Cody gives enlisted perspective at AFA expo

(U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) — Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody outlined his top priorities for the enlisted force during the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 12.

Cody talked to those in attendance and focused on key areas such as enlisted development, resiliency for Airmen and their families, and advancing the force.

He talked about the anticipation over the new enlisted evaluation and promotion systems, and explained that it won’t change who gets promoted, rather the order in which they’re promoted.

“We’re getting after a lot of things our Airmen have been asking for and that creates some uncertainty,” Cody said. “Because they knew where they fell before – where everybody else fell. Now, people are going to kind of fall in a little different order.”

Cody also spoke to his vision of the developmental pyramid, which Airmen should see as a model for career progression. The different layers and sides of the pyramid represent different stages or opportunities in an Airman’s career, and serve as stepping stones to progress higher.

That progression doesn’t come without resiliency, something Cody said is the “critical link” for Airmen and their families.

“You just can’t care enough – resiliency is not a program, (it’s) a core strength,” Cody said.

One of the ways the Air Force is instilling good resiliency practices is by starting from square one.

“We’re doing a lot as we move forward to kind of build that resiliency from the ground up,” Cody said. “So what better place for us to look at this (than basic military training).”

Cody said the first group of Airmen that will go through the Capstone Week just recently arrived at basic military training (BMT). After seven and a half weeks of intense and rapid training, and being transformed from trainees to Airmen, they will attend a final week where they can decompress and consider what it means to be an Airman.

The week is set aside to focus on building character skills, “that are going to be essential,” for those Airmen to succeed, Cody said.

Cody said it’s a time “to understand what they’re a part of, to really internalize those core values (and) to help them understand that character is important.”

Being resilient will allow Airmen to not only bounce back but to also be innovative and move the force forward.

Cody said we “have always been an Air Force of innovative Airmen.” He said today’s Airmen are more innovative than ever, mainly because the Airmen joining today are smarter than ever.

He said the key to continue being an innovative Air Force is for leadership to ensure they’re not stifling those Airmen with good ideas. Rather they need to take the time, listen and be supportive, because that’s the only way we’re going to continue to move forward.