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Clark Griswold

What should the Air Force be if it is so broken now?

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So, this is a website they set up to take ideas on fixing the AF in line with CSAF's priorities to revitalize squadrons, etc.  It's not anonymous to submit an idea, but it is to vote.  Seems way better than the old Airmen Powered by Innovation garbage that was full of bureaucratic hurdles.

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Watched a presentation Kane did on his book "Bleeding Talent" at the Hudson Institute on ideas for reform.  

Disband AFPC, eliminate A1 as a separate directorate, get rid of Up or Out, decentralize the assignment systems and distribute HR functions mostly to Wings/Groups/Squadrons, reform the retirement system (presentation is 2013), tie promotions to some assignments / billets, etc...  

Not a bad list, keep fighting the good fight

 

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4 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

Watched a presentation Kane did on his book "Bleeding Talent" at the Hudson Institute on ideas for reform.  

Disband AFPC, eliminate A1 as a separate directorate, get rid of Up or Out, decentralize the assignment systems and distribute HR functions mostly to Wings/Groups/Squadrons, reform the retirement system (presentation is 2013), tie promotions to some assignments / billets, etc...  

Not a bad list, keep fighting the good fight

 

...reward your war fighters, separate rated promotion board, FEFs go into OPRs, primary job bullets only in award packages (no fucking “spouse of the year” 31 line award packages that some poor patch that’s an exec has to edit.)..

Bare essential additional duties, those that aren’t absorbed by civilians/CSSs; green dot/suicide prevention/etc. is a one time requirement in OTS, the academy, ROTC- (for your entire career.)  <Those are some ways to retain talent.

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6 hours ago, dream big said:

...reward your war fighters, separate rated promotion board, FEFs go into OPRs, primary job bullets only in award packages (no fucking “spouse of the year” 31 line award packages that some poor patch that’s an exec has to edit.)..

Bare essential additional duties, those that aren’t absorbed by civilians/CSSs; green dot/suicide prevention/etc. is a one time requirement in OTS, the academy, ROTC- (for your entire career.)  <Those are some ways to retain talent.

2

I am not sure where the dam breaks but it must.  I suspect that a win in the assignment process (pushed to a market driven system where volunteers select and are hired by commanders) is the necessary first step.  That could be the first domino to end or massively reduce AFPC, distribute A1 functions to the and under the command of Wings & OGs, etc... the other necessary changes could come afterwards...

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In many ways the organization has been permanently changed by years of mindless bureaucracy.  Managers and number crunchers have been promoted in front of leaders and warriors which has chenged the core of the organization and what it values.  Despite protestations otherwise the "machine" continues to select and reward the "administrator" class in a self-licking iced cream cone of atrocious leaders.  There are exceptions, and some do thrive, but overall they are out-numbered by non-warrior yes men.

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In many ways the organization has been permanently changed by years of mindless bureaucracy.  Managers and number crunchers have been promoted in front of leaders and warriors which has chenged the core of the organization and what it values.  Despite protestations otherwise the "machine" continues to select and reward the "administrator" class in a self-licking iced cream cone of atrocious leaders.  There are exceptions, and some do thrive, but overall they are out-numbered by non-warrior yes men.

Agreed.  The current plight of the AF reminds me of the Upton Sinclair quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." I am convinced that trying moral persuasion on the bureaucracy is impossible as individuals become dependent on it financially and in some ways spiritually (best word I can think of to describe the personal investment of one's prime working years and efforts) to change it as they have spent their working lives building it, maintaining it and defending it on that 20+ year career. 

I am no different as I just passed year 18 and at peer levels advocated for change, when given the chance by fate honestly spoken my opinion to superiors but not fallen on my sword and just left dropping the mic for effect. 

The AF is so ossified it will take an outside reformer with enough previous knowledge of its faults and enough authority to enact change but will have to reenter the institution leap frogging all the traps that preclude change.

I think AFA is too joined to the AF establishment to be an honest advocate for a reformer, what other organization could AF members, vets, etc... rally under that could seriously garner attention and advocate for a modern Billy Mitchell?

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

The AF is so ossified it will take an outside reformer with enough previous knowledge of its faults and enough authority to enact change but will have to reenter the institution leap frogging all the traps that preclude change.

I'd like to think this too.  But in reality it's going to take that reformer, and a War with lots of needless, bureaucratic deaths to get them through and actually do something.

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1 hour ago, 17D_guy said:

I'd like to think this too.  But in reality it's going to take that reformer, and a War with lots of needless, bureaucratic deaths to get them through and actually do something.

Maybe but waiting for that is not an option IMO.

Again, I'm not sure the AFA or a sub-organization under it is the right vehicle but if we (those who believe the AF needs a major course correction) do not organize under a banner, communicate clearly and prove to the public and decision makers the problem(s) with viable, feasible, executable reforms offered and defended, then nothing will change.  

I have no delusions of grandeur nor am I naive to think this would be a sprint to a quick victory, it would be a marathon uphill in a snowstorm but it has to start somewhere.

There's more than a few people on this forum I suspect that have access or contact with decision makers (HAF, Congress, Executive Administration, Media, Academia, etc...) and with a strategy, they could fight a good fight in the war for reform.  

Make a case in the public arena, publish articles, speak to interested media and win converts to the cause.  This already being done but it seems to be going nowhere, with the only change of note being the belated and reluctant retirement system reform, nothing is prodding the Air Staff to evolve, something besides JQP and this forum has got to put the status quo on the defensive.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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On 4/14/2017 at 4:16 PM, BFM this said:

This is already the business model at Classic Assoc TFI locations.  And at least in the ACC corner, it's a fucking abortion.

Its seemed to work better in UPT, FTU, and RPA communities.  Combat coded FS?  Yeah, not so much.

Active assoc also seems to work a lot better.

1-2 slots is a hell of a lot different than a classic assoc TFI.  I have one AD dude in my guard squadron, if each AD guy had an option for one or two (not 15 or 30) seasoned dudes, that would help a lot of folks.  

 

edit*  I didn't look at the dates posted; hadn't seen the thread.  Sorry for the delorean ride back to April.  

Edited by EvilEagle
i'm dumb
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33 minutes ago, EvilEagle said:

1-2 slots is a hell of a lot different than a classic assoc TFI.  I have one AD dude in my guard squadron, if each AD guy had an option for one or two (not 15 or 30) seasoned dudes, that would help a lot of folks.  

edit*  I didn't look at the dates posted; hadn't seen the thread.  Sorry for the delorean ride back to April.  

Meh - no worries.

_________________________

On the idea of a war forcing the institution back to mission focus / operations centric, I think that would apply if a modern, conventional war against a peer foe or a modestly capable foe was going to last for a few years harkening back to WWII / Korea.

Just my two cents but in a Taiwan Strait, NK, Baltic Sea / Eastern Ukraine, etc... conflict, hostilities would be over before the evolutionary pressures of a real war with a capable opponent have time to burn thru the institutional processes that create, promote and sustain toxic leaders.  

Given, that any realistically conceivable major fight would be fought and decided in a matter of weeks, it is even more imperative to have effective capable operationally focused and forged leaders in the Air Force to supply the UCCs with the forces necessary to win the fight and to be ready at anytime.  Choir preaching but you see the idea: there will not be enough time to get the guy who should not be there out of the way and bring up the real heavy hitter, against a foe like Russia or China, it will be a done deal by the time the reality demand signal is recognized and reacted to.

Edited by Clark Griswold

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23 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

Again, I'm not sure the AFA or a sub-organization under it is the right vehicle but if we (those who believe the AF needs a major course correction) do not organize under a banner, communicate clearly and prove to the public and decision makers the problem(s) with viable, feasible, executable reforms offered and defended, then nothing will change.  

As of late, AFA is definitely not the right vehicle. The organization itself hasn't done a great job with appealing to younger active duty service members, and consequently has a membership base either out of touch, following the party line, or both. The organization leadership who are retired O-6 and above could theoretically make a difference, but again, most follow along the official AF party line and focus most of their advocating on a large defense budget. I don't think I've ever seen them exert any influence to change the service, unfortunately. The defense contractor corporate support doesn't help either.

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37 minutes ago, Don Frank said:

As of late, AFA is definitely not the right vehicle. The organization itself hasn't done a great job with appealing to younger active duty service members, and consequently has a membership base either out of touch, following the party line, or both. The organization leadership who are retired O-6 and above could theoretically make a difference, but again, most follow along the official AF party line and focus most of their advocating on a large defense budget. I don't think I've ever seen them exert any influence to change the service, unfortunately. The defense contractor corporate support doesn't help either.

All it seems like they do is lobby for the defense contractors.  I don't think they give a shit about representing USAF service members. 

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1 hour ago, Don Frank said:

As of late, AFA is definitely not the right vehicle. The organization itself hasn't done a great job with appealing to younger active duty service members, and consequently has a membership base either out of touch, following the party line, or both. The organization leadership who are retired O-6 and above could theoretically make a difference, but again, most follow along the official AF party line and focus most of their advocating on a large defense budget. I don't think I've ever seen them exert any influence to change the service, unfortunately. The defense contractor corporate support doesn't help either.

Concur.  

For this to take hold and move forward, I don't know if the retirees pre mid-90's would believe how it has gotten or maybe they would, just don't know as I don't have a lot of contact with retirees from that time.  

What I am thinking of is a core group of retired officers and senior enlisted members coming together (virtually or IRL) and contributing what they think the "problem" is and then distilling that into a coherent message.  When we start to discuss this as current and former members, our experiences and perspectives tend to get us to focus on the specific problems in our operational / support communities.  For my two cents, we have to find the motifs running thru all those vignettes and opinions to come up with the overall updates required for the AF in this era.  

I say updates rather than fixes as I believe the AF is not absolutely fundamentally broken, just needs a major update to work effectively in the modern operational world, the current economy and culture and to fully realize the changes the latest revolutions in tech and evolutions in warfare have brought.  

Approaching the powers that be with the idea of updates I think extends a more palatable idea for change as we're really talking about convincing politicians, senior civilian officials and AF officers that what they have spent their careers in service to is not fundamentally bad but needs major update.

My hope is that if we assemble a large enough chorus for reform, it will be loud enough that it can not be ignored.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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On ‎12‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 9:11 PM, Clark Griswold said:

Concur.  

For this to take hold and move forward, I don't know if the retirees pre mid-90's would believe how it has gotten or maybe they would, just don't know as I don't have a lot of contact with retirees from that time.  

What I am thinking of is a core group of retired officers and senior enlisted members coming together (virtually or IRL) and contributing what they think the "problem" is and then distilling that into a coherent message.  When we start to discuss this as current and former members, our experiences and perspectives tend to get us to focus on the specific problems in our operational / support communities.  For my two cents, we have to find the motifs running thru all those vignettes and opinions to come up with the overall updates required for the AF in this era.  

I say updates rather than fixes as I believe the AF is not absolutely fundamentally broken, just needs a major update to work effectively in the modern operational world, the current economy and culture and to fully realize the changes the latest revolutions in tech and evolutions in warfare have brought.  

Approaching the powers that be with the idea of updates I think extends a more palatable idea for change as we're really talking about convincing politicians, senior civilian officials and AF officers that what they have spent their careers in service to is not fundamentally bad but needs major update.

My hope is that if we assemble a large enough chorus for reform, it will be loud enough that it can not be ignored.

I'm in. Some spitballin':

1.) Someone internet smart needs to set up the infrastructure. I'm thinking closed forum. Need to have a way to verify legitimacy/credentials. I think it should be limited to current and retired members with a cutoff based on how long someone's been out of the AF. 2 years? 5 years?

2.) Need someone with the proper academic / research background to administer and curate responses. That way they're taken seriously by the PTB.

3.) Could be a series of surveys or free-form responses. Curator assembles and distills data into coherent format.

I don't know about you guys, but I went off the top rope on a few of those "climate surveys" that get sent out. Go figure, the narrative that was put out by the AF after each one was, in effect, "slides are green!" while we all were staring at the dumpster fires. So I stopped taking them several years ago.

I think there would be huge traction behind a project like this. We all want the Air Force to pull out of this nose dive, but we know the current leadership can't do it. They're too entrenched in the faulty logic that got us here in the first place. I believe the only way to fix things is to get a coherent message directly from the O-5 and below croud to congress and the American public.

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Y’all remember the climate surveys they “lost”? Watching Grosso tell everyone that even though they were all missing there was “nothing unexpected” in said surveys made me realize they really didn’t care about fixing the problem.

 

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21 hours ago, Flaco said:

I'm in. Some spitballin':

1.) Someone internet smart needs to set up the infrastructure. I'm thinking closed forum. Need to have a way to verify legitimacy/credentials. I think it should be limited to current and retired members with a cutoff based on how long someone's been out of the AF. 2 years? 5 years?

2.) Need someone with the proper academic / research background to administer and curate responses. That way they're taken seriously by the PTB.

3.) Could be a series of surveys or free-form responses. Curator assembles and distills data into coherent format.

I don't know about you guys, but I went off the top rope on a few of those "climate surveys" that get sent out. Go figure, the narrative that was put out by the AF after each one was, in effect, "slides are green!" while we all were staring at the dumpster fires. So I stopped taking them several years ago.

I think there would be huge traction behind a project like this. We all want the Air Force to pull out of this nose dive, but we know the current leadership can't do it. They're too entrenched in the faulty logic that got us here in the first place. I believe the only way to fix things is to get a coherent message directly from the O-5 and below croud to congress and the American public.

Well that makes 2.

1) Agreed.  I also should have listed current members, recently retired would be a better descriptor of who out of the retiree community we would be looking for.  Not recently retired would still be definitely welcome but the recent experience and outlook on the modern AF is being sought specifically.

3) Agreed.  Reaching out to Kane of "Bleeding Talent" I think should be seriously considered.  I have never attended a course at AU but are there any instructors there who would join or help a serious public argument for reform?

3) The could work.  I think there would be several stand out examples that we could frame the distilled ideas around.  Like, Capt X was an outstanding officer / aircrew member / etc... but left as his career and personal goals could not be aligned because of this <idea> and identified by our detailed survey of officers & NCOs...

The sale would be in providing evidence that agreeing to updating policy x to something else will improve retention, save money, increase morale, increase operational effectiveness, etc... and then how to do it.  Basically, the reformers have to do all the work, present a plan(s), argue incessantly to the machine for change.

I am thinking AF specific but this might need to be an all branches movement as some of the updates would be statutorily enacted (elimination of up or out for example).  Would that be an unmanageable movement or strength in numbers?

Edited by Clark Griswold
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