By Staff Sgt. Jessica Montano, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 14, 2021
Wing leadership and Headquarters Air Force Directorate of Total Force Integration assessments team pose for a photo at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The HAF/DSI team assessed Total Force Integration here Apr. 29 - May 3. (U.S. Air Force photo by Charles J. Haymond)
The 55th Wing underwent a Total Force Association Health Assessment by the Headquarters Air Force Directorate of Total Force Integration April 29 – May 3.
This assessment focused on three primary areas and how each contribute to mission execution: cost and resources, partnerships and culture and planning.
“We use our research to assess the effectiveness of an association, with the goal of removing barriers to increase synergy in Total Force units,” said Capt. Teri Boivin, HAF/DSI assessments team member.
Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Grabowski, Assistant Adjutant General Air Georgia National Guard, and one member of the HAF/DSI team conducted the in-person assessment, while the rest of the team in Washington, D.C., discussed the data virtually.
“We came to Offutt because we wanted to see what ‘right’ looks like for Total Force,” said Grabowski. “Our goal was to quantify and qualify lessons learned from the units and individuals who have that background and experience.”
Total Force Integration has existed in some form since the 1940s, when the Air Force’s critical TFI components, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, were created. Each component relies on the others for things necessary for effective mission completion, such as personnel, resources, training, funding, etc.
“Overall, Offutt performed exceptionally well in all of the primary focus areas,” said Boivin. “The association has a seamless integration with no identifiable difference between components, beyond patches worn. This, in large part, can be attributed to the integrated leadership, integrated operations, cross-component support, civic outreach and the TFI Innovation Spark Cell.”
To complete the assessment, each of the primary areas were broken down into primary attributes and sub-attributes.
“We are able to look closely at the sub-attributes to build a quantitative sight picture before we conducted interviews for the qualitative aspects,” said Boivin.
Due to COVID-19, the interviews and focus groups were discussed virtually.
“Focus groups were broken down based on unit, rank and component, and all responses were anonymous,” said Boivin. “Different ranks and career fields were interviewed to ensure HAF/DSI had a thorough and accurate sample population.”
Each day of the assessment concluded with a hot wash, which included participation from HAF/DSI, Air Combat Command and the National Guard Bureau.
“HAF/DSI led the culminating site visit outbrief, where Col. Robin Bowman [TFI director] spoke to the base’s key leadership regarding discussion group composition, initial observations, initial discussion group findings, lessons learned and actionable items,” said Boivin.
The 170th Group, who is a Nebraska Air National Guard unit assigned to Offutt AFB, plays a vital role in the continuation of training for the students assigned to the 338th Combat Training Squadron.
“The highly qualified and incredibly experienced members of 170th Group play a vital role in ensuring our wing accomplishes its global mission,” said Col. Gavin Marks, 55th Wing commander. “Their aircrew instructors have integrated into the 338th CTS seamlessly and provide initial qualification, re-qualification and upgrade training and to our active duty and ANG aircrew members.”
The 170th GP also works in other sections throughout the installation, like the 55th Operations Support Squadron, to increase global operations support.
“We have Guardsmen fully integrated into functional areas that include requirements, weapons and tactics, intelligence, base operations, weather and aviation resource management,” said Marks.
“What we found at Offutt is that TFI is fundamentally baked into the unit,” said Grabowski. “There is seamless integration with elements like communication, mutual respect, cross-component innovation/solutions and civic outreach; this translates into gained efficiencies, talent retention, better developed Airmen, and effective mission execution.”