HomeNewsArticle Display

Chief chats about volunteerism, promotions, millennial Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody invites Airmen to ask him questions during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. The conference brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody invites Airmen to ask him questions during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. The conference brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody invites Airmen to ask him questions during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. The conference brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody invites Airmen to ask him questions during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. The conference brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Staff Sgt Jireh Aki, a installation antiterrorism officer at Joint Base Andrews, Md., asks Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody a question during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. Cody said each Air Force generation gets better with technology and education, but if they do not, then the leaders have failed them. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

Staff Sgt Jireh Aki, a installation antiterrorism officer at Joint Base Andrews, Md., asks Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody a question during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 16, 2015. Cody said each Air Force generation gets better with technology and education, but if they do not, then the leaders have failed them. (Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2015 in Washington D.C., draws to a close, the Air Force’s top enlisted leader held a candid Q-and-A session to address issues of interest to the enlisted force Sept. 16.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody fielded questions ranging from the promotion system and the whole Airman concept to the post-millennial generation and even his personal reaction to the promotion announcement of French train hero Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who pins on staff sergeant Nov. 1.

Volunteerism and promotion clarification

Cody clarified remarks pertaining to a recent Air Force Times article in which Air Force Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, headquarters military force management policy director, indicated volunteering will no longer influence who gets promoted or not under the service's new enlisted promotion system.

“In no way did he say we don’t value volunteering in the Air Force,” the chief emphasized. But, he added, “You’re not going to volunteer your way into a promotion” within the construct of an all-volunteer force.

Of the whole person concept, the chief warned against leaning toward either extreme. “The idea that … the person that did everything but their job was the one we’re advancing before others I completely disagree with and I would say it’s unfounded.”

On the other hand, Airmen are more than technicians and should look at service as something “larger than our vocation,” the chief said.

“There’s a ton of things that fall into the whole person concept that we would value as an Air Force … as we represent the American people, as we do things for others,” the chief explained. “But we’re not going to talk about any of that unless you’re good at your job -- because if you’re not good at your job yet, you need to get good at it. Then we can talk about everything else.”

As such, the chief said Air Force leaders readjusted the enlisted evaluation form to better place volunteerism into context.

Within the structure of normal human capital, volunteering, Cody stressed, can range from little or nothing some years to simple building of esprit-de-corps in a unit to stepping up to save lives while off-duty like Stone did.

“It wasn’t until after he did the heroic act and stopped the bleeding in a guy’s neck that he was actually doing what we trained him to do as a medic.”

Promotion opinions on social media

Not surprisingly, the question about the fairness of the Airman’s immediate promotion to staff sergeant once he pins on senior airman in November arose.

Even some senior leaders have taken to social media to question whether or not the stripe was right in light of the efforts of so many other deserving Airmen.

“Everybody’s got an opinion (and) this idea that I’m going to jump on the negative narrative and try to defend our decision -- we don’t have to defend anything at all,” Cody asserted over audience applause. “We did the right thing and we know we did the right thing.”

The chief added that he’s happy to engage in person about the decision, but urged Airmen to consider the measured and caring choices of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

“Nobody has more heart, nobody cares more about our Air Force and is making it better,” Cody said of the general.

Leading the millennial, post-millennial generation

Of leading the post-millennial generation, Cody said senior leaders must learn about the younger generation as people, what they bring to the table and leverage it “like there’s no tomorrow.”

“Whatever that next generation is, they’re going to be better than the generation before them,” the chief said. “We’re going to give them better tools; they’re going to come out better -- and if they don’t, than we have failed.”

Ultimately, the chief urged today’s Airmen to avoid feeling daunted by challenges. “It’s only when you’re faced with these types of things that you actually do advance.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@TeamEglin #Airmen drive innovation, increasing safety while saving money. https://t.co/xo30mkcHMg
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: Callie is chillin’ with our CSAF 😎 @GenDaveGoldfein meets Callie, the only search-and-rescue dog in the @DeptofDefense,…
RT @AP_Top25: Secret's out on hard-hitting Air Force linebacker Kyle Johnson: He plans to attend graduate school, go through special forc…
Staff weather officers (SWO) from the 3d Weather Squadron were put to the test during a certification field exercis… https://t.co/wcGL2Dr2a1
RT @INDOPACOM: Man’s best friend is also his best protector, but even #MilitaryWorkingDogs need to retire eventually. The service members o…
RT @USAFHealth: Airmen with the 375th AES were headed to Travis AFB for a training mission, when a passenger on-board their commercial flig…
RT @AFW2: The @AFW2 just returned from the first-ever Warrior Care Event at USAFE! #Warriors are ready to repeat that sucess & build off th…
RT @USNationalGuard: On a frigid commute to work one morning, Master Sgt. John Lawrence, of the @OKGuard, approached a vehicle resting side…
RT @USAFRecruiting: Being a part of the @usairforce means to be a part of a total force. Join us LIVE on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT to learn mo…
RT @PACAF: The closing ceremony for Pac Angel 19-3 #Mongolia brought together members from the U.S. military, Mongolian Armed Forces, @AusA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commander @PACAF Gen Brown & I just arrived in #Vietnam. What an honor to be here. We look forward to meeting Amb Krit…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Congrats to @HAFB for winning a @ENERGY award for #energy efficiency! From facility improvements to solar arrays, the teams at…
RT @AF_TFXC: Training camp is underway for Air Force Cross Country. Tonight, the upperclassman received their #CommitmentKits, symbolic of…
RT @USAFHealth: Lt. Col. Glenn Mandeville's commitment to his community goes beyond his Air Force service and into his everyday life as a g…
RT @AFResearchLab: No, you're not looking through The Predator's helmet, this is a simulated residual stress field due to multi-shot laser…
RT @CoachTimHorton: Congrats to my mentor and former ⁦@AF_Football⁩ Coach ⁦@FisherDeBerry⁩ on being named the recipient of the 6th annual T…
RT @DeptofDefense: Friday reflection. @usairforce airmen prepare to wash an A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. The…
RT @OKGuard: Photo of the Day: Four F-16 Vipers from the @138thFW fly in formation behind a @usairforce KC-135 Stratotanker during a sortie…
RT @EielsonAirForce: The last #REDFLAGAlaska of the year ends today! Here’s what the participants accomplished during RF-A 19-3. @RCAF_ARC
RT @DeptofDefense: Picture perfect. A @usairforce airman assigned to a forward area refueling point program, poses in front of a C-17 Glob…