Military News

Monday, September 14, 2015

Creech Airmen participate in CPIP to improve the RPA enterprise

by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/11/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- Creech Airmen and families were the first to participate in the initial stage of Air Combat Command's new Culture and Process Improvement Program here, Sept. 10 and 11, 2015.

The CPIP teams will visit 12 Air Force active duty, Reserve and National Guard bases and was established to target and develop methods of improvement for concerns identified by Airmen and family members in the MQ-1/9 career fields.

"It's important for our Airmen to take advantage of this opportunity to be heard," said Col. Case Cunningham, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "The CPIP is an avenue for our Airmen to effect change. This program is a priority for ACC leadership to address the challenges and stressors of the RPA enterprise."

The program began by gathering interviews from within the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise to include Airmen from operations, operations support, maintenance, and mission support functions.

It also included sending surveys to 3,366 Airmen, both officer and enlisted, to help identify concerns and issues in the MQ-1/9 community.

"We're seeing problems in the MQ-1/9 community at both the major command and base levels that can be solved quickly," said U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Jackson, C2ISR Operations division chief and CPIP officer in charge.  "Airmen in this career field are being exhausted with no end in sight; we want to fix this."

In addition to surveying and interviewing Airmen and their families, the CPIP team created a Facebook page and a blog in hopes of expanding to a wider audience, according to Jackson.

The Facebook page will stay updated throughout the program and provide an opportunity for 24-hour access to the CPIP team.  The blog will also be available to provide program updates and provide open and anonymous responses.

"This isn't about fixing chow halls, gyms, or the other base amenities that have been looked at before," explained Jackson.  "We want to provide the MQ-1/9 community the same level of holistic quality of life and professional development as other weapon systems, and this is a step toward it."

The approach of the program is to focus on fixing smaller problems fast and setting long-term strategic goals to improve the more complex, deep-seated problems of Airmen through the process.

One Creech Airman offered some important advice to others in the RPA career field as the team prepares to visit the remaining locations.

"Be frank, open and honest; this is for improvement and it is non-retributional," said Capt. Benjamin, 432nd Wing/432nd air Expeditionary Wing flight safety officer, MQ-1B Predator evaluator pilot. "Work small to big, take what will help immediately and move outward to the greater goal of retainability."

He said no concern was too big or too small to be addressed.

"Everything is on the table; don't [fail to] mention something because you think it is not attainable. Use emotion to describe the issues," said Benjamin.

Airmen and families unable to attend a CPIP interview can send their input to  Concerns and comments emailed and discussed during interviews are completely un-attributable.

Following Creech AFB, the team visits are as follows:

- March Air Reserve Base, California (Sept. 13)
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona (Sept. 13)
- Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico (Sept. 15-16)
- Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas (Sept. 15)
- Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri (Sept. 17)
- Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico (Sept. 18-19)
- Berry Field Air National Guard Base, Tennessee (Sept. 19)
- Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (Sept. 21)
- Springfield Municipal Airport, Ohio (Sept. 21)
- Fargo Air National Guard Base, North Dakota (Sept. 23)
- Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, New York (Sept. 23)

Once CPIP teams leave each base, the findings and recommended solutions will be developed by peer-selected MQ-1/9 members that are part of the CPIP team.

The members will then present the CPIP's recommendations for improvement to Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of ACC.

"These Airmen deserve an opportunity to have personal and professional development, lifestyles, work environments and other benefits just like any other Airman," Jackson said.  "There needs to be a constant problem-solving goal."

The CPIP's mission is to collect as much honest feedback as possible.  Airmen and their families are being presented with the ability to be heard and tell the Air Force both what's bothering them and any recommendations they may have to improve issues.

"It's well-intentioned, but it's only as effective as the results," said Benjamin. "This program will be relevant if its results are heartfelt by those that are outside the community."

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