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Cody touts 'One Air Force' during ANG enlisted call

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody discusses issues facing the Air Force during an enlisted call for Airmen of the Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 23, 2015. The discussion focused on professional military education, professional development and diversity. (Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody discusses issues facing the Air Force during an enlisted call for Airmen of the Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 23, 2015. The discussion focused on professional military education, professional development and diversity. (Air National Guard photo/Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody shared his thoughts on the future of the force with Airmen from the Air National Guard during an enlisted call July 23 at Joint Base Andrews.

During the discussion, Cody addressed the professional development of Airmen, diversity, and the possible changes in the way the Air Force integrates the active-duty and reserve components in the years ahead.

"This (discussion) is a great opportunity," Cody said. "It's important that we have a dialogue so I can represent you in the right way, and that means knowing what's on your mind, what concerns you have and what questions you have about what we're working on. Hopefully I'll be able to give you a perspective on why we're doing things."

One of the key topics of discussion was ability of active-duty and reserve component Airmen to be more integrated along career paths. Traditionally, it has been possible but difficult to move among components throughout a career.

"We need to have this ability for Airmen to go between components," Cody said. "The seam that exists today needs to be brought together and there (need) to be more gateways where our Airmen can move between them."

As part of the recently released Air Force Strategic Master Plan, the human capital strategy addresses recruiting, retaining and developing Airmen, as well as talent management, all with an eye toward the future that will demand increased diversity and inclusiveness to achieve collective innovative potential. It continues the emphasis on integrating components of the Air Force in an effective manner.

"I can see where, in the future, to be in the most senior leadership positions in our Air Force, you're going to have to have done real tangible time within the other components," Cody said. "You're going to have to have been an active-duty Airman who worked with the reserve component ... worked with them and done the business at hand, because we're one Air Force and if we don't have that depth of experience and knowledge we are not going to be as effective as we need to be as a force."

Cody referenced a number of senior enlisted leader positions currently open for the best available Airmen to compete and shared the most recent example of integration across the components.

"Chief Master Sgt. Danny Doucette is a great example, because he's the commandant of the First Sergeants Academy (at Maxwell AFB, Alabama,) -- the first time ever held by a reserve component Airman," Cody said. "Why is Chief Doucette the commandant? It has nothing to do with the fact that he's in the Air National Guard, but everything to do with him being the right chief at the right time to do that job. He's got the credibility, ability and training and he was the best candidate to take on that role."

Cody explained that through proper development, the pool of qualified Airmen will be available, regardless of component, and he is encouraged about the future.

"It's something I'm very excited about and I think you should be excited about -- this idea that we're being very deliberate about ensuring that we have a human capital strategy that encompasses every single one of us, not just one component,” Cody said. "It has to be a human capital strategy that blends all of the diversity and strength we have in the force and that is representation of the four components."

Cody also fielded questions and addressed concerns from the audience about breaches in cybersecurity, enlisted performance reports and proposed cuts to dual military member basic allowance for housing and its effect on attracting and keeping quality Airmen. After finishing his talk, Cody thanked the Airmen for what they do.

"I'm proud to serve with each and every one of you,” Cody said. "I'm extremely proud of what you're doing every day. Despite what narratives may be out there or what others might say, don't let anyone define your service and your sacrifice; you define it by what you do every day. Every single day is a privilege to be an Airman in the United States Air Force and put this uniform on. We ask a lot out of you, but I think you get a lot out of it or you wouldn't be here. What you do is meaningful and purposeful."

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