Air Force Materiel Command leadership hosted a virtual town hall, May 3, providing insights on current command issues alongside a dose of trivia and career advice to an online audience exceeding 3,000.
The town hall was the last for AFMC Commander, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., and Patricia M. Young, Executive Director, prior to their upcoming transition this summer. The leaders, along with Chief Master Sgt. David A. Flosi, AFMC Command Chief, provided updates on topics ranging from COVID-19, vaccines and telework to professional development, digital transformation, force sizing, manpower, the current conflict in Ukraine and more.
Following a round of trivia highlighting AFMC history in honor of the 30-year command birthday this coming July, the event began with a discussion the current status of COVID-19 and vaccines, with the reminder from Bunch for all to be vigilant and “to practice common sense” and stay home when feeling ill. The leaders also addressed the future of telework, which became normalized during the pandemic.
“Telework is a management tool. It’s not a right, it’s an entitlement,” said Young. “It is a tool that we can use to work with our force and still meet mission needs. However, it is a commitment and agreement between the employee and the supervisor. Telework in a remote or any situation has a lot more responsibilities and commitment on behalf of the employee, so we want to make sure that supervisors understand and carefully assess each situation and employee’s capability independently. We have to make sure that all workers, supervisors and leaders are using the tool as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
On the recently-released Air Force Blueprint, Flosi took time to explain the importance of the document in guiding the development of the Airmen the service needs to meet current and future threats.
“While we’d done a good job inside our functional communities in developing a career path for Airmen, we hadn’t addressed what we need writ large from an institutional perspective,” said Flosi. “So we started with the foundational competencies that are shared across all types of service members and the Airman leadership qualities we desired. The Blueprint has waypoints for each tier of the enlisted force structure and the developmental and career path opportunities available from day one through transition.”
Leaders also took time to discuss force sizing, manpower, housing and pay issues as well as the expectations for the digital Air Force of the future. Bunch reiterated the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility activities, stressing the importance of leaders and Airmen having ongoing conversations and discussions on the ‘hard’ topics in order to drive change.
Bunch also took a moment to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine and its relevance to today’s Airman.
“Watch and learn. Listen to what you can and see how it applies to your every day job,” said Bunch. “There are a lot of lessons that we need to get out of this, and we can learn a lot right now, especially in terms of logistics. [Logistics] is really important, and that’s what wins wars.”
To close out the event, both Bunch and Young’s final town hall forum, the leaders offered career and life advice to AFMC Airmen for the future.
“It’s your career and yours to manage. You have to make the decisions that are right for you,” said Young. “The last six years have been amazing, and AFMC has a lot to be proud of. It’s our workforce that makes things happen.”
After thanking AFMC Airmen for their ongoing hard work and dedication to the Air Force mission, Bunch’s closing remarks touched on career, life and resiliency for all.
“Don’t run out of family before you run out of Air Force. You came into this with a family, and you have to take care of them,” said Bunch. “Also, look out for one another. Be the kind of Airmen who are looking out for one another. Be aware of who’s having issues, and check up on each other. Be that good wingman.”
Bunch ended with remarks on his time at AFMC and his reflections on the command mission.
“The last three years have been a blur, and I have learned so much from each and every one of you. When I took command, I said AFMC was the most important major command in the United States Air Force and that we do our wartime mission every day. There is nothing that I’ve encountered over the last three years that has changed my viewpoint on that in any way. Our Air force cannot be successful without what you do each and every day. It is an honor to have had the opportunity to serve and work for you all…so thank you.”
The town hall can be viewed at https://dod.teams.microsoft.us/l/meetup-join/19%3adod%3ameeting_2456e19963dd45d5a48e9369399a9743%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%228331b18d-2d87-48ef-a35f-ac8818ebf9b4%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22467836dc-6548-4833-a68f-c3c8aa9ac4f9%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d by internal AFMC audiences.