Force Improvement Program gives Airmen direct line to Air Force leaders

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joseph Raatz
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Senior Air Force officials put a plan into motion that will give Airmen an opportunity to make real, visible and enduring changes to the Air Force Global Strike Command.

The Force Improvement Program, or FIP, is an aggressive, action-oriented effort with the goal of making rapid and substantial change to the intercontinental ballistic missile mission. Senior leaders designed the FIP from the ground-up as a field-level initiative to draw on the experiences of Airmen at all levels.

"Unlike other studies we have seen in the past, the foundation for the FIP is that our own ICBM base Airmen will identify challenges within (their) mission area and recommend solutions," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, who wrote in a letter to missile crew members. "I can't stress this enough; this is a grass-roots-level effort. From the bottom, up, that's where the solutions are going to come from."

At the heart of the FIP is the Functional Cultural Working Group, or FCWG. These working groups are composed of teams of Airmen, junior NCOs, senior NCOs and company-grade officers from each missile wing. There are five FCWG teams in total, one each from the fields of missile operations, security forces, maintenance, mission support and helicopter operations.

The FCWG teams will visit each missile wing throughout February to meet with their peers locally and work with them to identify challenges in their respective mission areas, and upon completion will recommend solutions directly to Wilson.

"I will, in turn, implement recommendations within my purview and report the results and Air Force level recommendations to Secretary James and General Welsh for their consideration," Wilson said, "I've spoken to the CSAF and secretary and they are ready to act."

Each FCWG team will be augmented by mentors and experts from outside the ICBM field, such as Navy submariners, Navy or Marine security professionals, bomber combat systems officers and members of the 576th Flight Test Squadron and 381st Training Group from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. These additional members will provide the teams with a fresh perspective from an outside source.

"The goal of the FIP is to identify challenges associated with performing duties at our missile wings and to propose innovative, concrete solutions that your senior leadership can take action on in the coming weeks," Wilson said. "Note, I said 'weeks,' not years."

In addition to the FCWG teams, the program will include several other initiatives running concurrently to achieve more comprehensive solutions.

To better understand the challenges faced by ICBM crew members and their families, an email-based feedback system will be open to family members at AFGSC's three missile wings. This system opens up a direct line of communication to command leadership, giving family members an avenue to voice their concerns, address real everyday challenges and propose solutions. Email addresses of respondents will be masked, providing peace of mind. More information about the program will be provided through the chain of command as it becomes available.

Airmen will also be given the opportunity to participate in a confidential survey that will enable open and honest communication with leadership.

Both the email-feedback system and the field survey will be available Feb. 10 - 20.

"I ask that each of you participate in this program in order to provide honest and constructive feedback to me and our senior leaders," Wilson said. "This is your opportunity to foster positive change within your unit, wing, and our command. Don't pass it up."