An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Revised 'Little Brown Book' now available

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Air Force officials here recently revised Air Force instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, also known as "The Little Brown Book," and the electronic version is available now with hardcopies expected to be available in May. 

The guide has long been a staple of establishing expectations and standards for enlisted Airmen. 

The last version was published in December 2004, so several changes and updates were needed, said Joseph M. McDade Jr., the director of force development.

"The guide spells out the baseline standards for every enlisted Airman, from E-1 to E-9, so everyone understands what is expected of them," Mr. McDade said. "It also defines special senior noncommissioned officer positions and standardizes enlisted duty titles."

Among the changes to the book is a table of contents, the addition of the Airmen's Creed and an introduction to the Air Force institutional competencies.

"The institutional competencies are capabilities expected of all Airmen, enlisted, officers and civilians with varying levels of proficiency based on rank and position," Mr. McDade explained. "They, along with our core values, form the framework for force development in the Air Force."

The institutional competencies are:
-- Employing military capabilities
-- Enterprise perspective
-- Embodying Air Force culture
-- Leading people
-- Managing organizations and resources
-- Strategic thinking
-- Fostering collaborative relationships
-- Communicating

These eight competencies further break down into 24 sub-competencies so they can be better understood and applied to life in the Air Force. For example, "Communicating" is about the importance of speaking well and good writing skills, but also covers "active listening" as a method to improving discussions and mentoring as well as settling disputes, Mr. McDade said.

Another important change has been in naming the three enlisted tiers. E-1s through E-4s are now in the "Junior Enlisted Airman" tier.

"It was previously called the 'Airman' tier, which is a bit misleading, because every civilian, enlisted and officer in the Air Force is an Airman," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley, who contributed heavily to the redesign.

"The book focuses more on leadership and development," the chief said. "We've better defined what it means to have tactical expertise, operational competence and strategic vision.

"As I travel the Air Force, I see this book in constant use," Chief McKinley said. "Our Airmen refer to this book often, and many of them keep this book within arms reach for quick reference."

The revised AFI also tackles government computer use, substance abuse, post-combat stress and concepts related to Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century.

The Little Brown Book will be part of the curriculum in professional military education courses and introduced to new Airmen as they arrive for Basic Military Training.

"This AFI is the values statement for enlisted Airmen -- it's critical in enlisted force development and ensuring responsibilities and expectations are clearly defined," Mr. McDade said. "If it's in a book small enough to fit in your pocket or sit on your desk, it's easily and handily available. If you're enlisted, it's important to know what people expect from you; for officers and civilians, it's crucial to know what enlisted Airmen are capable of achieving. It's all in the book."

The Little Brown Book is available on the Air Force Portal through "MyEDP"-- My Enlisted Development Plan -- or through the Air Force Publications site: by entering 36-2618 in the search bar. Hardcopies can be ordered through the Air Force Publishing Distribution Center Warehouse at 410-687-3373 or DSN 584-4729

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page