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595th C2G launches suggestion app

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rachel Hammes
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 595th Command and Control Group at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, recently introduced a suggestion app, allowing members of the group to send suggestions and feedback directly to group leadership.

The app allows Airmen and civilians at all levels of the group to submit comments anonymously, which the group hopes will encourage honest feedback.

Capt. John Nagy, the software development flight commander for the 595th Strategic Communication Squadron, said the app only took a day to create, and only five days to fine tune. The unit’s use of pre-existing code was key to the app’s quick turnaround.

“The app itself is homegrown, but instead of having to purchase tools, we looked at free tools that were available,” Nagy said. “There was maybe three dozen lines of code. If you have a need there’s technology out there that can address that need. Even though the program itself wasn’t written already, all the harder steps had been figured out.”

When submitting a suggestion, members of the 595th C2G have the option to mark their suggestions urgent, which sends 595th C2G commander Col. Robert Billings an instant text message and e-mail. Feedback not marked urgent is grouped together in an e-mail he receives every day.

Billings said it was very important to him that the app allow anonymous suggestions.

“People will give feedback, but sometimes they’re afraid they’ll be chastised,’” he said. “I want to make sure we’re meeting our Airmen’s needs, and this was just one mechanism that I can use.”

The app does allow individuals to attach their name to their suggestion in order to receive a direct response to their feedback, but Nagy agreed that anonymity was a necessary option.

“What anonymity allows people to have is no fear of reprisal when it comes to making a suggestion that might seem off the wall,” Nagy said. “The colonel has faith that people aren’t going to submit absolutely ridiculous suggestions, and so far that’s borne out.”

Billings said he is committed to making the group stronger, and the best way to do that is to allow feedback from all levels.

“I want to know how I can make the unit better, and what I can do,” he said. “People are seeing that as soon as they make a comment, it’s answered – and I think that’s a big deal. They understand that it won’t get fixed unless they speak up.”