Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Plan early for household moves in peak season
For many military and federal government workers, spring signifies not only flowers in bloom and warmer weather, but also a good time to get the jump on peak moving season, which typically runs from May to August.
Mitch Chandran, an Army Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command spokesman, said he encourages military members to request a preferred move date as soon as they get their orders.
Peak moving season, he said, is a moving industry phenomenon in which government moves compete with private-sector moves for the same resources during busy summer months, with peak moves between Memorial Day and July 4.
“The competition [occurs when] transportation service providers try to accommodate government and nongovernment move requests during summer months, [and more frequent] move requests occur within a relatively short amount of time,” Chandran said. “The sooner you start the move process upon receiving orders, the better chance you will have to lock in your preferred move date.”
Each year, SDDC manages about 520,000 booked household-goods moves per year, of which about 225,000 occur during peak moving season.
John Johnson, SDDC’s personal property directorate quality assurance division branch chief, said the moving process should begin with military members contacting their transportation or personal property shipping office to explore their options, including a personally procured move.
First Sergeant Academy embraces blended learning
The U. S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy has transformed its curriculum from a traditional “brick-and-mortar” education experience to a mixture of facilitated distance learning and in-resident classroom time to teach future first sergeants.
What was once a three-week in-residence course is now four weeks of distance learning followed by two weeks at the academy, which is located on Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Ala.
“Blended learning offers the academy and Airmen much more flexibility,” said Chief Master Sgt. Emmette Bush Jr., academy commandant. “The students get a large component of the curriculum online before they get here. Those building blocks are put to use during later lessons when students are in the classroom for their resident time.”
The academy graduates about 500 first sergeants annually and is part of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. The online curriculum includes subject areas such as administration, human resource management, maintenance of discipline and readiness.
In addition, under the previous curriculum, academy instructors traveled to various bases to conduct seminars as additional learning opportunities. Blended learning, however, replaces the need for instructors to go on temporary duty to conduct the seminars, while still maintaining the number of graduates.
Developmental education application windows open
Eligible active duty officers and civilians are now able to apply for intermediate and senior developmental education opportunities, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.
Officer applications are due to AFPC April 5, and civilian nominations are due May 1, said George McKey, AFPC officer developmental education branch.
A variety of developmental opportunities exist for those interested in continued growth and leadership, he said.
Intermediate programs include the Air Command and Staff College, Air Force Institute of Technology, international services program opportunities, and a variety of fellowship and internship programs. Senior programs include Air Force and defense fellowships, Army War College, Air Command and Staff College with an Air War College follow-on, international services senior development program opportunities, and more.
Requirements and eligibility vary depending on the program, and submission requirements differ for officers and civilians, so applicants should carefully review the program guide before preparing application documents.
Officers apply for developmental education using the AFPC secure web-based 3849 form, which is accessible via the Air Force Portal or the myPers website. Eligible officers and their senior raters will have access to the form through April 4.
Congress reviews reserve forces equipment needs
Lt. Gen. James Jackson, chief of Air Force Reserve, joined other Reserve and National Guard senior leaders on Capitol Hill March 19 to testify and answer questions.
The Air Force and Army Reserve component flag officers went before the House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee led by Chairman Michael Turner and Rep. John Garamendi.
Jackson, who also commands Air Force Reserve Command, and the other senior leaders spoke about the need to update and replace their combat-worn equipment. They were questioned about modernization and equipping strategies, new initiatives, program changes, and potential impacts from the Budget Control Act’s initial $487 billion in Defense Department cuts and Sequestration’s additional $600 billion in cuts to defense programs.
“The majority of our Citizen Airmen serves part-time, making us a highly efficient and effective force,” Jackson told the committee.
“The money from this committee is the primary way we upgrade our combat equipment and aircraft,” he said. “This funding has resulted in better targeting, self protection and communication capabilities for our combat forces in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq.”