Obligatory Volunteerism: a Curse Upon the Air Force or No Big Deal?

Airmen working in a soup kitchen. The service has created powerful incentives around activity like this, arguably undercutting the prominence of duty performance in the evaluation and promotion processes. No one can say when it happened exactly, but at some point in the past generation, the Air Force's supervisory system became obsessed with [...]

By | July 10th, 2015|Sidetones|30 Comments

EES Roadshow: Important Reform Caught in a Senseless Tail Chase

Rhetoric:  CMSAF Cody says a 91-base roadshow to explain the new EES/WAPS system is necessary so that experts can personally present airmen with program details and answer their questions. Cody says it's about having face-to-face contact with as many airmen as possible before sharing formal guidance and new forms, and that it justifies delaying a [...]

By | July 10th, 2015|Sidetones|2 Comments

Report: Tops in Blue Performance Director Resigns

Mr. Edward Jones (right) steps members of Tops in Blue through a practice routine earlier this year. Reports indicate Jones has left his post as the show choir's Performance Director. (Photo: Air Force). As the Air Force's $10M/year show troupe "Tops in Blue" emerges from a busy Independence Day touring schedule that included soothing perhaps [...]

By | July 6th, 2015|Sidetones|8 Comments

Mangled Rollout Creates Info Vacuum, Threatens Enlisted Reforms

CMSAF Cody is pursuing an important overhaul of the Enlisted Evaluation System. Unfortunately, poor communication and unwarranted secrecy threaten to undermine the whole project. (Photo: US Air Force). Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) James Cody, apparently in coordination with former CMSAFs but absent meaningful interaction on the subject with currently serving airmen, [...]

By | June 29th, 2015|Sidetones|3 Comments

Blue Skies, Lion 01

One of the finest leaders in the Air Force retired this week. Brig. Gen. Blaine Holt inspired admiration from peers, undying loyalty from juniors, and respect (sometimes accompanied by healthy apprehension) from superiors. Throughout his career, he was widely known to be one of the most thoughtful, articulate, and intellectually active officers in the service, [...]

By | June 26th, 2015|Sidetones|4 Comments

25 AF Command Chief Wrestles With “Whole Person Concept”

Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman gets generally high marks from peers and juniors alike. He's known for his sense of humor and allergy to nonsense. He did something earlier this month worthy of that admiration. He got up in front of his airmen, invoked a controversial subject, and did his best to grapple with it in [...]

By | June 25th, 2015|Sidetones|1 Comment

Finance: Closing to Serve You Better … in Nine Simple Steps

The following slide presentation details one finance squadron’s self-touted effort to better serve customers by essentially shutting down all face-to-face contact. The impulse to do so is understandable given the endemic task saturation faced by finance shops, together with gutted manning and diminished experience levels. But being understandable doesn’t make it right or justified. Initiatives like [...]

By | June 24th, 2015|Sidetones|3 Comments