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.
Humanitarian assignments bring Airmen close to home
When future Airmen begin their paperwork at a military entrance processing station, they are informed their assignments will largely be determined by “the needs of the Air Force.”
This need of an organization to fill job positions across the globe with qualified personnel often means Airmen will be stationed far away from their families.
For many, this is part of the allure of military life — yet when a family member back home falls gravely ill or dies, being away can be a burden on morale and effectiveness for Airmen.
At the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, a team of four NCOs and two civilian personnel specialists work to bring, or keep Airmen close to home during emergencies involving immediate family members — while still serving the needs of Air Force.
“We’re one of the few offices within AFPC that actually deals directly with people, families and faces,” said Lori Surgnier, the chief of the Humanitarian/Exceptional Family Members Program Assignments Branch at AFPC. “In the personnel world, you often only deal with numbers — that’s just the nature of the job. But for us, it’s all about the people. That’s how I like to operate with my team to help our families who really need it.”
Commission reviews AF ‘life-cycle’ manpower costs
With a shrinking defense budget increasingly consumed by manpower costs, the Air Force of the future may be determined by how much we can afford, according to the Air Force Reserve’s top officer. He stressed that finding how much an Airman’s career costs through their “life-cycle” of active and reserve service is important.
The National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force interviewed senior defense leaders past and present on Aug. 27, to review the “fully burdened life-cycle manpower costs” of active-duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen.
“The Air Force Reserve supports the Reserve Forces Policy Board findings that the cost of a reserve component member is about one-third that of their active component counterpart,” said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Air Force Reserve chief and Air Force Reserve Command commander.
Appointed by the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act, the commission is reviewing the Air Force’s structure to determine if and how it should be changed to meet future missions and funding challenges. The commission’s report and recommendations are due to the president by Feb. 1, 2014.
Air Force reminds Airmen to avoid hemp seed products
Recent news reports on the Air Force’s prohibition of a popular yogurt brand spotlighted a regulation, in effect since the late 1990s, aimed at ensuring military readiness.
Recently, military members were told to avoid a Chobani yogurt called “Blueberry Power Chobani Flip” because it contains hemp seeds and walnuts that can be mixed into the yogurt.
Chobani since stated they will remove the ingredient from this product, according to the Air Force Surgeon General office.
“The Air Force has a long-standing policy in place that prohibits military members from ingesting any product, regardless of manufacturer, that contains or is derived from hemp seed or hemp seed oil,” said Capt. Adam Koudelka, Air Force Drug Testing Laboratory legal advisor, Air Force Medical Operations Agency, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Network launches to help military spouses find jobs
The Defense Department has broadened its reach to military spouses looking for jobs through its new Spouse Ambassador Network, an arm of the department’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, the program’s director said Aug. 27.
In its quest to educate, empower and mentor military spouses to encourage their pursuit of careers, the network is a collaboration of SECO’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership and various military support organizations, Meg O’Grady told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.
O’Grady called the ambassador effort “a network of networks,” noting that the partnership comprises 200 businesses that pledged to hire military spouses, and that participating organizations include the Military Officers Association of America, the National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“All of the organizations have chapters and members in communities where military spouses live,” she said. “We’ve brought together the organizations to expand their commitment to military spouses through the partnership.”