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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2008

AFOSI programs promote personnel’s well-being

By Brig. Gen. Dana Simmons Air Force Office of Special Investigations commander

As the year comes to a close, I had the opportunity to reflect upon what we've done to take care of our people. I pledged from my first day of command to address this critical issue, and since then it has become more than a priority; it has become a principle of our senior leadership. I have traveled to many units over the past couple of years and I am impressed that more and more of our people are taking advantage of the personal and professional development opportunities available to them. 

With the following programs, my orders were to consider what the Air Force offers, tailor the programs to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, make them better, and then offer them back as a benchmark for the Air Force. Given that direction, it is amazing what we've accomplished. The initiatives include: our work-life balance proclamation, Development Teams, Quality of Life Initiative, the Deployment Readiness and Reintegration Program and the Total Force Advisory Council. 

AFOSI leaders signed the work-life balance proclamation, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, at the July worldwide leadership conference. It will be posted in the halls of Headquarters AFOSI, and in my office. Our leaders pledged to support our 3,200 men and women addressing the critical balance between work-related matters and home life. This initiative certainly covers a lot of ground and is dedicated to making your AFOSI experience the best it can be. 

Last year we completed five Development Teams to vector personnel. The leadership selection process started in May with the DTs vectoring AFOSI officer, civilian, and enlisted candidates for leadership positions. In September, these candidates were assigned to fill commander and special agent in charge positions with the coordination of senior leaders. As a result of everyone's hard work, we produced great matches in professional vectors and geographic location preferences. 

AFOSI leadership is working diligently to finalize our Quality of Life initiative to further address the needs of our people. This initiative and policy is designed to provide AFOSI leadership the full realm of tools available to effectively lead the organization, accomplish the mission and care for AFOSI personnel. Some of these tools cover retention bonuses, Foreign Language Proficiency Pay, civilian and military professional educational developmental opportunities, relocation incentives and time-off awards and alternate work schedules and duty locations. 

The highly successful AFOSI Deployment Readiness and Reintegration Program has received a lot of attention from other government agencies as a model for equipping personnel and their families to better cope with the stressors associated with deployment and redeployment. During redeployment from Iraq or Afghanistan, prior to returning to their home stations, all deployed personnel are required to attend a two-day redeployment decompression at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Personnel are provided the opportunity to slow down from the high pace of the deployed environment, decompress, discuss their experiences in a confidential setting, and receive some guidance on preparing to reintegrate with their families, children, co-workers and community back home. 

We established the Total Force Advisory Council. This is a forum where our personnel can address AFOSI questions and receive a researched, timely response with the attention of our senior leadership. TFAC is empowered to consider matters that affect AFOSI across the board and develop solutions that could lead to new guidance directed by senior AFOSI leadership. The process of TFAC is fairly simple: TFAC hears the issue, vets it for validity, discusses the issue with the subject area experts and in turn provide answers back to the field. 

In all, we've dedicated a tremendous amount of resources to our most important resource: Our People! I ask them all to take advantage of the programs and remember that we are always looking for ways to constantly improve and support our personnel so they can continue to provide critical support to our nation's defense.