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Q&A pt. VIII: Personnel and Facilities

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Last week, I ran the seventh in a series of "Q&A" articles, which are in response to questions asked during my last Commander's Call.

This is the eighth article in the series. I'll be posting the responses to all of the questions on a Sharepoint site for future access and review. Please keep the questions coming!


Under the new Enlisted Evaluation System, how does this impact individuals being selected for Developmental Special Duty (DSD)?

Individuals being selected for DSD will still compete against other members within the special duty AFSC.

Why are there very few or none at all, mentoring opportunities for the enlisted? So much has changed with little to no guidance.

There have been many significant changes implemented across the Air Force and the Department of Defense this past year. In particular, there have been many changes in terms of the Enlisted Evaluation System, the new Blended Retirement Program, Green Dot, and Force of the Future initiatives. We've shared information as it has become available, and I encourage you to contact your supervisor and/or leadership about the specific changes that are still unclear or have not been fully explained yet. Also, our experts in the Military Personnel Section are extremely knowledgeable and can answer questions concerning recent changes to the personnel system (256-4112). As far as mentoring opportunities, the "Scott All Bulletin" is emailed every Wednesday, and it highlights the organizations and opportunities at Scott AFB where you can engage to receive advice and assistance including First Four meetings, Speed Mentoring Sessions, and briefings on specific topics, such as the Enlisted Evaluation System. Of note, the next NCO Council Speed Networking event is at 3:30 p.m. April 7 at Zeppelins. However, if you're still not getting the answers you need, please contact me or Chief Master Sgt. Wesley Mathias, and we'd be happy to answer any questions or connect you with the experts.

Can you share more about the new retirement plan that got approved?

The FY16 National Defense Authorization Act provides a modernized, Blended Retirement System beginning in 2018, which will include automatic and matching Thrift Savings Plan contributions and mid-career compensation incentives as well as an annuity for life. Importantly, all service members under the current system are grandfathered into today's retirement system. However, if you joined the service after Jan. 1, 2006, you have the option to enroll in the new Blended Retirement System. In order to make an informed decision about whether or not to opt into the new system, the Air Force is developing training tools and guidance for dissemination to units. When we receive additional guidance, we will be holding town halls to educate the base population. In the meantime, the picture included in this article provides an overview of the new Blended Retirement System. Additional information is coming soon.

Is there ever going to be relief to our manning shortage and high ops tempo? What is Scott AFB doing about the manning issue?

Currently, our Wing manning is holding steady at 96 percent of authorized personnel. However, we are concerned about specific undermanned AFSCs and units across our wing. We continually work with Functional Area Managers to increase manning where needed, as well as advocate for a balance of skill levels in units.

This is also a subject of discussion with Air Force senior leaders, and there is good news in that after several years of declining end-strength due to fiscal constraints, the Air Force is slowly growing our force again. Our end-strength is growing to 317,000 in FY16, and we're looking to grow further in FY17. As our end-strength grows and our force develops over the next few years, we must continue to look for innovative and creative ways of accomplishing our day-to-day activities in order to maintain the highest standards of excellence in mission execution. Ultimately, we cannot achieve excellence if we do not innovate, and we cannot innovate if we do not communicate. And not one of us can do this alone.

We do this by working together and sharing and celebrating efficiencies and innovative solutions across our wing and installation.


Why are we trying to take all the base servers to one location? Why are tenant units like the 15th Operational Weather Squadron not going to be allowed to keep them?

The DoD spends a lot of money supporting key facilities with redundant power capabilities (Uninterruptible Power Supplies/Generators) that are designed to house critical systems such as servers that multiple users depend on. All military services have been directed by DoD instruction to limit these facilities in order to keep costs reasonable.

Centralizing server location also permits a higher level of security and allows efficient cooling, which is very difficult to maintain in communication closets not designed for proper ventilation and cooling. As a side-benefit, you'll also notice that removing the servers from individual buildings will decrease the noise in your workspaces.

Why is the Honor Guard building in such shambles? For such an important program it should have a better home. There's mold everywhere, and the building is terrible.

While our Civil Engineers do a tremendous job maintaining our existing facilities and allocating space judiciously to accommodate the broad array of missions at Scott AFB, the Honor Guard building is in need of upgrades. We recently completed a project to repair the roof, so there should not be any more leaks on the practice floor, and the mold that had resulted from the previous leaks should now be rectified.

In addition, the locker rooms were recently upgraded, and we've brought in some new equipment. We continue to assess the needs of the Honor Guard, so we are currently budgeting for more equipment, including training flags and more computers to support our Honor Guard members. If there are specific concerns, please contact the facility manager who can submit a Form 332 to the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, so that they may be aware of the issues and prioritize any needed repairs/updates.

Can we look into fixing the road towards housing please?

The 375th Mission Support Group has worked diligently with Norfolk Southern Railroad who owns the tracks and the road immediately around the tracks. Earlier in January, Norfolk Southern made temporary repairs to the road to ensure safe passage. However, we continue to work a more complete long-term repair once the warmer weather permits it.