The strategic plan: document translates reserve's vision into executable tasks.
Much more than a simple phrase, however, the words represent AFRC Commander Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley's overall vision of how the command will meet new challenges and embrace new opportunities in an era when the country is asking more of its Air Force Reservists, along with their families and civilian employers, on a daily basis.
As a companion to his new vision. General Bradley formally unveiled the AFRC Strategic Plan 2007-2009 during a senior leadership conference in February.
"Every day we call upon our Airmen to do more and give more--and their contributions are invaluable," General Bradley wrote in the new plan. "Last year I articulated my vision for providing the best mutual support to the Air Force and our joint partners--flying and fighting as an unrivaled wingman. We are now taking deliberate action through this strategic plan to realize that vision."
"The vision sets a clear direction for the command, identifies critical reserve component attributes, and ensures unity of effort as we allocate resources and implement change," said Brig. Gen. Neil Rohan, director of the Directorate of Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements at Headquarters AFRC, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "It defines our future at a time when the Air Force Reserve is looking toward a 'new horizon.'
"The new strategic plan takes this overall vision and translates it into actionable or executable tasks," General Rohan said. "It provides the vehicle to assure resources are best aligned to support these required tasks. And the plan creates a simple way for leadership to monitor performance of these tasks."
Essentially, what the strategic plan does is take the "aimpoints of an unrivaled wingman," which are identified in the vision document, and link them to various specific strategic objectives. The aimpoints are Operational in Peace and War, Combat Ready, Proactive Force Planning, Flexible in Participation, Clear Participation Expectations and Leveraged Community Connections.
The objectives, in turn, drive specific actions or tasks that are designed to achieve the strategic intent of the assigned aimpoint. The results of these efforts yield outputs in the form of products or services, which, when measured against associated targets and thresholds, define performance.
Performance levels that don't measure up to desired levels represent "gaps." When performance gaps are identified, senior leadership will get involved to assess what caused the problems and come up with solutions to eliminate the gaps. These solutions may result in the requirement to expend additional resources.
The method for translating the overall Air Force Reserve vision into a strategic plan with specific tasks for Reservists to perform on a day-to-day basis and measurable results is called "vision to task." The actual method AFRC senior leaders used to successfully achieve vision to task was a disciplined six-phase strategic planning and execution process that relied heavily upon the "balanced scorecard process."
This process specifically and purposefully links performance measurement to strategic objectives and, in turn, to the resource allocation process. Using this process, performance gaps are proactively addressed through the AFRC corporate governance structure, which oversees the various resource requests and resource allocation processes.
"This linkage assures leadership involvement in process improvement initiatives and associated efforts under Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century and simultaneously links initiatives designed to close strategic performance gaps to the strategic plan, internal execution processes and resource allocation process," said Col. Eric Sitrin, director of analyses, lessons learned and AFSO21 at Headquarters AFRC. "This is the first time in the command's history this firm linkage has been present."
"Our people are the foundation upon which the strategic plan is based," said Maj. Gen. Allan R. Poulin, AFRC vice commander. "Of the 23 objectives listed in the plan, 10 are specifically dedicated to supporting Reserve members, families, employers or communities.
"Take family support, for example," General Poulin said. "AFRC is committed to taking care of the family members of our Reservists. We have spelled that out in the strategic plan and have begun initiatives to improve our family support."
"We will never take for granted the role families play in enabling our members to serve," the strategic plan states. "With higher service expectations driving longer times away from home for Reservists, we will enhance the support available to families, emphasizing the support available through on-base agencies while also serving the families of personnel who do not live close to their unit."
Under the direction of General Bradley, the Air Force Inspection Agency and AFSO21 managers throughout the Air Force recently conducted a survey to identify administrative or support services and processes that may be causing stress for Airmen and their families. Taking the results from this survey, Air Force officials determined that support provided to family members of deployed Airmen is not standardized throughout the Air Force and family members of deployed Reservists or Guard members do not get adequate support.
Using the AFSO21 process, Air Force officials are currently addressing these two issues. In addition, AFRC has a host of programs already under way to improve family support. Among these:
* Airman and Family Readiness offices conduct pre-, during and post-deployment briefings for deploying Reservists and their families and make personal contacts with families of deployed members.
* Military OneSource, a resource contracted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, helps reach geographically diverse Reservists and families by offering information and resources on a multitude of topics 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Topics include deployment, education, elder care, finances, moving, parenting, recreation, tax preparation and transition. MOS can also provide a referral to in-person counseling. When there is a need, a consultant can refer a service member or eligible family member to a licensed professional counselor in the local community for six sessions per issue at no cost to the military or family member.
* The AFRC Airman and Family Readiness Office is working with East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to implement a 12-hour workshop series for Reserve and National Guard couples called Essential Life Skills for Military Families. Workshops are planned to be offered in each state by county cooperative extension programs.
* The Air Force Home Community Care program provides quality child care services for Air Force Reserve members during their primary unit training assembly weekend. Care is provided at no cost to Reservists for children age 2 weeks to 12 years in a state-licensed family child care home or an on-base Air Force licensed family child care home. The program is available at all active-duty installations with an FCC program and the following Reserve bases: March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station, Minn.; Niagara Falls IAP ARS, N.Y.; Pittsburgh 1AP ARS, Pa.; Portland ARS, Ore.; and Westover ARB, Mass.
* The Returning Home Care program provides 16 hours of free child care after deployments of 30 days or more. For activated or deployed members, Operational Military Child Care offers child care referral and fee assistance through the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and Department of Defense.
* Operation Purple Camps, offered through the National Military Family Association, are free summer camps for children whose parents are or will be deployed. The Youth of the Year program recognizes outstanding young people for their contributions to home, family, community, school and youth programs.
* Fit Factor is a Web-based program to encourage young people to have daily physical activity and make healthy nutrition choices. For AFRC, the program was piloted at Niagara Falls and expanded to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2007.
* Through community partnerships, many additional opportunities are available to the children of Reservists. Mission Youth Outreach provides a free year's membership in the local Boys and Girls Club of America for Reservists' children. The facilities, programs and activities provided by this national organization are designed to help young people reach their full potential and cope with the everyday pressures of unique family situations.
The 4-H partnership has established specific 4-H military liaisons in each state to help link military youngsters to local clubs. In addition, a 4-H youth specialist is assigned to AFRC headquarters to assist units and families with 4-H opportunities promoting leadership, citizenship and life skills.
"The strategic plan puts our people and their families first and recognizes that civilian employers and local communities play a critical role in enabling and supporting our members," General Rohan said. "The plan demands that we build and maintain strong mutual support between the Reserve and the employers and communities that directly impact our members' ability to participate.
"This total triad of support from family, employer and community is vital to obtain the high levels of volunteerism we rely upon. The newly issued plan clearly reflects leadership's commitment to providing the support required for each member to be an unrivaled wingman."
The new strategic plan is available for downloading and viewing on the AFRC limited access Web site at http://wwwmil.afrc.af.mil/Bradley/AFRC_strategic_plan_2007-2009.pdf. It's also available on the Air Force Portal. After logging in, click on "MAJCOM A-Z Listing" and then "AFRC" to find the link.
Finally, a limited number of printed copies have been distributed to the headquarters, individual mobilization augmentees and units in the field.
(Colonel Freeman is the mobilization assistant to the director of strategic plans, programs and requirements at HQ AFRC, Robins AFB. As a civilian, he serves as technical director of the Air Force Center of Systems Engineering, located at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Colonel Freeman led the effort to produce the command's strategic plan.)
By Col. G. Richard Freeman
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|Author:||Freeman, G. Richard|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2008|
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