By Airman 1st Class Josiah Brown, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 21, 2021
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Max J. Stitzer, Special Assistant to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve and Military Deputy to the Directorate of Staff-Integration, right, meets with Col. John McClung, 7th Operations Group commander, middle, during a Total Force Integration discussion at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 9, 2021. Total Force Association assessments focus on three primary areas and how these each contribute to mission execution: cost and resources, partnerships and culture, and planning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Josiah Brown)
Officials with the Headquarters Air Force Directorate of Total Force Integration conducted a Total Force Association health assessment of the 7th Bomb Wing and 489th Bomb Group at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 9 - 13, 2021.
Cost and resources, culture and planning, and cooperation are the three main areas this assessment focused on. They also concentrated on how each section ties into mission execution.
“The opportunity for our Total Force Directorate staff to assess the effectiveness of the Dyess Reserve and Regular Air Force Airmen in the B-1 association adds value in two important ways,” said Brig. Gen. Max Stitzer, Special Assistant to the Chief of the Air Force Reserve and Military Duty to the Directorate of Staff-Integration. “It affords us to provide an enterprise-level perspective on associate unit best practices that have been observed over time across the full spectrum of Air Force associate organizations, and we provide an objective, data-derived status of the associated units’ achievement of the stated objectives of the Association Plan which enumerates the association’s prescribed measures of merit and effectiveness as agreed upon by both components’ chains of command up to and including Major Commands and Headquarters United States Air Force.”
The evaluation helped the assessors gauge base leadership, get eyes on the various locations to encounter what Airmen experience when it comes to work conditions, and to show the lowest-ranking Airmen that leaders at the HAF-level are listening as well as wanting their direct thoughts to make the U.S. Air Force better.
“The health assessment is important because it provides the ability to figure out how we can come together better as a TFA unit and to do that through somebody that's got the knowledge and experience at the Half-Level to help us,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Jenkins, 9th Bomb Squadron Commander.
The TFI directorate was congressionally mandated in 2014 to merge Regular Air Force, Reserve and Air National Guard, to evaluate association efficacy, conduct analysis, and better connect with the Air Force Total Force Associations.
“Total Force Integration has existed, in some form, since the 1940s, when the Air Force’s critical TFI components (RegAF, ANG, and Reserve) were created,” said Lt Col Matthew Stueck, Chief of HAF/DSI Assessments Division. “Each component relies on the others for things necessary for effective mission completion: personnel, resources, training, funding, etc.”
Each factor is then broken down into primary attributes (for example, cost and resources includes personnel, operations, and sustainment) and those attributes are broken down even further into sub-attributes.
These include perceptible categories like training costs, maintenance costs, MPA costs, etc. The inspectors are able to look at these sub-attributes to build a quantitative sight picture before they go in to conduct interviews for the more qualitative aspects.
Due to COVID, most of the assessment interviews are conducted via Zoom with focus groups being categorized based on unit, rank, AFSC, and component. All of the responses are anonymous to address issues without concern.
Once the assessment is completed, the HAF officials will gather the information and provide advice and lessons to help members of the 7th BW and 489th BG improve as a team and strengthen relationships between Regular Air Force and Reserve members.
“The vision of our office, and ultimately TFI in a general sense, is to have a reformed, fully integrated Total Force that leverages the unique strengths of each component to deter, fight, and win,” said Lt Col Matthew Stueck, Chief of HAF/DSI Assessments Division.