KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – As the Air Force faces challenging times with the most recent round of Force Management measures, one thing is for certain: our demands will not decrease.
There are three audiences this commentary is focused towards: each individual Airman impacted by any of these programs, supervisors at all levels and the unit leadership. The point is that everyone who is reading this is the target audience. Each of us has some sort of responsibility in this process, and we must faithfully discharge the duties in which we are charged.
Let’s start with the individual Airman who is impacted by any one of these programs. What should you know? What should you be doing? First and foremost, if you haven’t already check your records via the Personnel Records Display Application. Make sure there are no discrepancies. Should you find any, get them corrected immediately by starting with your supervisor and working through your chain of command or contact the Military Personnel Section to remedy the errors. Remember, you as the individual, are not meeting the board; your records are.
Next, stay up to date on the programs that may impact your career through the myPers website. Read the Personnel Service Delivery Memorandums for the specific programs, understand them, and if you have questions, ask them. Communicate with your chain of command on your specific situation. Continue to keep your duty-related performance high; this is not the time to generate any negative quality force indicators. Explore your options. Do you have a plan? Utilize the helping agencies available, such as the Military Personnel Section, Airman and family readiness center, education office, and the Air National Guard or Reserves in-service recruiter. Attend the transition assistance program to become better prepared on the services in place to support you and your family aimed at a seamless transition.
The next set of responsibilities falls on the supervisors. As raters, you should know your Airmen’s specific circumstances better than anyone and continue to provide them guidance regardless of whether they continue their service, decide to separate or become involuntarily separated. Also, supervisors at all levels should read and understand the PSDMs for each program impacting their subordinates in order to effectively assist their Airmen in making informed decisions. Moreover, one of the most critical responsibilities is creating an environment of open and honest communication. Candid feedback on duty performance is imperative; you owe this to your Airmen.
Finally, the unit’s leadership team should provide truthful feedback to all members in regards to past and present duty performance, as this is absolutely one of our most important duties during these trying times. We as leaders owe it to our Airmen, their families and our Air Force to make the tough calls and identify those who are truly among the best, and those who are not, and communicate this with each Airman accordingly. For unit leaders who have eligible members requesting voluntary separation, be sure to timely coordinate on their requests. Doing so is not only supportive of our Airmen, but will also assist in meeting the needs of the Air Force. Without a doubt, this process is difficult and there are no easy solutions; however, if we all carry out our respective responsibilities we can meet the intended outcome and remain the world’s greatest Air Force.