Military News

Monday, July 27, 2015

CMSAF touts 'One Air Force' during ANG enlisted call

by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

7/27/2015 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James A. Cody, shared his thoughts on the future of the force with Air National Guard Airmen during an enlisted call July 23 here.

During the discussion, Cody addressed the professional development of Airmen, diversity and possible changes in the way the Air Force integrates the active-duty and reserve components in the years ahead.

"This [discussion] is a great opportunity," said Cody. "It's important that we have a dialog so I can represent you in the right way and that means knowing what's on your mind, what concerns you have and what questions you have about what we're working on and hopefully I'll be able to give you a perspective on why we're doing things."

One of the key topics of discussion was ability of active-duty and reserve component Airmen to be more integrated along career paths. Traditionally, it has been possible but difficult to move among components throughout a career.

"We need to have this ability for Airmen to go between components," said Cody. "The seam that exists today needs to be smoothed out and there needs to be lots of gateways where our Airmen can move between them."

As part of the recently released Air Force Strategic Master Plan, the Human Capital strategy addresses recruiting, retaining and developing Airmen, as well as talent management, all with an eye toward the future that will demand increased diversity and inclusiveness to achieve collective innovative potential. It continues the emphasis on integrating components of the Air Force in an effective manner.

"To be in the most senior leadership positions in our Air Force in the future, you're going to have to have done real tangible time within the other components," said Cody. "You're going to have to have been an active-duty Airman who worked in the reserve component...worked with them and done the business at hand because we're one Air Force and if we don't have that depth of experience and knowledge we are not going to be as effective as we need to be as a force."

Cody referenced a number of senior enlisted leader positions currently opened for the best available Airmen to compete and shared the most recent success story.

"Chief Master Sgt. Danny Doucette is a great example, because he's the commandant of the First Sergeants Academy [at Maxwell, AFB, Alabama], the first time ever held by a reserve component Airman," said Cody. "Why is Chief Doucette the commandant? It has nothing to do with the fact that he's in the Air National Guard, but everything to do with him being the right chief at the right time to do that job. He's got the credibility, ability and training and he was the best candidate to take on that role."

Cody explained that through proper development the pool of qualified Airmen will be available, regardless of component and that he is encouraged about the future.

"It's something I'm very excited about and I think you should be excited about," said Cody. "This idea that we're being very deliberate about ensuring that we have a human capital strategy that encompasses every single one of us - not just one component and it has to be a human capital strategy that blends all of the diversity and strength we have in the force and that is representation of the four components."

Cody also fielded questions and addressed concerns from the audience about breaches in cyber security, Enlisted Performance Reports and proposed cuts to dual military member Basic Allowance for Housing and its effect on attracting and keeping quality Airmen.

"In more than 30 years of service I've never seen a more targeted approach to take money from Airmen ever," said Cody. "I've seen the growth slowed, because we just can't sustain the growth and compensation we've been doing the last 15 years. It's just not reasonable to think we can. We've tried to make minor modifications so that Airmen aren't having money taken out of their pocket, but the growth would slow over time. The idea of taking dual military couples and eliminating one of the BAH rates to a single rate, or if you happen to be a military member rooming with another member and losing 25 percent [of your BAH rate] is unconscionable in an all-volunteer professional force."

Cody also touched on cyber security in the wake of recent breaches and the new Enlisted Performance Report process. After finishing his talk, Cody thanked the crowd for what they do.

"I'm proud to serve with each and every one of you, said Cody. "I'm extremely proud of what you're doing every day. Despite what narratives may be out there or what others might say, don't let anyone define your service and your sacrifice; you define it by what you do every day. Every single day is a privilege to be an Airman in the United States Air Force and put this uniform on. We ask a lot out of you but I think you get a lot out of it or you wouldn't be here, what you do is meaningful and purposeful."

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