Air Force leaders on Wednesday outlined their vision for a new approach to enlisted force development, hoping to better prepare Airmen in their professional and personal lives.
The 28-point proposal lists goals — encompassing military training and education, leadership development, teamwork and mental toughness — that the service hopes to achieve by the end of 2023.
“The action plan serves to transform the development of forces from the limits of the industrial age to take advantage of the opportunities and capabilities of the modern digital age,” the document states. “We must look beyond the lines of Air Force specialty codes and elevate our mission through strength through command relationships, connections among our teams, and unified purpose.”
To begin, officials will create a baseline, or “blueprint,” database that lays out information about Air Force priorities, resources and careers so enlisted Airmen can more easily chart their course. The service hopes to offer this as soon as April.
“This document will serve as a living foundational resource that connects all enlisted development from entry to departure, including key concepts for connecting enlisted Airmen to the profession of arms,” the Air Force said in a statement. Thursday.
Leaders want to increase the caliber of NCOs and senior NCOs by taking a fresh look at how quickly Airmen are ready to serve as supervisors after Airman Leadership School. Similar initiatives reflect work already in progress, such as the promotion of professional experience in promotions and the creation of a writing guide to accompany the evolution of enlisted evaluations.
“Saying ‘you’ll understand’ to new supervisors cannot be our default approach,” Air Force Chief Master Sergeant JoAnne Bass said in the statement. “We need to be more deliberate – especially when it comes to people.”
Notably, the document formalizes a push to ditch paper-based promotion tests in favor of computer-based exams. The Air Force is targeting December 2023 for this change, especially after lost test batches highlighted the need for greater reliability.
The Air Force also wants to add another title to its library. In addition to the “little blue book” of Air Force values and the “little brown book” of enlisted organizational structure—two basic elements of Airman training—the service aims to publish the “purple book.” ” in June.
As its name suggests, the Purple Book would discuss the joint force’s military capabilities and how the Air Force fits into the larger DoD picture. The Air Force has fought for a bigger role in the joint community for years, especially after former Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein made it a priority in 2016. .
Several items on the to-do list involve educating the force about modern threats, the difference between competing with other countries and fighting them, and the role of the digital realm in warfare. Reforms would improve the content of this training as well as the overall quality of career development programs.
Leaders want Airmen to improve their financial literacy and also prioritize physical and mental well-being. One of the planned goals for April is to push units to spend more time together to build relationships and strengthen team unity, as frequent suicides continue to plague units across the force.
Officials plan to send Airmen a quarterly newsletter to track their progress toward each goal.
“Airmen will need to be prepared to overcome the speed and complexity of the threats we face around the world every day,” Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. said in the statement. “This plan is designed to do just that.”
Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as a senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, The Frederick News-Post (Md.), The Washington Post, and others. .