CMSAF Kaleth Wright discusses his "Taking care of Airmen from the ground up" during the Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 20, 2017. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya.
CMSAF Kaleth Wright offered some potential paths forward during ASC17 to take “as many things off your plate as possible,” so airmen have more time to take care of the mission, of each other, and of their families.
With specific regard to the enlisted evaluation system, he said he’s been working with senior leadership and the Air Force Personnel Center to reduce the impact enlisted performance reports have on schedules. “Essentially,” he said he’s aiming to “remove [EPRs] as a requirement just for A1Cs.”
“This will certainly remove a lot of the burden in the training environment … and certainly in the maintenance squadrons. I think this will help you be able to buy some time back,” he said, adding USAF has “a little more study to do on this one” but also that he believes “we’ll get there pretty soon.” Wright added he’s also trying to “hack away” at computer-based training requirements, noting the success of the Enlisted Professional Military Education for the 21st Century” policy (EPME 21), which USAF announced in late July.
Citing the service’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year awards, Wright said it requires a form including 27 lines (or specific achievements) from airmen to qualify. To garner that amount costs airmen time they don’t have.
“We’re going to reduce that down to about 16 lines, 12 in leadership and job performance and the other four in whole-airman concept,” Wright said, adding he’s digging into more ways to “reduce the number of awards [airmen] have” and “the number of lines that we require.”
While Wright called the above “small change,” he said it’ll add up to “buy time back” for the mission and for airmen. Fixing the many obstacles and constraints facing enlisted airmen won’t be easy, simple, or straightforward, he said, adding he’s asked supervisors across the force to search out unneeded evaluations, tests, and requirements.
As much he’d like to “throw a grenade” into USAF’s processes and systems and “start from the beginning,” Wright acknowledged it’s not so easy.
CSAF Gen. David Goldfein and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson “talk about taking swings with an ax at the bottom of the tree, but we understand we can’t cut the whole tree down at one time,” he said. “We can’t reform our entire system.”