TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Delivering integrated capabilities is one of the major lines of effort Air Force Materiel Command is emphasizing in 2023, and AFMC Command Chief Master Sgt. David Flosi is ensuring the command’s senior enlisted leaders are devoting time and attention to the endeavor.
The command chief master sergeants from four of the six centers within AFMC met with Flosi at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Feb. 23 to collaborate and learn more about AFSC and how its mission connects with their own.
“The sustainment center’s mission touches on all of our other centers, and that’s reciprocal, too,” said Flosi. “[This visit] gives our chiefs the ability to better care for their Airmen and families within their own center by understanding what equities are involved in the various sectors of AFMC.”
The All-Center Command Chief event is held quarterly at a different AFMC center. While it is professional development opportunity for the chiefs, it has an impact command-wide.
“What we’re focused on is enterprise solutions and doing it in a smart way, a modern way,” said Flosi. “We want to do that in a digital materiel environment, so the process is organically owned and understood and exportable to the people who need it and be able to sustain it over the years.”
Command Chief Master Sgt. James Fitch, Air Force Research Laboratory; Command Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Newman, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center; and Command Chief Master Sgt. Edgard Castillo, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center attended.
As host, AFSC Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Schultz showcased Airmen throughout the visit, from the airman first class presenting the AFSC mission briefing, to the aircraft battle damage repair team, to the civilians who were 3D-printing aircraft parts at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.
“Today we saw people operating in a joint environment,” Flosi said. “We saw the Total Force – guardsmen, reservists, active-duty, civilians, and contractors working together on the same problem. No matter what your nametag says, we just need to get this capability out to the units that are either defending America or deterring our enemies. From the A1C who delivered a great mission brief to the teams developing new solutions that keep our aircraft flying, I thought this visit really showcased some of the best of AFMC.”
The majority of Airmen within AFMC and AFSC are civilian employees.
“I think the unique greatness of this command is the fact that we’ve got more than 70,000 civilians who are just as committed to the mission as everyone who wears a uniform,” Flosi said. “Our civilian workforce brings stability and continuity. We cannot get an 80-year-old aircraft off the ground without experienced artisans, maintainers, craftsmen, engineers, you name it. Our differences complement us and make us stronger.”
The diversity of the workforce is what will help AFMC as it revolutionizes processes to be more prepared for the current strategic competition environment, Flosi said, but everyone must be willing to adapt to a different way of doing things.
“The People’s Republic of China is presenting us a challenge we have not seen in the modern military,” he said. “We need to transition to a force of the future, and change is hard. The way Air Force bureaucracy resists change is a challenge and … our senior leaders are focused on breaking through that resistance. We’ve got to take that very seriously.”
Flosi said one way to help Airmen devote full energy to the mission is to ensure their family needs are being met.
“If we send an Airman to an installation and they cannot find a safe and adequate education program for their children, then that has become their focus, and they are not focused on what they need to be focused on. We need to make sure we’re providing our Airmen and their families an environment where they can feel safe, thrive, and can take care of their families.”
Other challenges facing many enlisted Airmen today include pay and compensation that is responsive to the environment where they serve and health care, especially mental health care.
“That’s not unique to the military,” Flosi said. “That’s a national crisis. Demand exceeds supply, and we owe our Airmen ready access to health care that makes sure they’re resilient and ready, and that it supports their families, too.”
These and other challenges facing enlisted Airmen, such as housing allowance policies and temporary lodging issues, are being worked diligently by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and her senior enlisted leader council, Flosi said.
During the visit to Tinker, the command chiefs were each able to personally show their appreciation to several Airmen who are going the “extra mile.” The following Airmen received a coin from one of the leaders:
- Staff Sgt. Stephen Dwiggins, 546th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron
- Nicholas Simon, 544th Propulsion Maintenance Squadron
- Tech. Sgt. Joshua Dowding, 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group
- Senior Airman Aurelia Gilmer, 72nd Medical Support Squadron
- Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Tucker, 72nd Security Forces Squadron
- Senior Airman Khaliid Wainwright, 72nd Logistics Readiness Squadron