USA — Top Airman Works to Build Resilient Force

WASHINGTON — Air Force lead­ers are work­ing on ways to pre­pare air­men to be ready for the joint and coali­tion fight and build resilience among them­selves and their fam­i­lies, the service’s top enlist­ed air­man said this week.

Dur­ing a Sept. 15 “DoD Live” blog­gers round­table, Chief Mas­ter Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said one way to do that is to have delib­er­ate devel­op­ment using expe­ri­ence, edu­ca­tion and train­ing that will help to cre­ate bet­ter air­men in the joint force.

For exam­ple, he said, stu­dents who receive joint med­ical train­ing at Fort Sam Hous­ton, Texas, estab­lish rela­tion­ships across the ser­vices ear­ly in their careers. “From my view,” he said, “I think that’s kind of where we should go in the future.”

Roy added that the way Air Force offi­cials com­mu­ni­cate not only with air­men, but also with spous­es, sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers and close fam­i­ly mem­bers, is key to a sense of com­mu­ni­ty. He said he and oth­er lead­ers review pro­grams the Air Force offers and their effi­cien­cy, while con­tin­u­ous­ly seek­ing to instill a sense of com­mu­ni­ty with­in the Air Force fam­i­ly.

He said pro­grams such as the Air Force’s “key spouse” pro­gram offer an offi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions net­work designed to enhance readi­ness and estab­lish a sense of com­mu­ni­ty among unit lead­ers, air­men and their fam­i­lies.

Anoth­er pro­gram Roy dis­cussed is the new Air Force fit­ness pro­gram, which, he said, has changed the cul­ture of fit­ness with­in the force.

“If you receive an ‘excel­lent’ [rat­ing] on your [phys­i­cal train­ing], you only have to test once a year,” he said. “That was not in the orig­i­nal plan, but we reviewed it, took the feed­back from the field, and 43 per­cent have scored a 90 or above, mean­ing they only have to test once a year.”

This change in the rules has made air­men take their fit­ness very seri­ous­ly, he said.

The chief also addressed the mil­i­tary sui­cide issue, not­ing that build­ing resilience with­in air­men and their fam­i­lies is an impor­tant focus for Air Force lead­ers. “Any time you have one sui­cide, it’s too many,” he said. The Air Force, he added, is con­tin­u­ing to devel­op pro­grams that help air­men and their fam­i­lies deal with the sui­cide issue and oth­er con­cerns.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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