The Air Force has put together a joint experience working group to evaluate joint assignments and make sure the service is recording them and weighing these assignments with the importance they deserve. This is being done to overcome a problem—both real and perceived—that USAF does not give airmen adequate credit for many joint assignments and does not take full advantage of the skills airmen learn in these positions.
In fact, Maj. Gen. Brian Killough, director of Strategic Plans on the Air Staff, told Air Force Magazine in an interview the working group is evaluating which joint force positions should be considered equivalent to command positions when it comes time to determine promotions and follow-on assignments.
Killough is task force lead for USAF’s “Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams” focus area. The three focus areas are topics Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein considers critical for a healthy Air Force, that need work, and that will be priorities for the duration of his term as Chief. The other two are “Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons,” and “Focusing on Multi-Domain Command and Control.”
Killough noted that the Air Force has “no lack of talent,” but the service must do a better job cultivating expertise for joint assignments and improved combat effectiveness.
Part of the problem is that Air Force personnel records today show job titles and only list specific Goldwater Nichols-mandated joint service records. This means some airmen pay a career penalty when they return from a joint assignment to South Korea or Djibouti, for example, because the experience doesn’t fit neatly into traditional Air Force paths.
“In the past, there have been airmen who have gone out into these joint assignments, and their core function has ‘forgotten about them’ or they have been disadvantaged when they came back,” he said.
Goldfein considers these assignments so important, Killough said, that the joint duty will be recognized and rewarded.