Figuring out the Work, Life Balance

Despite the Air Force’s ongoing “do more with less” mentality, senior leaders are doing their best to “figure out the right balance” between work and family life, said CMSAF James Cody in response to a question during the senior leadership panel at ASC16 on Wednesday. The Air Force has seen a rise in suicide rates and increased mental health issues, which point to an overworked force. When will “do more with less” stop? asked the individual. Cody admitted that leaders at every level have to acknowledge the issue, but that it has to be put in perspective. “We’re the smallest air force we’ve ever been,” he said, but airmen today are putting in the same 12 hour shifts airmen 30 years ago put in. “Heck yeah, we do a lot more today,” he said, “but we have a lot more assets at our fingertips to be able to do a lot more.” He argued that the discussion really is about what is reasonable and what is sustainable. “It’s a little bit unfair to just sit there and [ask] when does it stop,” he said. “It stops when the nation tells us … to stop.” Senior leaders “don’t just sit up in the Air Staff and think about new things to have people in the field do,” he said. “Quite the contrary. We try to balance that workload based on the requirements.”