JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Six installations will implement 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week fitness center access this and next month as part of an Air Force Services Transformation Initiative test concept, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense Military Communities and Family Policy director and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs approved the Services Transformation initiative to test unsupervised fitness and sports center after-hours use.
Test installations include Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Scott AFB, Ill., F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Tinker AFB, Okla., Little Rock AFB, Ark., and Joint Base Andrews, Washington D.C., said Capt. Matthew Dunn, AFPC Services Transformation deputy chief.
The after-hours fitness center test is one of several initiatives underway, or on the horizon, intended to transform how the Air Force provides morale, welfare and recreation programs and services, said Ms. Margaret Treland, Air Force fitness and sports chief.
Services acquired an entry access and surveillance system that was installed at Fairchild and Scott the second week of December. F.E. Warren began installation Dec. 12, and Tinker and Joint Base Andrews will begin Dec. 17. Little Rock installation is slated to begin Jan. 13, Dunn said. Equipment installation takes 7-14 days, and all test installations are expected to be up and running by the end of January.
“Test guidelines are clear and focused on Airman security and safety,” said Dunn. “Facilities must have controlled access, security monitors and emergency capabilities and equipment, including defibrillators, first aid kits, phones with emergency number lists, and clear procedures for fire department access.”
In addition, test installation commanders must conduct and document operational risk management assessments, develop applicable wingman policy, and post written standards for unsupervised use of the facility. This guidance will help ensure Airmen who use the facility after hours understand safety requirements, and address facility security, Dunn explained.
One of several Services Transformation Initiative programs, the initiative has great potential to better serve Airmen, he said. Testing will provide more information, though.
“Fitness centers are critical to Airman fitness and resiliency, but most centers have fixed hours, unlike the Air Force which has a 24/7 mission,” Dunn said. “Airmen who work unusual hours may not be able to get to the fitness center during routine operating hours.”
While 24-hour fitness center access may be an obvious answer, manpower authorizations and budget restrictions prevent round-the-clock manning, he explained.
“Unmanned fitness centers are not uncommon outside the gates, so test results from the participating installations will help us determine if the practice will work for Air Force fitness centers, as well.”
Test installations will monitor and collect information on use, utility cost increases, damage to the facility or equipment, and injuries or incidents, to determine viability to further expand this program across the Air Force.