Revitalizing the Squadron: Robins Airmen share their concerns, successes

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
Airmen representing Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, as well as the rest of the base, had the chance to have their voices heard last week as a part of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s effort to revitalize Air Force squadrons.

More than 200 Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and active-duty Airmen, spouses, and civilian employees took part in one-on-one interviews and focus group sessions where they were able to share their thoughts on what their squadrons were doing right and what they could improve upon.

“Revitalizing squadrons as the core fighting unit in our Air Force will be the primary focus in my first year as your chief,” Goldfein said in an August 2016 letter to Airmen. “The squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force – our most essential team. We succeed or fail in our missions at the squadron level because that is where we develop, train and build Airmen.”

Goldfein tasked Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Davis, the director of manpower, organization and resources at Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C., with leading the effort to revitalize Air Force squadrons. Davis is now the special assistant to the CSAF for revitalizing Air Force squadrons.

Davis and his 27-person team were here for a field visit July 11 and 12 to find targeted ideas and solutions that can be applied across the Air Force.

“Air Force squadrons do a great job of accomplishing their missions, and they drive the best Air Force in the world,” Davis said. “But there is always room for improvement. We’re here to find out from the people who are in the field what we can do to make our Air Force better.”

Chief Master Sgt. Robert Stamper is the team chief for the squadron revitalization effort.

“We’re getting input from Airmen of all ranks and all components,” Stamper said. “Our goal is to identify best practices, remove red tape, empower leaders and better prepare squadron leadership teams.”

Capt. Jeff Kelly, assigned to the AFRC headquarters public affairs office, said he was happy to have the chance to share his thoughts with the field visit team.

"Airmen and civilians from across the Air Force have been given a chance to help steer the course of the Air Force of the future,” Kelly said. “It is always a good thing when the boss asks you to critique current practices and give suggestions on how your organization can improve. That is what General Goldfein is encouraging, and I'm honored to be a small part of that."

Soon after Goldfein made revitalizing squadrons his No. 1 focus area, Davis and his team looked at prior Air Force climate, readiness and inspector general data, along with Air Force-wide Defense Equal Opportunity Center surveys to determine initial areas to explore.

They then sent a survey to more than 80,000 total force Airmen – military and civilian – including all current and former squadron commanders. The survey results provided the basis for the third phase of their effort: field visits.

The team began visiting all major command headquarters and a base of each major command’s choice in February. To date, team members have visited 19 bases. They will conclude the field visit portion of their effort with trips to Shaw AFB, South Carolina; Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar; Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England; and Ramstein AB, Germany, early in August.

After the field visits are completed, the team will identify, analyze and implement solutions. “Quick wins” – improvements with immediate benefits – will be implemented as they are discovered. Subject-matter expert working groups will conduct analysis and generate recommendations based on ideas from the field visits. Solution and implementation will continue through 2020.

Davis said his team is hoping to get input from as many Airmen as possible before the analysis phase begins.

“We realize there are Airmen out there who may not have completed the survey or had a chance to take part in our focus groups, so we have set up a crowd sourcing website to allow Airmen to provide their ideas,” he said. “Specific challenges will be proposed, and Airmen can provide their solution ideas and vote on the ideas of others via this platform."

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