AF is transforming how it provides services

  • Published
  • By Debbie Gildea
  • Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs
The Air Force Personnel Center is transforming how it provides morale, welfare and recreation services, and the type of programs it offers.

AFPC is taking a tailored approach to ensure Airmen around the world have what they need and want, rather than the same programs that have traditionally been offered at every base.

According to Jon Grammer, AFPC Services Directorate, the Services Transformation Initiative is well underway with eight bases engaged at various test stages.

Round I test bases include Joint Base Andrews, Washington D.C.; Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; FE Warren AFB, Wyo.; Luke AFB, Ariz.; Moody AFB, Ga.; Scott AFB, Ill.; Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; and Tinker AFB, Okla.

"This initiative is an enterprise level commitment," said Grammer. "And leadership has worked hard to develop business plans that provide base leaders a starting point, but this is far from the one-size-fits-all services program of the past."

The foundation of the services transformation is the commitment to providing services essential to Airmen, so Services leaders are working with Airmen at every level to identify what is essential.

"Our first priority has been, and continues to be, caring for Airmen and their families," said Grammer. "However, Airmen and the installations where they work and live have changed significantly over the past 65 years. We no longer have 'one-size-fits-all' services and programs at every installation."

After reviewing Air Force-wide data that included surveys and interviews, the Services transformation team recommended that bases keep, modify or divest themselves of programs and services, depending on each base's data.

"These were simply recommendations and observations based on a desktop analysis," Grammer explained. "And the final decision was left to each installation commander based on the needs of their installation and their customer base."

The result is that although the eight test bases have some similarity in programs and plans, they all feature differences that are based on their particular needs and where they started in their transformation effort.

One emerging characteristic of all programs is a community commons facility, which is intended to be an on-base hub for socializing, recreation and daily living activities.

"Located conveniently to Airman and their families, the community commons should be a multi-function, multi-purpose building or group of buildings centrally located on base; (it's) a single, convenient location for Airmen and their families to regenerate and create esprit d' corps during and after duty." Grammer said.

What Airmen will find within the community commons will vary from installation to installation. For example, Moody AFB has a 10-lane bowling center, newly renovated snack bar, gaming rooms for children and adults, and an indoor laser maze game, as well as multi-purpose space, meeting rooms and more. F.E. Warren AFB, however, has an indoor rock climbing wall, batting cages, a laser tag arena, golf simulator, coffee shop with casual dining, information learning center and more.

"Moody and F.E. Warren are further along in their renovations because they already had suitable structures for their community commons," Grammer explained. "They continue to implement their transformation plans, while other test bases are at different stages depending on available structures and intended amenities."

Every base is moving forward with some creative, exciting designs and ideas, and that is good evidence that the individual transformation concept is the right direction, Grammer said. In addition to caring for Airmen, the purpose of the transformation initiative is to identify efficiencies and partnership opportunities with their local communities.

Coupled with community commons, Services leaders are looking for opportunities to partner with local communities and Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities to ensure Airmen have a variety of options. In some AAFES stores, Services will operate information, tickets and travel kiosks or store-front operations, similar to those in large commercial shopping centers.

"It's not a new idea, but it's a great idea," Grammer said. "We develop a synergy with AAFES in these situations. Dyess, MacDill and Patrick (AFBs) already have them. MacDill did it 15 years ago and it's very successful." 

As the Round I test bases work toward full implementation, the AFPC transformation team has already begun to work with Round II test bases. The team visited Joint Base San Antonio leaders in June and over the next four months will meet with leaders at bases in Alaska, California and Mississippi.

"Transforming how we provide services is critical if we are to continue to support Airmen, but funding challenges are very real, so we have to look at smart, efficient ways to provide Airmen with what they need and want," Grammer said.