of study.

“We understand when holdover Airmen come to the 324th TRS, this is the last place they want to be,” said Lt. Col. Paul Lips, 324th TRS commander. “We wanted them to utilize their time here to grow and develop as Airmen so they could reach their maximum potential.”

While staying at basic training for an extended period of time may seem to be a daunting proposition for most Airmen, the Squadron staff focusing on using the extra time productively.

“We wanted to develop a sense of belonging and worth for those Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Ricardo Chavez, a 433rd TRS master military training instructor assigned to the 324th TRS, who developed the program. “Our goal was to create an environment (similar to) technical training school, but with the restrictions of being in a BMT squadron, because they do live around trainees.”

In the dormitory, they follow the same guidelines as expected of a basic trainee, Chavez explained, adding that holdover Airmen do have exclusive areas in the dorm, including a day room, lounge, access to personal electronics, and computers for studying.

Since the program simulates a technical school environment, Airmen also earn transitional credits.

“We worked hard to get the transition program established so they would get credit for their time in holdover,” Lips said. “That’s been a huge morale boost for them and we’re getting positive feedback from the tech training schools about the Airmen who have been through our program.”

Senior Master Sgt. David Milne, 324th TRS superintendent, said the program has turned an obstacle into an opportunity for holdover Airmen assigned to the squadron.

“We needed to make them feel like they were Airmen,” Milne said. “They had already marched down the bomb run and graduated from basic training. That’s why we wanted this program to mirror tech training so when they arrived at their tech training squadron, they would be an asset.”

In addition to simulating a technical training environment, Chavez said two military training leaders; Master Sgt. Robert Thurman and Tech. Sgt. Joseph Green; mentor, guide and manage the holdover Airmen.

Green said their roles as MTLs help with the transition from the controlled environment of BMT to a technical-training atmosphere.

He said one charge is to develop the holdover Airmen, who also have weekly professional development briefings with senior leaders, into professional Airmen.

“We’ve instilled tech-training programs and empowered them to run (those) programs alongside NCOs,” Green said. “We get them out of a trainee mentality so they can start thinking like Airmen. They are very hard working and very motivated.”

Airman 1st Class Jenny Duenas was one of the longest-tenured Airmen in the program. An Air Force reserve recruit from Guam, Duenas had been on hold for medical reasons since graduating BMT nearly five months ago.

“I didn’t want to go home until I had tried everything I could to stay in the Air Force,” Duenas said.

She took advantage of her time in the holdover program to work her way through the leadership rope program, earning the top rank of “red rope.”

The leadership program includes the colors green, yellow and red ropes. Earning a red rope signifies Duenas is in a position of leadership for the holdover Airmen.

“I absolutely benefited from the program,” Duenas said. “It enhanced my leadership skills, and I feel like I helped a lot of Airmen who came through here.

“The program definitely makes Airmen better and I think they are more prepared on a professional level. A lot of Airmen I’ve heard from who transitioned from here to tech school are very grateful for they’re time here.”

Lips said the Airmen have taken it upon themselves to raise the standard.

“The motivation and excitement levels of the Airmen are through the roof,” he said. “The Airmen in the program have created a culture of excellence here, and now they bring those new holdover Airmen into that culture.”

EOD tech earns Silver Star

Honor and courage

Tech. Sgt. Deslauriers, an explosive ordnance disposal technician from the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Hayden K. Hyatt)

 

by Airman 1st Class Hayden K. Hyatt
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — An Air Commando from the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron received a Silver Star during a ceremony at the Pentagon Nov. 14.

by Airman 1st Class Hayden K. Hyatt
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

11/16/2012 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — An Air Commando from the 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron received a Silver Star during a ceremony at the Pentagon Nov. 14.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, earned the medal for gallantry in action while serving in Afghanistan on Sep. 23, 2011.

“It seems to me that valor is of the moment — character is built over a lifetime,” said Col. Jim Slife, commander of 1st Special Operations Wing. “The events of the 23rd of September last year can be described less as a case of spontaneous valor and more as a predictable outcome of circumstance and character intercepting on the battlefield.”

According to the award’s citation, Deslauriers rendered safe one improvised explosive device and conducted a post-blast analysis of three subsequent detonations all within a four-hour
time frame. After doing so, he then provided medical aid to an injured service member and used his detector to clear a safe path for the medical evacuation helicopter to land.

While clearing the area, Deslauriers stepped on an initiation system for an IED device. Despite sustaining grave injuries, and as his teammates treated him with aid, he continued to pass information about the device that helped his team continue the mission. His actions led to the extraction of two injured Marines, two vehicles and completion of the mission.

“We talked about honor, sacrifice, and courage,” Deslauriers said. “We don’t think about that stuff; we just do what we do, and we love it. I’d do it all over again.”

Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen use their training to dispose of anything from roadside bombs to decommissioned missiles — all to save lives.

“You see this room filled with all these people and my family here,” Deslauriers said. “To hear ‘the most decorated EOD tech in the career field’ —  it’s an honor for me to be here.”

Deslauriers said he felt honored to be standing in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, a place that honors the memory of hundreds of service members including Medal of Honor recipients.

“You belong here,” said retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

“Thank you, sir,” Deslauriers said. “To hear that from you, and from everybody here, is a great honor.”

The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor and is given for gallantry in action against enemies of the United States., an explosive ordnance disposal technician, earned the medal for gallantry in action while serving in Afghanistan on Sep. 23, 2011.

“It seems to me that valor is of the moment — character is built over a lifetime,” said Col. Jim Slife, commander of 1st Special Operations Wing. “The events of the 23rd of September last year can be described less as a case of spontaneous valor and more as a predictable outcome of circumstance and character intercepting on the battlefield.”

According to the award’s citation, Deslauriers rendered safe one improvised explosive device and conducted a post-blast analysis of three subsequent detonations all within a four-hour
time frame. After doing so, he then provided medical aid to an injured service member and used his detector to clear a safe path for the medical evacuation helicopter to land.

While clearing the area, Deslauriers stepped on an initiation system for an IED device. Despite sustaining grave injuries, and as his teammates treated him with aid, he continued to pass information about the device that helped his team continue the mission. His actions led to the extraction of two injured Marines, two vehicles and completion of the mission.

“We talked about honor, sacrifice, and courage,” Deslauriers said. “We don’t think about that stuff; we just do what we do, and we love it. I’d do it all over again.”

Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen use their training to dispose of anything from roadside bombs to decommissioned missiles — all to save lives.

“You see this room filled with all these people and my family here,” Deslauriers said. “To hear ‘the most decorated EOD tech in the career field’ —  it’s an honor for me to be here.”

Deslauriers said he felt honored to be standing in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes, a place that honors the memory of hundreds of service members including Medal of Honor recipients.

“You belong here,” said retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

“Thank you, sir,” Deslauriers said. “To hear that from you, and from everybody here, is a great honor.”

The Silver Star is the third highest military decoration for valor and is given for gallantry in action against enemies of the United States.

Airmen repair, save aircraft amid enemy mortars

8 EAMS Shank

8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron mission recovery team members hit the ground. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

 

by Senior Airman Bryan Swink
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

11/15/2012 – SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — A seven-man mission recovery team assigned to 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron deployed to forward operating base Shank in the remote Logar province of Eastern Afghanistan to complete repairs and recover a downed C-17 Globemaster III.

They recovered the vital aircraft amid daily enemy mortar attacks.

“We knew we had a lot of tireless work ahead of us but didn’t know the extent of the damage until we actually had eyes on the C-17,” said Master Sgt. Roy Lee, 8th EAMS MRT member. “We knew we had to work quickly and efficiently to get that aircraft out of FOB Shank. The base and flightline take mortar fire on a daily basis.”

The C-17 made a hard landing on the short runway and sustained significant damage. Upon the team’s arrival, they discovered the challenge of repairing 12 flat tires, replacing eight brakes and repairing eight break temperature sensors.

The team worked alongside a Boeing Recovery and Modification Services team to properly jack the aircraft off the ground to begin maintenance. After the first day of work, the team replaced all tires, brakes and fixed all the break temperature sensors while mortar rounds sporadically hit the surrounding area.

“The Airmen never lost focus on the mission at hand,” said Tech. Sgt. Gregory Bernett, 8th EAMS MRT member deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. “They would hit the ground as shrapnel flew across the flightline, but as soon as it was clear, they were back to work without hesitation. They were determined to get this aircraft air ready.”

Two more 8th EAMS MRT members arrived on the second day to repair a fuel leak that was discovered. During the final day of repairs, a mortar landed approximately 150 yards away from the crew. This was the closest impact the team experienced.

“With all the noise on the flightline at the time, we couldn’t hear the ‘incoming’ warnings,” said Lee, deployed from Joint Base Charleston, S.C. “I was stepping off the aircraft when the mortar hit and I instantly felt the concussion of the explosion. The C-130 Hercules parked next to us sustained damage, so we knew we were fortunate.”

The 8th EAMS Airmen completed their mission in two days to ensure the aircraft could be moved out of the FOB.

“We knew we had a dangerous mission ahead of us, but everyone of us were determined to get that aircraft out of there,” said Senior Airman Benny Vickery, 8th EAMS MRT member deployed from JB Charleston, S.C. “It was a great experience that I will remember for years to come.”

The dedicated and tireless work of these maintainers displays the attitude of the Airmen of the 8th EAMS.

“I am extremely proud of my team. As a commander, the one thing that keeps me up at night is when the call comes in to send my people into harm’s way,” said Lt. Col. Louis Hansen, 8th EAMS commander. “When I learned the shrapnel from an attack missed them by mere inches, it really drove this point home. They simply picked themselves up, brushed off the sand and finished repairing the C-17 so we could get it back in the fight. In a word, simply ‘Awesome!'”

Top female AF general tells personal examples of women’s progress in military

Women in Military Service for America

 

by Desiree Palacios
Air Force News Service

10/25/2012 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force’s only female four-star general used examples from her three-decade-plus career to show the tremendous progress of women in the military during a gala dinner celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger, Air Force Materiel Command commander, was the keynote speaker for the dinner celebrating the more than two million women who have served in the military.

Wolfenbarger was among the first group of women to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, in 1980, and told the audience of former and current military women that there was a great fear in the beginning that standards would somehow be lowered by allowing women to attend the service academies.

“So, I, along with my female classmates, spent four years proving that the standards, in fact, would not have to be lowered, and that women could not only survive, but actually thrive in that very challenging environment,” said Wolfenbarger.

In June of 1976, Wolfenbarger and 156 women entered the Air Force Academy as the first female cadets in its history. She remembers that first day as a sobering introduction into how the next four years would unfold. “I remember…walking along a hallway, chit-chatting with another female when an upper classman stopped us and physically threw us against the wall. He got within inches of our faces and yelled, ‘What the hell are you doing talking in my hallway? …It’s safe to say that during the whole first summer I was in a state of shock.”

Wolfenbarger said that people are often curious about the number of women who enrolled versus those who ultimately graduated from that first class. She said that out of more than 150, 97 would go on to graduate, about 10 percent of the class. “Women had the same attrition rate as was traditional with all-male classes.”

Sometimes asked whether she would go through it all again, Wolfenbarger answers with a resounding yes. “It took me a while after graduation to crystalize in my mind the value of the Academy experience. The Academy…really stretched me mentally, emotionally and physically and I came out the other side realizing that I was far more capable than I ever thought I was. That knowledge brought with it a self confidence that I have relied on throughout my military career, as well as in my personal life.”

But as much as a trailblazer as she’s been, Wolfenbarger has wanted to be recognized, not for her accomplishments as a woman, but for simply working hard and accomplishing the mission.

“I served in the acquisition business for most of my 30 plus years. I’ve had the good fortune to work on the leading edge fighter, bomber and transport aircraft programs in the Air Force. I worked on the F/A-22 for eight-plus years, the B-2 bomber for five-plus years, including time as director of the program. I was also director of the C-17 program for two and a half years. I spent time at the Pentagon as the first female and first non-fighter pilot lead F-22 program element monitor for three years.”

She went on to tell the audience of more than 300 about assignments that took her to the top levels of Air Force acquisition, both at the Pentagon and later at the Air Force Materiel Command where served as the vice commander for close to two years, before taking the role in the Pentagon as the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

“So what did I learn? I may not always have a choice in what life brings, but I do have a choice in how I respond. I can choose to be positive or negative – and I’ve learned to consciously choose in every case to react in the most positive manner I can.”

Thanking the audience for their service, some dating back to World War II, Wolfenbarger said that while women have doubled their ranks in the Air Force, there’s still room for improvement.

“The beautiful and thought-provoking ‘Women in Military Service for America Memorial’ has for the last 15 years served as a symbol of national gratitude in behalf of each of us, the more than 2 million female veterans, active duty, Guard and Reserve who, not only survived military service, but thrived.”

ALS class graduates under new curriculum

Airman Leadership School of the United States ...

Airman Leadership School of the United States Air Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Staff Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady
18th Wing Public Affairs

7/12/2012 – KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) — When nearly 50 senior airmen and staff sergeants graduated from Erwin Airman Leadership School here July 10, they were among the first Air Force-wide to graduate under a new test case curriculum.

Kadena Air Base’s ALS is one of seven schools in the Air Force and the only school in the Pacific teaching the curriculum.

Just like their predecessors, the student Airmen went through numerous uniform inspections, conducted drill and passed tests, but the new course focuses on teaching students what type of leader they are and the best way they can lead their subordinates.

“The focus is more on the individual,” said Master Sgt. Mark James, the Erwin ALS commandant. “It’s important to understand what type of person you are and what kind of dimension you lead from so you can apply that to your subordinate. If you’re not sure of who you are as a person or the kind of leader you are, then it’s tough to translate that to your subordinates.”

A majority of the curriculum changes revolve around discovering what type of person the students are. In order to do that, students participate in temperament personality activities, take leadership assessments and give rankings to flight members on what type of leader they think they are. Then the students have to sit down for face-to-face feedback sessions and explain the rating they gave to their peers.

“It’s a step up from what we previously had; it challenges the students in a new way,” said Tech. Sgt. Damean Moore, an Erwin ALS instructor. “We’re trying to produce a better quality NCO to take care of our Airmen. With the new curriculum, I think our future NCOs are going to return to their work centers better prepared than previous ALS students.”

Another trial to the new senior airman and staff sergeant students who pass through the halls of the PME Center comes from the new communications block of instruction. Previously, students were required to write bullets on a plain document and then discussed the enlisted performance report and performance feedbacks. Under the new lesson, the students fill out every portion of the official Air Force forms and are graded on the different sections. The students also draft decoration citations and briefings about strategic Air Force initiatives and key Air Force leader messages.

“The communications attribute received a major overhaul,” explained James. “Drafting decorations and being graded on all blocks of the EPR and PFW are welcomed changes. It hopefully instills just how important it is to pay close attention to accuracy on all Air Force forms. The level of briefings that the students are expected to deliver have also been taken to a new level. Overall, it is a much more challenging course, but one in which the students are going to leave better armed to handle what is thrown their way as first-line supervisors. Requirements for today’s senior airmen and staff sergeants were handled by technical sergeants and master sergeants just a few years ago.”

In addition to the communication course changes, the students are asked to work in groups more now than in the past. Previous ALS classes may have worked in groups a few times throughout the entire course, but under the new course, students work in groups a few times a week.

“What I enjoy most are the classroom discussions,” said Senior Airman Todd Noel, an ALS student from the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “As we talk more, we all learn different ways on how to resolve different conflicts. That’s the most beneficial to me. That’s how I grow and that’s how I become a better leader — by getting more opinions on how things work.”

The students aren’t the only ones learning from the new curriculum. The change also requires the instructors to take a different role conducting class.

“A challenge to the curriculum has shifted for the instructor, more so in taking a more facilitator role,” Moore explained. “The instructor’s role has lessened in the classroom and put it more on the students to carry on conversations and actually teach and learn from each other. Even though that was the intent of the old curriculum, it’s even more so now.”

To ensure the Air Force’s future leaders are equipped with the right tools to be successful, changes were made to the curriculum.

“The rewrite was necessary,” said James. “It was much-needed and has been received extremely well — especially the ‘What kind of leader am I?’ focus. The focus on the individual and getting their perspective on leadership is a nice change rather than talking about and focusing on all these other great leaders and how they got there. Let’s focus on me, what kind of leader I want to be and what kind of leader I’m capable of being. Once I get that nailed down, then I can focus on these other individuals and how they got to be where they are. Individualized leadership is a key area.”

Today’s fiscally constrained environment also drove the need for some budget and resource stewardship training.

“When you look at lessons like resource stewardship that were never taught at this level, this is something brand new,” Moore said. “Senior airman (promoting) to staff sergeant now learn how to manage resources: money, people and materials. We’re teaching them how to do those things, like when budgets are due and what financial execution plans are.”

Kadena AB’s NCO Academy also implemented a new curriculum earlier this fiscal year. The test case incorporates similar concepts and principles learned in the new ALS course, which also continues through new trial curriculum for the Senior NCO Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.