|Chief Of Staff: 'It's Time for a New Way Of Thinking|
Chief Of Staff: 'It's Time for a New Way Of Thinking'
Washington D.C. -- (AFPN) November 6, 2002 -- Saying "it's time for a new way of thinking," the Air Force's highest-ranking airman says significant change has already begun and more is on the horizon for how the Air Force will "focus on the unique development of every individual."
"We call it Force Development and it applies equally to all of us: officer, enlisted, and civilian, across all specialties in our Air Force," said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John P. Jumper.
The new personnel development concept will "focus on training, education and experience, especially how you are assigned to get that experience," Jumper said. "We intend to open the aperture on what is considered beneficial education and training experience."
For example most officers will no longer be required to have an advanced academic degree in order to be competitive for promotion to lieutenant colonel, the general said.
"Just like many of you, I too spent many hours in night school to earn a master's degree. Why? So I could get promoted," Jumper said.
Today there is a "career path choice" that encourages development of specialists with a deep perspective in a particular area, the general said. Up until now the focus was on competency skills in a single Air Force Specialty Code. Career development was often left to chance.
"Day after day you demonstrate that your expertise is our greatest asset, and I truly believe your continued training and development are our wisest investment," he said. "Our goal in implementing our new Force Development construct is to make that investment in all career fields and all ranks more deliberately than we do today."
Most importantly, he added, the new emphasis reflects a sincere approach by the Air Force to ensure airmen have time for other priorities such as family.
Each person's career development will be managed through professional development teams, officials said. Over the next six months the Air Force will redesign how the Air Force Personnel Center assigns people to schools and jobs. Rather than having assignment officers think about filling vacancies, there will be teams dedicated to "developing" individuals.
First up: some officers waiting for the fall announcement of Intermediate Service School attendees may get welcomed but unexpected news. Many majors on the ISS list will focus on packing their bags for traditional courses in Alabama, Rhode Island, Virginia or Kansas. Others, however, will be surprised to find out they are heading for a master's degree program through the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, Naval Post Graduate School in California or the Joint Military Intelligence College in the Washington, D.C., area.
"Our team reviewed every candidate's record and tried to send the right people to the right kind of development course, and not just to the cookie-cutter courses," said Lt. Gen. Richard "Tex" Brown, deputy chief of staff for personnel at the Pentagon. "There are some cases where it just makes more sense, for the officer and for the Air Force, to send these folks to get a different kind of master's degree than is offered at traditional PME. The new educational opportunities will be considered equally valuable to an officer's professional growth. This is the way of the future."
Jumper said there will not be one "set solution" for success in all cases.
"We will examine each individual based on credibility, depth of experience, breadth of exposure, and potential to serve the AF in higher positions of responsibility," the chief of staff said.
Changes affecting how airmen are assigned and other Force Development initiatives will be announced over the next several months, officials said.
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