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Revitalizing the Air Force’s Squadrons

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Members of the 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, take part in a focus group orchestrated by the Air Force Chief of Staff to help give feedback on various areas to promote best practices and identify improvements, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. April 1, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Perkins, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. --

In the continuing efforts to help reshape and improve the U.S. Air Force and how it conducts business and responds to challenges, the Air Force Chief of Staff (CSAF), Gen. Dave Goldfein, appointed a team  to gather as much information and new ideas from Airmen as possible.

“I believe that it is at squadron level where we succeed or fail as an Air Force...It’s where Airmen are developed. It’s where Airmen and families thrive. It’s where training and innovation occurs. And I believe it’s where we make the most difference as leaders,” according to Goldfein.

The plan is being conducted in four phases. Phases one and two, were conducted by determining first what needed to be looked at using climate, readiness and inspection data followed by a retention survey sent out Air Force-wide to sixty-five thousand of its members, military and civilian. The survey results provided the basis for the third phase—field visits.

February through August 2017, the  teams will visit bases across the total force to conduct in-person interviews and focus groups to find targeted ideas and solutions that can be applied across the Air Force. Additionally, a web-based, crowd-sourced platform will allow Airmen across the Total Force to submit insights into challenges along with recommended solutions.

During the April Regular Scheduled Drill at the Portland Air National Guard Base, 142nd Airmen welcomed one of the teams conducting in person interviews and focus groups. Currently the 142nd is the only stand-alone Air Guard unit to have a field visit by the CSAF research teams, but Air National Guard members will be participating at all of the other scheduled locations.

Lt. Col. Meredith Page, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief, was an attendee of the main group session and shared her thoughts about it.

“I think the Guard is unique in that sixty percent of our base is made up of traditional Guardsmen, and that we incorporate a huge amount of civilian corporate culture into our military organization. By that blending and assimilating of the two, we have been able to solve problems and get things accomplished by the ingenuity of our diverse set of Airmen,” said Page.

As for Phase four of the plan, CSAF would like to have each squadron implement “Quick Wins”—improvements with immediate benefits—as they are discovered. Example: Reduction of annual training requirements. Furthermore, subject matter expert working groups will conduct analysis and generate recommendations based on ideas from the field visits. Solution and implementation tracking will continue through 2020.

 “It’s incredible that the all the ideas and feedback our airmen provided will be reviewed by Brigadier General Davis’ team.  Our Airmen were able to provide a unique perspective to the team as the sole Air National Guard base on the schedule, and it is encouraging that Air Force leadership sought our input as they work to make squadrons stronger and more effective,” said Page.