Air Force officials boost personnel support to warfighter

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
  • Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs
The Air Force Personnel Center is partnering with Headquarters, Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services and U.S. Air Forces Central to provide additional personnel support capabilities for deployed Airmen in AFCENT's area of responsibility.

Vince Fonner, AFPC's air and space expeditionary force operations division deputy chief, said AFPC started collaborating with Air Staff and AFCENT on a new personnel initiative in November 2010 during a site visit to the AOR to assess deployed personnel support requirements and current capabilities.

"We are working with AFCENT to develop better communication and system capabilities between deployers and the Air Force personnel community," Fonner said. "We want deployers to dial one phone number and go to one total force website for personnel services and self-service applications."

In addition to improving communication avenues, AFPC was also tasked with determining if there were any gaps in personnel support since service rotations have increased to six months and longer.

"We need to understand why permanent-change-of-status and indeterminate-temporary-duty-station personnel were not receiving the level of personnel support they needed during extended deployments," Fonner said. "We also are assessing the roles and responsibilities of Personnel Support for Contingency Operations teams, because their current mission only includes limited sustainment support for deployers in different assignment statuses."

After the AFPC team concluded their initial site visit, they proposed three recommendations to A1, AFCENT and AFPC leadership for improving personnel services for deployed Airmen:

-- Create a Total Force Service Center cell dedicated to providing expedited personnel support to deployers

-- Add self-service kiosks at AFCENT installations

-- Send a TFSC element to the AFCENT AOR to further assess deployer needs and recommend personnel policy, process changes

After receiving approval from AFCENT and AFPC leadership, representatives from AFPC's Directorate of AEF Operations and TFSC began formulating a comprehensive plan for executing their initial recommendations.

On April 30, AFPC deployed a six-person, TFSC-Forward team to provide direct personnel support to active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen and conduct customer need assessments. Recently, they also installed four self-service kiosks at key locations in Southwest Asia. Lastly, the TFSC-Forward team is scheduled to meet with personnel functions at several bases in the AOR to evaluate their programs and assess their customers' needs.

"The new self-service kiosks will allow deployers to access personnel resources and information on the Air Force personnel services website from their deployed location," Fonner said.
Col. James Davis, AFPC's TFSC director, said calls from deployed Airmen to the dedicated deployment cell have steadily increased after the arrival of the TFSC-Forward team to the AOR in April.

"Our marketing efforts are helping educate deployers about the options they have to get personnel support at their deployed locations," Davis said. "Our dedicated deployment cell meets many of the needs of deployers and PERSCO teams by providing around-the-clock reach-back support."

AFPC executive director Dr. Todd Fore said integrating self-service kiosks and providing additional personnel support to the warfighter are integral parts of how the Air Force is transforming its personnel services platform.

"AFPC is fully engaged with Air Force and AFCENT leadership to provide a higher level of personnel support to the warfighter," Fore said. "We understand the unique challenges combat Airmen face in the AOR to obtain personnel support, and we are taking a multi-faceted approach to develop innovative solutions that integrate with current Personnel Services Delivery Transformation initiatives like the Air Force Personnel Services website and Total Force Service Center."

The executive director said being able to adapt and stay flexible throughout this process will help the Air Force provide better personnel services and applications for its Airmen.

"The Air Force is transforming the delivery of personnel services to total force Airmen through responsive, effective and modernized processes and capabilities," Fore said. "Our website and TFSC give deployers from every Air Force component a virtual connection to the personnel services centers to allow them to perform personnel actions from any computer in the world, including deployed installations in the AOR."

Active-duty and civilian deployed members requiring personnel assistance can call the TFSC at DSN 665-5000, select "active duty" and press the pound key to reach the dedicated deployment cell. Guard and Reserve members can reach the TFSC by calling 800-525-0102. For more information on personnel services, visit the restricted AFPERS website at Users will need to set up a new AFPERS account and access the site with a common access card or username and password.