CMSAF Bass’ High Priorities For Preserving Gifted Airmen, Half 2

Editor’s Word: That is the second of a two-part sequence about Chief Grasp Sergeant of the Air Power JoAnne Bass’ efforts to assist construct the Air Power of the long run. Half 1 is out there right here.

Chief Grasp Sergeant of the Air Power JoAnne S. Bass has made some large waves not too long ago, releasing a memo final month exhorting Airmen to recommit themselves to the service’s skilled requirements and posting a photograph on Fb final week outlining her high “Issues to Get After” to enhance life for enlisted personnel.

As Bass nears the fourth and certain final yr of her tenure as CMSAF, her checklist of priorities is lengthy. However six particularly had been highlighted in that Fb photograph:

  • Reforming developmental particular duties
  • Growing commissioning alternatives for enlisted Airmen
  • Retaining technical competencies
  • Organising continuation boards
  • Bettering the Air Power’s project insurance policies
  • Digitizing the Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) take a look at

In an unique interview with Air & Area Forces Journal, Bass stated she highlighted these six in hopes that “we are able to trigger some actually sturdy momentum and get after them, most likely faster than a number of the different ones.”

Now, as Bass prepares to place the ending touches on her legacy, “we have now to be intentionally centered on the power of the long run,” she stated.

On July 18, Chief Grasp Sergeant of the Air Power JoAnne S. Bass posted this picture on Fb of concepts to construct the long run Air Power. (Photograph by way of Fb, CMSAF JoAnne S. Bass)

Continuation Board

Bass needs Airmen to have extra causes to remain within the Air Power, however she additionally needs to ensure the fitting Airmen are staying within the Air Power. One methodology could possibly be a continuation board for some enlisted Airmen. Throughout the companies, continuation boards assist decide how lengthy a person officer can keep in uniform with out selling. Different branches preserve some type of this for some enlisted service members, however not the Air Power, Bass stated. This fall, the service will check out a continuation board pilot program for Airmen on the highest enlisted rank: chief grasp sergeant.

“Sporting this uniform is a privilege, it’s not a proper,” Bass stated.

The pilot will assist consider how the system would work with enlisted Airmen and whether or not it’d apply to decrease ranks.

“This isn’t like paperwork and it’s additionally not something disciplinary,” the chief defined. “It’s only a matter of evaluating whether or not or not continued service is the very best factor for that Airman and for the Air Power.”

Bass hopes this system will “maintain ourselves accountable as senior enlisted leaders to ensure that we’re offering our greatest to our Airmen and the Air Power.”

Task Working Group Suggestions

Final yr, Bass chartered an project working group the place Airmen throughout ranks and profession fields took a holistic take a look at the department’s insurance policies and processes for assigning Airmen to responsibility areas. The group got here up with suggestions to modernize the system.

“If we’re going to retain the expertise that we’d like for the power of the long run, it’s not due to insurance policies that had been created in 1993, once I got here in,” she stated. “We’ve bought to modernize the way in which we do assignments, and to a point we have now to modernize all individuals capabilities, so this is only one step in that course.”

The suggestions weren’t printed in an official Air Power announcement, however Bass shared just a few of them on the 2022 AFA Air, Area & Cyber Convention. They included giving base of choice to DSD Airmen, eradicating time-on-station necessities for expedited transfers, and guaranteeing service members coming back from a deployment have time to get well and reset earlier than shifting to a brand new project. Bass additionally talked about that the Air Power might use an project coverage for dual-military {couples} who serve in several parts, similar to Energetic Obligation and the Air Nationwide Guard.

“There might be joint partner suggestions in addition to what the way forward for base choice may appear to be,” she stated.

Bass didn’t have a particular timeline for when concrete steps is likely to be taken on implementing these suggestions, however she hoped to make “some constructive motion” later this fall.

Altering coverage takes time. When requested if she felt frustration over the tempo of change, Bass stated that the Air Power should “be actually cautious that we don’t permit the forms … or regardless of the problem is, hold us from with the ability to press ahead.”

Bass additionally talked about Air Power Chief of Employees Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s Motion Order B: Paperwork, calling on the service “to hurry up its decision-making progress.” 

“That was actually in an effort to assist us speed up these much-needed modifications to our power,” Bass stated.

dual military
U.S. Air Power Maj. Meagan Bowman, assistant director of operations and evaluator pilot for the KC-135 Stratotanker with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, and her husband, Maj. Woody Bowman, joint operational planner at U.S. Central Command, poses for a photograph on the flight line at MacDill Air Power Base, Florida, July 18, 2023. U.S. Air Power photograph by Senior Airman Lauren Cobin

WAPS Testing

The final precedence includes digitizing the Weighted Airman Promotion System, the standardized take a look at which helps the service determine Airmen worthy of promotion. Air Power leaders have pursued this aim for years, with Bass even saying in 2022 that “if we are able to’t get out of taking a No. 2 pencil into promotion assessments, one thing is incorrect.”

Digitizing WAPS ought to cut back frustration for Airmen and remove the opportunity of dropping paper assessments within the mail, which has been identified to occur. Although 2022 got here and went, Bass attributed the delay partly to not all areas throughout the department having the techniques in place to carry out digital WAPS testing. Now in 2023, Bass doesn’t see any friction factors that may hold the service from absolutely digitizing WAPS in 2024.

“We’re lastly going to maneuver into the twenty first century because it pertains to WAPS testing,” she stated.

Having began in 2020, Bass is nearing the tip of her time because the Air Power’s chief enlisted chief. The highlighted objects on her Fb put up had been simply six of many modifications that Bass hopes will assist enhance the lives of Airmen. When requested if she would need any explicit merchandise checked off, Bass stated “it could be all of them.”

“We’ll proceed to place the pedal to the metallic on each single factor,” she stated. “The essential takeaway is that high quality of life and high quality of service initiatives straight impression our skill to construct the power of the long run. That is all essential stuff that impacts recruitment and retention, and we owe our power the perfect.”