People First


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.

Mental health disorders
have effective treatments

Mental health disorders are relatively common within civilian and military communities, but with early treatment, most mental health disorders can be effectively treated, and patients can return to mental wellness.

While invisible wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are often associated with military service, they are not the most common mental health problems Airmen face. Far more common are depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders and other issues that, despite getting less attention, have a serious effect on the health of Airmen.

“Mental health problems left unaddressed can be very disruptive to our lives,” said Col. Steven Pflanz, the director of psychological health at the Air Force Medical Support Agency. “They affect our quality of life day-to-day, and as they get worse, can impact our relationships with significant others, children, friends and work. That’s a significant cost.”

There is good news about treating these conditions, according to Pflanz.

AF proposes 1,600 personnel
increase to command support

The Air Force plans to increase commander support staff manning across the force by 1,600 by fiscal 2022 increasing total authorizations to more than 6,300.

Currently, the personnel increase calls for 170 officers, 469 enlisted and 961 civilians with all civilian hires authorized for fiscal 2018.

The increase in CSS manning ties directly to the Air Force chief of staff’s first focus area — revitalizing squadrons. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein announced this focus area within the first month of his tenure, and appointed Brig. Gen. Stephen Davis, the director of Air Force manpower, organization and resources, as lead of this initiative.

“Squadrons are the core unit of the Air Force,” Davis said. “We must ensure they have the support required to accomplish the mission and support their Airmen. This is one step of many we plan to take to help revitalize Air Force squadrons.”

One of the first milestones of revitalizing squadrons was the reduction of additional duties for Airmen across the Air Force.

AF presents fiscal
year 2018 budget

The Air Force presented its fiscal year 2018 president’s budget request May 23 following the Defense Department and sister services’ budget briefings.

Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, the Air Force budget director, said the request supports the Secretary of Defense’s commitment to strengthening the U.S. military by improving warfighting readiness and addressing critical shortfalls while building a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force.

The Air Force requested a top-line budget of $132.4 billion in Air Force-controlled funding that invests primarily in Airmen, readiness, nuclear deterrence operations, space and cyber capabilities, combat Air Forces and infrastructure.

This budget serves as a step forward in the Air Force’s readiness recovery. Martin said recovery will take years, and success requires relief of Budget Control Act caps coupled with predictable, sufficient and flexible budgets.

The budget supports a Total Force end-strength of 502,000 personnel, increasing the active force by 4,100 and the Guard and Reserves by 1,700.

For the Total Force, the budget supports:

• A 2.1 percent pay raise for active-duty Airmen and a 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian personnel.

• The addition of approximately 200 recruiters while sustaining more basic and technical training instructors who will support more than 29,000 enlisted accessions.

Aerospace physiology training
optimizes Airmen’s performance

Students with the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine students, routinely use an altitude hypobaric chamber at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which simulates a flight at 25,000 feet, as part of Initial Aerospace Physiological Training.

First Lt. Alex Medina, the U.S. Air Force Space, Missiles and Forces Intelligence Group executive officer, is one of those students. After 30 minutes of pre-breathing 100 percent oxygen he took his mask off and quickly felt the effect of lack of air due to the decrease in barometric pressure.

“The hypoxic effects began much quicker than I had anticipated and felt very similar to feeling overly intoxicated,” Medina said.

When there is a loss of cabin pressure, aircrew and passengers experience hypoxia — oxygen deprivation — which is the most dangerous aspect of flying at altitude, said Senior Master Sgt. Johal Mandeep, the USAFSAM Aerospace and Operational Physiology Division superintendent.