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Unmasking advanced education for promotions has always seemed like a bad idea to me. I finally decided to write an op-ed on the subject and it got picked up by the Baltimore Sun. I am wondering if anyone really thinks this policy is good for the Air Force and why it has not been changed if almost everyone I know thinks it's an abomination. Here is the article.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-air-force-degrees-20140204,0,2245525.story

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This attitude is just as bad as the "get it done or else" attitude. Maybe he wants to do the master's to further himself and his knowledge, not to check the box? I hate to burst everyone's bubble, bu

You guys are so predictable. Yes I knew every one of those reactions and comments were coming, but I still felt it was worth saying. If only there were a mighty pilot humble enough to admit that flyin

Reporters are so fucking stupid.

In his defense, it's about time a CGO came out (STS) and said it in public, because his "leadership" probably doesn't give a damn. I applaud him for having the balls to use his real name and stating something that many of us agree with.

He's the opposite of Col (s) Tater Tots.

Edited by PanchBarnes
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This is from Tony Carr's article back in January. Good read. Gen Welsh needs more airmen to speak up (in a respectful way of course) about what's wrong with the AF.

The commentator's bio is here: http://www.grandforks.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?bioID=14412

http://www.jqpublic-blog.com/?p=641#comments

Don Shaffer | January 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Reply

Anonymous –
On the process perspective – all I can tell you is from my experience having gone through it numerous times – that is the way it works.

Now anyone can argue all day that the way the candidates get on the command list in the first place is far from perfect and I would agree. Is the system perfect? Not by a long shot. Do some of the “wrong folks” get past the screen? Yes they do. Are there competent leaders who don’t make the cut? Absolutely. But it’s not for lack of effort on the part of the Wing CCs. Trust me – you don’t want an incompetent buffoon running one of your squadrons – or groups for that matter. It just makes your life a living hell. You don’t have time as a Wing CC to be watching over every move a squadron commander makes. It’s their job to #1 get the mission done & #2 take care of their people. You have to trust them. If you don’t trust them you HAVE TO FIRE THEM. And that is no fun.

On square filling (making the grade) – I agree 1,000 percent. We place far too much emphasis on meaningless squares and less on actual mission effectiveness (and LEADERSHIP ability).

Who gives a crap that you were a “DG” at a meaningless 6-week SOS course? Does that qualify you to command 170 airmen executing worldwide tactical airlift and combat airdrop? How about that Masters degree in aviation science from ERAU? Being a Sq/Gp/Wg Exec?

Why do we make our CGOs do SOS in correspondence before they can go in residence? I recently recommended to a very senior level GO that we mask not only the Masters but also the method of PME completion – and then eliminate SOS in residence entirely. Make the board READ the package instead of just scrolling down the surf checking off items.

Next up get rid of BPZ promotions – yeah I’m one of those – but they become perpetual almost by default. And everyone knows it.

Here’s an earth shattering idea – why don’t we base the command selection criteria on how well you perform as a leader – under pressure?

But the real question is how do you quantify that into a process that allows the AF enterprise to effectively? Also, how do you do it in such a way that someone – a Wing CC – who’s never served with you, doesn’t know you, doesn’t know how effectively you can lead will know that you are the right guy/gal to hire as a new Sq/CC?

Can we come up with that process? I’m not so sure.

I’m fairly certain I’m the only former Wing/CC willing to stick his neck out and take the shots on this blog and so be it. I’ll be a civilian soon enough. I like what Tony writes – even if I don’t always agree with it 100%. I usually weigh in on the opposing side – but not always. Tony knows it too – but I respect what he writes. It’s always thought provoking.

I’ve been through the command track and I’m very familiar with all the ills our “leadership development” system has. And right now I have the an uncommon opportunity to work personally with our current Chief every day. I would say I think I know him – and what he thinks about leadership pretty well. So at the risk of being called a boot-licking conformist by another anonymous poster you have my take. And I am more than willing to give you the other side of the argument.

This place is like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Every thread leads back to what's wrong with the AF.

Edited by PanchBarnes
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This place is like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Every thread leads back to what's wrong with the AF.

Take a group of relatively smart and motivated people, shove them into a bureaucracy like the DoD, and they'll figure out where the issues are.

This place just gives people an unofficial place to vent that frustration.

(Do I get the "Capt. Obvious Award" for saying that?)

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This is from Tony Carr's article back in January. Good read. Gen Welsh needs more airmen to speak up (in a respectful way of course) about what's wrong with the AF.

The commentator's bio is here: http://www.grandforks.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?bioID=14412

http://www.jqpublic-blog.com/?p=641#comments

Don Shaffer | January 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Reply

Anonymous –

On the process perspective – all I can tell you is from my experience having gone through it numerous times – that is the way it works.

Now anyone can argue all day that the way the candidates get on the command list in the first place is far from perfect and I would agree. Is the system perfect? Not by a long shot. Do some of the “wrong folks” get past the screen? Yes they do. Are there competent leaders who don’t make the cut? Absolutely. But it’s not for lack of effort on the part of the Wing CCs. Trust me – you don’t want an incompetent buffoon running one of your squadrons – or groups for that matter. It just makes your life a living hell. You don’t have time as a Wing CC to be watching over every move a squadron commander makes. It’s their job to #1 get the mission done & #2 take care of their people. You have to trust them. If you don’t trust them you HAVE TO FIRE THEM. And that is no fun.

On square filling (making the grade) – I agree 1,000 percent. We place far too much emphasis on meaningless squares and less on actual mission effectiveness (and LEADERSHIP ability).

Who gives a crap that you were a “DG” at a meaningless 6-week SOS course? Does that qualify you to command 170 airmen executing worldwide tactical airlift and combat airdrop? How about that Masters degree in aviation science from ERAU? Being a Sq/Gp/Wg Exec?

Why do we make our CGOs do SOS in correspondence before they can go in residence? I recently recommended to a very senior level GO that we mask not only the Masters but also the method of PME completion – and then eliminate SOS in residence entirely. Make the board READ the package instead of just scrolling down the surf checking off items.

Next up get rid of BPZ promotions – yeah I’m one of those – but they become perpetual almost by default. And everyone knows it.

Here’s an earth shattering idea – why don’t we base the command selection criteria on how well you perform as a leader – under pressure?

But the real question is how do you quantify that into a process that allows the AF enterprise to effectively? Also, how do you do it in such a way that someone – a Wing CC – who’s never served with you, doesn’t know you, doesn’t know how effectively you can lead will know that you are the right guy/gal to hire as a new Sq/CC?

Can we come up with that process? I’m not so sure.

I’m fairly certain I’m the only former Wing/CC willing to stick his neck out and take the shots on this blog and so be it. I’ll be a civilian soon enough. I like what Tony writes – even if I don’t always agree with it 100%. I usually weigh in on the opposing side – but not always. Tony knows it too – but I respect what he writes. It’s always thought provoking.

I’ve been through the command track and I’m very familiar with all the ills our “leadership development” system has. And right now I have the an uncommon opportunity to work personally with our current Chief every day. I would say I think I know him – and what he thinks about leadership pretty well. So at the risk of being called a boot-licking conformist by another anonymous poster you have my take. And I am more than willing to give you the other side of the argument.

Like everyone who posts on here, throughout my career I have worked for so terrible Commanders and I've worked for some great Commanders; Don Shaffer was one of the great ones! That guy has some balls and was never shy about taking on anyone (even his bosses) when he was in the right and standing up for his guys... we most definitely need more like him. I'll tell you what... man, was it fun/entertaining to watch that guy pick a fight!

Edited by Rusty Pipes
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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140227/CAREERS03/302270013/Welsh-Master-s-degree-required-soon-colonels

Welsh: Master's degree required soon for colonels

ORLANDO, FLA. — Officers hoping to make major, lieutenant colonel or colonel may soon have to head back to school.

The Air Force is planning to tighten its education requirements for many officers to receive or be considered for promotion, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Feb. 20 at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium here.

Welsh said the Air Force is planning to require lieutenant colonels to have a master’s degree before they can receive promotion to colonel.

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There was a much better article published in the ASPJ in 2011 that talked about the AAD problem...

Just so it's still out there in circulation, and so everyone takes the AAD requirement for exactly what it's worth...

http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/2011/2011-4/2011_4_07_switzer.pdf

From the article, I agree - that it's little more than a demonstration of commitment, a signal... But I'm watching the Army system everyday, and it ain't all it's cracked up to be by the author either. In the grander scheme, I think Welsh is on track with his new policy, and oh by the way, is paving the way for the elimination of TA for officers, for what it's worth. Judge for yourselves if that's good or bad... He needs to give it teeth and sticking power, or we are living another Jumper-Mosley repeat performance - don't get fooled twice.

Don't fight the rules gents, fight the fight.

Chuck

Edited for fat fingers on a iPad...

Edited by Chuck17
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Welsh said, “Now, there’s no requirement for a masters degree at any rank. Everybody thinks there’s one, and a lot of people think it’s at major. That’s crazy.”

.........

More than 98 percent of the Air Force’s 9,916 lieutenant colonels — or 9,760 O-5s — already have master’s degrees

Uhhh?

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I like what the Chief is (hopefully) doing WRT practice bleeding and MA foolishness. If he puts his very clear thoughts into written policy we'll all be better off for it.

But it's kind of offensive, hilarious and sad all at the same time for him to seem all incredulous about the entire situation. If the AF's treatment of these issues is "crazy," then sir, you are Captain of the Crazy Ship and we're all waiting for you to turn the wheel.

Gen. Welsh has served an incredible 38 years in the AF and has been a senior leader for 20 of those years (i.e. O-6 or above). Was the evolution of this nonsense over the course of his career not apparent during that time??

Boss, it sounds like you "get it," like I said, we're waiting and counting on you to fix it sooner rather than later.

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  • 3 months later...

Saw this on John Q Public's fb this morning, anyone out there more important than me that can vouch for this?

From: Welsh, Mark A III GEN USAF AF-CC (US)

Sent: Sunday, June 15, 2014 3:59 PM
Subject: What We Value

Commanders, DT Chairs, and Functional Managers,

As you are well aware, our Air Force is extremely busy, and each officer’s time is extremely valuable. We ask a lot of all Airmen, both personally and professionally, and we’re all acutely aware of their sacrifices. For some time now, Senior Leaders have been assessing the perceived requirements for officer professional development, especially in terms of Developmental Education (DE) and Advanced Academic Degrees (AAD). Most have realized that we are driving our Airmen to unnecessarily invest more of their precious personal time than necessary to meet arbitrary requirements.

I’d like to share with you several changes Secretary James and I are implementing with the hope that it proves useful in communicating these changes to your Airmen. In no uncertain terms, we must make “What We Value” clear to our raters, senior raters, DTs, MLRs and promotion boards as they assess individuals for future leadership roles. We also need a common view of the level of DE and AADs expected for an officer to be promoted to each rank in our Air Force.
Developmental Education:

We expect officers to complete the level of DE appropriate for each grade as they meet promotion boards for the next highest rank; SOS for Major, IDE for Lt Col, SDE for Col. Completing the same level of DE twice is an inefficient use of time, so we must eliminate the perception that "selects" who complete DE by correspondence early are demonstrating more initiative and are more competitive for future opportunities and/or promotion. In the future, if officers are selected by a board to attend DE, they will not be eligible to enroll in distance learning (DL) versions of that level of DE, unless they have been designated to attend a DE program that requires the completion of a DL course to obtain full JPME program credit. Boards will be instructed to consider status as a "select" as having completed DE. Duty Qualification History Briefs (DQHBs) will clearly identify IDE and SDE “selects” and exclude any additional information regarding any previous DE completed via DL programs at the same level. As we transition, “selects” who are already enrolled in a DL course may continue in the program to completion or they may dis-enroll at any time. For those not identified as "selects", I encourage them to enroll and complete the appropriate DE via distance learning. In all cases, the DQHB will only include "select" or "complete".

We are also moving SOS in-residence attendance opportunity to 100%, with time-in-grade (TIG) as the primary factor in determining the timing for attendance. Only LAF Captains with at least 7 years of commissioned service, or LAF-J, HC, NC Captains with 3 years TIG, or MSC and BSC Captains with 2 years TIG will be eligible to enroll in SOS by DL.
Advanced Academic Degrees:

A master’s degree (or higher) is not expected until the colonel promotion selection board for Line of the Air Force officers. If getting advanced academic education makes you a better performer in your job, i.e. STEM and professional career fields, pursue the education and let the improved performance show in your performance reports; however, we do not expect you to have an advanced academic degree for promotion until eligible for Colonel. Similar to DE, AAD information on DQHBs will reflect what we value and advanced academic information will not be included until meeting a promotion board for Colonel.

We want to make sure our Airmen understand we value their time by offering them realistic expectations. It is essential that they understand the AF needs them to focus their efforts first and foremost on job performance, especially early in their careers, which will help them excel in our Air Force. We will continue to offer our officers a number of options to earn AADs during the course of their career; you should encourage your subordinate commanders to discuss the best timing for seeking those degrees with the officers they lead.

As you advise your subordinates on how to develop and use their off-duty time, we simply can’t afford multiple views of what’s expected, or most valued, for officer promotions. I expect you to stay true to what I have outlined in this note. Additionally, I need to reinforce the importance of following the guidance in AFI 36-2406 in writing PRFs. It will soon be updated to eliminate the use of any comments about AAD attendance or completion when writing PRFs. I expect you to adhere to this guidance. AF/A1 will soon provide additional details and timelines for the specific policy and process changes we’ll make to formalize these decisions.
I hope this provides clarity on where we’re headed as we continue to identify and act upon “What We Value” in our Air Force. Official guidance will be forthcoming through the A-1 chain. As always, thanks for all you do to lead our magnificent team!

r/mark

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It's legit. The What We Value memo has been in draft status for quite a while.. it has all the pieces I was told it would when I started asking questions after catching wind of it.

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