More than 40 Air Force senior enlisted leaders and subject matter experts met at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., April 4-5 to perform an extensive review of all facets of enlisted professional military education during the 2017 EPME Triennial Review.
“We reviewed every level of EPME provided to our enlisted Airmen, from policy to content to delivery,” said Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the chief of Air Force Enlisted Developmental Education. “This forum discussed in great length the educational component of the continuum of learning as well as the other components, training and experience, and how we can maximize leader development to build strong, resilient Airmen.”
The intent of the two-day review was to examine the state of enlisted education and the changes implemented since the last review while identifying target areas of improvement. Additional time was dedicated to analyzing issues associated with effectively executing the continuum of learning.
“The triennial review is critical to the evaluation of EPME’s alignment with Air Force priorities and force development strategies,” said Russell Frasz, the Air Force director of force development. “We must ensure our Airmen are developed and ready to meet future mission challenges in joint, coalition and multi-domain environments.”
Working groups were formed following the triennial review, tasked with providing the Air Force’s policy and decision makers with proposed courses of action. The groups will develop plans of action for possible changes, including when in an Airman’s career education should be delivered, potential content delivery models, and how to smoothly transition any potential changes into currently existing EPME frameworks.
The EPME triennial review provided the perfect forum for Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright to address training, which he established in February as one of his three key focus areas.
“From day one, one of my objectives within this focus area has been to ensure timely, focused and operationally relevant training solutions at all levels,” Wright said. “We need to work toward eliminating redundant, ineffective or superfluous training.”
Members of the triennial review process also focused on ways to align EPME with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein’s focus area of revitalizing squadrons. Wright said that in order to maximize a squadron commander’s effectiveness and revitalize the squadron as a place where warfighting excellence is fostered, the Air Force needs well-trained, motivated and professional enlisted corps.
“Airmen have spoken and we’re listening,” Wright said. “They have been clear that they want professional education and development, but they don’t believe the way the current content is being delivered, especially through the existing distance learning framework, is developing them in ways they value or find meaningful. We’re keeping that feedback in the forefront of our minds as we move forward developing our (course of actions).”
The working groups are expected to move quickly, developing suggested COAs over the next few months This will allow senior enlisted leaders time to package actionable items for delivery to decision makers following the next enlisted force development panel meeting in the fall.