Changes going on in processes designed to develop tomorrow's leaders.
Senior leadership is continuously looking for ways to improve force development based on the Reserve culture and the need to be an equal partner with other services and a force provider to the Department of Defense. It is critical to get the balance right.
"Having a robust force development program is the first step in creating a systematic process designed to develop Reserve leaders with the necessary experience, various levels of assignments and professional development opportunities to meet national security objectives and maintain the Citizen Airman culture," said Lt. Col. Kandace Steinbrink, AFRC chief of training, force management and force development in the Directorate of Personnel, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "There are a finite number of opportunities to gain those experiences, and we must ensure these opportunities go to those who demonstrate the greatest potential and have the desire to serve as senior leaders."
AFRC Commander Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson's emphasis on force development of Citizen Airmen comes at a time when the Air Force, as a whole, is making force development a top priority.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said during her recent "state of the Air Force" address that the Air Force's No. 1 priority, above aircraft, weapons or equipment, is its people.
"Having the right people in the right job at the right time--who are trained and developed--should be our No. 1 priority," she said.
What is Force Development?
So, what exactly is force development? Maj Steve Goudeau, AFRC chief of officer force development, defines it this way: "Force development is the pursuit of education, training, experiences and assignments providing skills, knowledge and motivation to lead and execute the full spectrum of Department of Defense missions. The intent is to provide the right opportunities --through assignments and professional development--to our Citizen Airmen, maximizing capabilities and developing Air Force Reserve leaders."
The AFRC force development staff and their counterparts in Air Force Reserve senior leader management offices and the Air Reserve Personnel Center, along with their teams, ensure everything is in place so the command can get the right people in the right leadership positions at the right time. They stressed that force development will not work unless Citizen Airmen take control and manage their career.
"Career management is a Citizen Airman's responsibility," said Col. Heather Connahey, chief of AFRC's Personnel Division. "Airmen must build depth within their career field. This is essential to providing a solid foundation for future developmental opportunities. Once that depth is established, broadening assignments and opportunities are critical for building leadership competencies and establishing competitive candidates to be strategic senior leaders within the Air Force Reserve.
"Our teams are focused on ensuring broadening opportunities across all Air Force Reserve categories: traditional Reservists, individual mobilization augmentees, air reserve technicians and Reservists in active Guard and Reserve status," she said. "This takes much time and effort and adherence to established policy while incorporating necessary changes."
The team uses the "four pillars" diagram (see accompanying artwork) to help show people what they are talking about. Along the bottom steps of the building are Air Force specialty code-specific education, professional military education and advanced education. These form the foundation of the building. Then there are the four pillars: National Capital Region, Joint, Command and Above Wing, which illustrate the different types of experiences required to build the leadership competencies necessary for senior leaders.
Strategic Senior Leader Development
Strategic senior leader development is one area where AFRC has seen a shift in philosophy. It all started a few years ago when senior leaders asked the question: How do we ensure we have an adequate pool of competitive candidates who possess all of the skills and experiences necessary to be the future leaders of the Air Force Reserve?
"In addition to that, senior leadership recognized the importance of ensuring developmental opportunities for all Citizen Airmen through education, training and experiences via assignments, deployments, man-day opportunities, etc.," Goudeau said.
"That task has evolved into what we are now calling strategic senior leader development," he said. "SSLD offers our Reservists a choice to take advantage of applying for deliberately managed positions to ensure rotation through a variety of leadership-building experiences or to remain in the voluntary assignments process--the status quo--where people seek their own assignment and educational opportunities at the right time according to personal preferences."
The Reserve Development Plan Matters!
"We encourage all Reservists, both officer and enlisted, to complete an R-DP," Steinbrink said. "The R-DP is a method for Reservists to communicate their specific career desires and goals to their career field development team, which then provides valid, credible vectors or feedback and potential assignment recommendations to satisfy those desires and achieve those goals.
"The development plan matters," she said. "It is the communication tool for Citizen Airmen to voice their job and professional development preferences, Reserve career goals, and availability to senior leadership."
"The communication on the development plan does not stop with the member," Goudeau said. "It is extremely important for the member's rater--or the first colonel in the chain of command --to complete the coordinator's section of the development plan in order to provide an assessment of the member to the DT panel, thus bringing the paper record to life.
"There aren't any negative consequences to completing a development plan," he said. "Senior leaders just want to understand Reservists' choices and goals so they may better provide vectors Airmen can utilize to enhance their Air Force Reserve career."
The AFRC commander has briefed that the program is "force development" and not "forced development." Through the R-DP process, assignments and experience that most benefit the Reservists and the Air Force Reserve will be identified but will not be mandatory.
"Our Airmen always have a choice," Goudeau said. "We have people asking if they will be forced to move. If an opportunity is presented that would require a move, the member has the option to accept or decline. A majority of our Reservists are part-time and may be offered a job opportunity in which they would need to travel to their duty location. The member can elect to apply for Reserve positions and accept positions offered to them that fit their personal life and goals."
The R-DP, which is filled out by Reservists and endorsed by their supervisors, identifies Reservists' career goals, their flexibility to accept assignments and their desire to participate in continuing education. Once completed, R-DPs are combined with Reservists' records and forwarded to the appropriate career development team.
To ensure records meet the board, the R-DPs should be "development team ready" 30 days before a board meets. The development team then has the responsibility to complete the communication by providing credible, useful vectors back to the Reservists.
Key, Command, Joint Officer Assignments/Key and Strategic Enlisted Assignments
When AFRC's force development team began building its strategic senior leader development plan, it knew that the very nature of the Reserve culture would present some challenges.
"The active component has a very deliberate assignments process that ensures appropriate development for its Airmen through assignments, deployments and professional development," Connahey said. "We knew we had to develop a methodology and assignment process that would work within our voluntary Reserve culture."
The cornerstone of what they developed is a two-pronged approach to force development: self-managed or assignments into command-managed positions.
Self-managed force development allows members to seek their own opportunities with tools and processes provided by the command when the time is right for them. Citizen Airmen who choose the self-managed approach continue to map out their own Reserve career path and take advantage of professional development opportunities as they desire.
Deliberate force development is the intentional management of experiences combined with education and training opportunities that provide leadership competencies. The command has established a three-year term limit for key command and joint positions for officers and key and strategic chief master sergeant positions for enlisted members that offer the right experiences. These positions span career fields and Reserve categories: TR, IMA, ART and AGR. Reservists who would like to prepare themselves for senior leadership may apply and compete for key, command and joint or key and strategic positions. That choice must be balanced against personal and civilian career goals.
"Rotational movement (often referred to as churn) is created by the term limit imposed on the positions set aside for deliberate management," Steinbrink said. "This churn is critical to building a pool of people who possess the right leadership attributes necessary to become AFRC's next generation of senior leaders."
Whether Reservists choose to apply for KCJ or KS positions or the self-managed path, the R-DP is an important component of career management and force development.
Development Teams: Why Do They Matter, and What's In It for Us?
"Development teams allow career field leaders the opportunity to assess their Airmen's development," said Chief Master Sgt. Imelda Johnson, AFRC chief of enlisted force development. "DTs provide guidance on continuing education, training and experience opportunities."
Development teams review the records of all officers and enlisted members (ranks are determined by career field leaders) who have completed an R-DP. In addition to providing guidance to individual Reservists, the DTs score Reservists based on a number of factors. Reservists who receive the highest scores are encouraged to apply for KCJ and KS assignments, developmental education in-residence, and professional development opportunities. Those who do not have an R-DP are not scored, which can lead to missed opportunities.
Additionally, the Reserve Developmental Education Designation Board, the Reserve School Section Board and the Enlisted Developmental Education Board consider results and vectors from the DT. This means failing to complete an R-DP could decrease opportunity for selection for boarded developmental education courses.
All Airmen who complete and submit an R-DP have the opportunity to be selected for the key personnel list based on their overall ranking. Selection for the KPL increases the number of opportunities for which a Reservist may qualify, including some positions only available to those on the list.
Steinbrink said it is important for Reservists to remember that the development team process is not tied to the promotions program, but "our force development initiatives and development team process are in place to help our Airmen understand what will make them more promotable. Experiences that make you better also make the enterprise better."
She emphasized that DTs do not provide assignments to either officers or enlisted members.
R-DPs can be filled out, as well as prior vectors viewed, online at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil/app/ processes/form/fn/vdb.
To find out when your specific development team meets, go to http:// www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-131230-019.pdf.
AFRC's Training, Force Management and Force Development Branch in the Directorate of Personnel is the command's focal point for force management and development. If you have questions or need more information, send an email to the branch's organizational mailbox, firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bo Joyner and Senior Master Sgt. Jill Lavoie
(LaVoie is assigned to the AFRC public affairs office at Robins AFB.)
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|Title Annotation:||FORCE DEVELOPMENT|
|Author:||Joyner, Bo; Lavoie, Jill|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2014|
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