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.
New resources promote fitness culture
To help improve Total Force fitness levels, Air Force Personnel Center officials are fielding new fitness resources accessible online, in person or on DVD.
These resources, including the Operational Fitness Program, Xtreme Wednesday Workouts, the Air Force Fitness DVDs and the Fitness on Request kiosks are available to all Total Force Airmen, retirees and families, through base Fitness and Sports Centers and unit physical training leaders.
The Operational Fitness Program provides detailed exercise plans for individuals of all fitness levels and is easily accessible on www.usafservices.com.
“The goal of the program is to help maintain resilient Airmen and encourage healthy lifestyles for our Air Force communities at large,” said Scott Nunnelly, the AFPC fitness program manager. “While the program isn’t mandatory, it provides a great baseline for people to maintain their fitness throughout the year.”
AFPC officials reached out to installation fitness and sports managers as well as exercise physiologists for their feedback to help develop the workout plans. Currently, the program offers detailed workouts for three levels of fitness:
Level One: Three bi-weekly routines that progressively become more difficult. The workouts build upon endurance, strength and power over the course of six weeks. This level is geared toward Airmen who need help passing their fitness test or those new to fitness.
DEERS streamlined for better efficiency
A modification in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is expected to streamline personal records for better efficiency, said the director of the Defense Manpower Data Center.
In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Mary Dixon said information will now be entered into DEERS in personnel offices rather than identification card offices.
DEERS is used for benefits determination in the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. It includes active-duty service members, active reservists, retirees, and certain civilians and contractors, as well as members of the Coast Guard, Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The system comprises 44 million people, Dixon said.
Family members can continue to use the identification card office to change their vital information, Dixon added, and others will be referred to their personnel office when the change takes effect, expected to be by the end of this month.
The change is expected to increase accuracy of records, Dixon said, noting that any time data is moved around, there’s the possibility of typing mistakes.
Air Force restarts tuition assistance
The Air Force has officially restarted military tuition assistance, effective immediately.
The service restarted the program as a result of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013, where Congress called for the MTA program to continue in the current fiscal year.
As a result of the restart, the program will resume the same benefits as before. Airmen are eligible for up to $4,500 per fiscal year and a maximum of $250 per semester hour or quarter hour equivalent to cover tuition and allowable fees. Military tuition assistance is not available retroactively to cover courses taken and paid for using any other funding source during the suspension of military tuition assistance.
“Military tuition assistance will be the same program Airmen are used to,” said Russell Frasz, the director of Force Development. “The same policies and procedures will be in place.”
With this change, current and future Airmen will be given another tool to develop professionally through advanced education, Frasz said.
“Voluntary education and military tuition assistance programs continue to be integral to the recruiting, retention and readiness of Airmen and contribute to institutional competencies,” said Kim Yates, the Air Force Voluntary Education chief. “In the long term, the Air Force will still be able to leverage the learning achieved by Airmen to ensure a dynamic, flexible force able to work in uncertain environments around the world. The will have the ability to think critically.”
‘Every dollar counts’ ushers in new savings culture
With budgets shrinking, Air Force leaders are calling on Airmen to share their best money-saving ideas through the Every Dollar Counts campaign.
In the wake of sequestration, the initiative marks a cultural shift that empowers Airmen to find and recommend areas for savings that may be used to support readiness needs, said Gen. Larry Spencer, Air Force vice chief of staff.
Beginning May 1, Airmen can submit their cost-reducing ideas via the Airmen Powered by Innovation websites while at home, the office or on a smart phone.
Both uniformed and civilian Air Force members can participate in the month-long open call for ideas and share their creative and efficient ways to save money and time.