CMSAF visits MacDill, empowers Airmen to accelerate change

Source: United States Air Force

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass arrived on the MacDill Air Force Base’s flight line where she was welcomed by Col. Adam Bingham, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, Aug. 3-4.

Bass held an all-call for members of MacDill AFB and the base’s tenant units and toured the base to witness the 6th ARW Airmen executing the mission.

Bass spoke about readiness and retaining enlisted members during her address to the wing.

“I’m focused on people, I’m focused on our readiness, and I’m focused on culture, because that matters,” Bass said. “There is nothing that is important to you and important to your families that, I promise you, we are not looking at. We have to be thoughtful on how we are going to retain the best, and how we are going to be the Air Force our nation needs when called upon.”

Bass last visited MacDill for the CORONA South summit in June 2021 where she spoke about future policy changes for enlisted and commissioned officer talent management, Total Force structure, and the importance of innovation from junior enlisted members and young company grade officers to accelerate change. Bass reinforced her message from CORONA South during her recent visit. 

“Our adversaries pay attention to the things we say and do,” Bass said. “We have got to focus on what our Air Force needs to look like in 2030, 2040 and beyond. I think you are going to see more changes in the next four to six years than I’ve seen in my entire almost 30-year career, and it’s about time.” 

After the all-call, Bass stopped by U.S. Special Operations Command, Airman Leadership School and the 6th Maintenance Group to engage with Airmen. 

“Chief Bass brought a lot of energy with her to MacDill,” Bingham said. “We are committed to prioritizing the needs of our Airmen and contributing towards accelerating the change she spoke about.” 

Dyess Rapid Airman Development Program bolsters skills, improves sense of community

Source: United States Air Force

When it comes to developing the future force, leaders need to account for training, development, recruitment and retention of personnel. 

Developing Airmen for the future fight takes a combination of completing official career field training requirements and building an Air Force community to socialize the joint and foreign skills needed to meet upcoming demands. At Dyess Air Force Base, Maj. Jeremy Martin, 7th Bomb Wing deputy judge advocate, noticed in his work that Airmen who struggled to find community often found themselves in trouble in the legal office instead. He decided to take action by establishing Rapid Airman Development. 

Dyess AFB RAD was created as an answer to the Defense Department’s need for joint trained warfighters and Dyess AFB’s local need for Airmen’s sense of community. RAD henceforth became a program built for Airmen across ranks, career fields and background to bolster skills through a combination of physical challenges, academic programs and culturally immersive partnerships. 

“The Air Force has so many resources available to Airmen when it comes to professional development, fitness and education, but until now, there was no integrated community for our Airmen to encounter these resources in tandem,” Martin said. 

Airmen across Dyess AFB have had the chance to engage in a variety of opportunities to include Marine Martial Arts training, Norwegian Ruck Marches, language training classes, Army Air Assault, Army Airborne and even the German Proficiency Badge since the program’s inception. 

Tech. Sgt. Hayden Kroff, noncommissioned officer in charge of RAD, has been stationed at Dyess AFB for over six years. He first learned of the Norwegian Foot March in fall of 2021 and said, “When I learned about RAD, I was all over it. This program has reinforced my warrior ethos and enabled me to build critical networks inside and outside of the 7th (Bomb Wing).” 

Kroff has earned two foreign badges and two sister service qualifications including Army Airborne and Army Air Assault since joining RAD. 

“Most importantly, these opportunities have postured a group of everyday Airmen to communicate effectively in the joint environment and offer skills that inherently support the agile combat employment concept,” Kroff said. 

There are currently 20 active members involved with RAD and according to the officer in charge of the program, Capt. Manuel Lamson, interest has only increased. 

“Many Airmen are interested in bettering themselves outside of the workplace while becoming better leaders and people,” Lamson said. “We are glad to see interest in the program grow, not only at Dyess, but at other military bases too.” 

Most recently RAD sponsored a capstone trip to the Netherlands where Airmen learned battle history in a staff ride and competed in the Vierdaagse Four Days March challenge at Kamp Heumensoord, Netherlands. 

While in Holland, Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Coltrin, 7th BW command chief, witnessed the growth of Dyess AFB Airmen. 

“RAD drives pride and confidence in Airmen,” Coltrin said. “By going on the staff ride, Airmen got to analyze the philosophy behind warfighting. Then, when we took on the arduous task of the 80-mile ruck march, I got to see our Airmen translate philosophy into action.” 

I’ve seen RAD set a foundation in leadership that Airmen will build upon the remainder of their careers,” Coltrin added. “In accomplishing what they did, they are bringing international acclaim to the warriors of West Texas.”     

RAD started as a 7th BW sponsored program, but that does not mean it has to stay there. Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th BW commander, sees RAD as an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for Airmen across the installation. 

“We are professional, innovative Airmen delivering decisive combat power for our nation – Rapid Airman Development strengthens our Airmen to deal with the adversity and uncertainty of the next fight,” Kramer said. 

To get involved in RAD, Dyess Airmen can visit the Air Force Connect App, add Dyess AFB as a “favorite” and sign up for events under “Airman Development” module.

Tactical care makes casualties rare

Source: United States Air Force

As of July 2022, Self-Aid Buddy Care, a series of techniques used to provide basic care to wounded Airmen before they get to a medical facility, is no longer being taught. SABC was replaced by Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a training which implements the best medical practices in battlefield trauma care.

TCCC was created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The committee is composed of 42 voting members across the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. These members utilize research data and real-world expertise to develop the best practices to be used for medical response.

“The committee sits down and looks at what is and isn’t working,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Madry, 325th Medical Group noncommissioned officer in charge of education and training. “They do research and compare it to (previous wartimes). After evaluating the numbers, TCCC is shown to save more lives.”

The actions of first responders or a fellow wingman are often the difference between life or death after an Airman is injured on the battlefield.

“Switching to TCCC gives us a wider variety of skills that can be utilized on the battlefield,” said Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician. “It’s not just because this can be better used in real-world scenarios, but because there may not always be medics available. This allows the average Airman the ability to provide a basic level of life-saving care.”

Looking at previous versions of pre-hospital care, it shows massive hemorrhages are the leading cause of preventable deaths across the Department of Defense. Because of this, TCCC trainers use the acronym “MARCH” when teaching the necessary life-saving skills. MARCH helps members remember which order to provide care to increase the chances of survivability.

“The five skills associated with TCCC are ‘M’ for massive bleeding, ‘A’ for airway and resuscitation, ‘R’ for respiration, ‘C’ for circulation and ‘H’ for hypothermia,” Vicks added. “Because people can die from massive bleeding and hemorrhages at a faster rate, that needs to be addressed first. There’s no point in treating hypothermia if someone dies from blood loss.”

Another change associated with the switch to TCCC is the teaching style. Aside from some instructional videos, TCCC is primarily taught hands-on.

“My favorite part of training TCCC is the hands-on skills training,” Vicks continued. “Personally, I think you learn more from a hands-on environment versus written training. I will work with you until you pass and have the necessary skills.”

While SABC and TCCC are both designed to provide immediate care, Staff Sgt. Eric Dowell, 325th MDG NCOIC of education and training, described TCCC as SABC “on steroids.” Since TCCC has been developed, the U.S. military currently has the best casualty survival rate recorded in history. TCCC is now the accepted pre-hospital care across the DoD and 100% of active-duty members are slated to be trained on TCCC by August 2023 with a goal of zero preventable deaths.

Hill AFB captures first Air Force EOD national title

Source: United States Air Force

The winners of three competitive regional events designed to test and enhance the readiness capabilities of explosive ordnance disposal teams across the Air Force settled the score with Hill Air Force Base, Utah, earning the inaugural Air Force EOD National Team of the Year title this week in Indiana.

Three previously-held EOD events – the Southeast Region, West Region and Air Force Global Strike Command competitions – culminated in the grand finale, which challenged the Hill AFB team with EOD teams from Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, to compete and determine the Air Force national champion.

Hill AFB’s 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight emerged as this year’s Team of the Year Grand Finale winner. The team will represent the Air Force at the U.S. Bomb Technician Association’s Top Bomb Technician Competition in November.

“We were challenged with scenarios that were much more complex and advanced than those we faced at regionals,” said Tech. Sgt. Johnathan Page, 775th EOD flight team leader.

Holding the EOD championship event at Indiana’s Muscatatuck Urban Training Center placed competitors in “realistic, unfamiliar urban environments like those some of us have faced in the past, some of us are facing now and some of us will face in the future,” Page said. “Winning required thinking outside the box and a major reliance on the entire team working together, knowing not only our own jobs but each other’s. Our win was only possible because of the ingenuity and steadfast dedication of my team members.”

More than a year of planning at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center went into establishing the pilot program for competitive EOD events. With AFIMSC’s support, the program will expand to 10 events in 2023 – eight regionals, one AFGSC competition and a final national event. 
 

“Our job at AFIMSC is to provide installation and mission support capabilities, which EOD technicians need to conduct their missions effectively,” said Master Sgt. John Johnson, resource analyst with AFIMSC’s Emergency Services Branch and event coordinator. “This competition allows us to do that by bringing in teams from across the Air Force to compete at one location, so we are able to get a first-hand view of our readiness levels, identify gaps and opportunities, and find better ways to serve the career field.”

“With this being a pilot program, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew that the mission set was going to be based on our mission areas and we would face scenarios that are tailored to that,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Tran, EOD team leader for the Southeast Region winners from Little Rock AFB. 
 
“At the regional event, there were a lot of fundamentals tested. It was key that we were good at the fundamentals and had a good solid base. Here, it’s ramped up quite a bit. There is more detail in the planning and execution of the scenarios,” Tran said. “It’s very clear that they did a lot of research and work to put all these events together, but it’s great, it’s great to use our skills.” 
 
“This was a full-spectrum competition covering eight of the nine Air Force EOD mission areas with scenarios that tested basic EOD skills like reconnaissance, x-ray diagnostics, robot maneuvering, explosive demolition and constructing protective works,” Johnson said. “These teams are the best of the best; they showed up and put their best skills on display. We saw a lot of critical thinking, creativity, ingenuity and everything you would expect to see from our best technicians. I’m excited for the future of this program.”

Johnson said the goal for next year is to include all active, Guard and Reserve EOD flights, and in subsequent years, expand it to U.S. Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commands. 
 
“This is something we’ve been working on for a few years, so to have it coming to fruition here in this first-ever Air Force level EOD event is a big deal,” said Chief Master Sgt. Vandiver Hood, EOD career field manager at the Air Force Civil Engineer Readiness Division, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. “At Headquarters Air Force, we’re always looking at how we can get a big picture look at the quality of training and preparation we are providing our EOD teams, and with events like this, AFIMSC is providing us with a clear view.”

Inaugural aviation training proves success for Air Force psychologists

Source: United States Air Force

The Air Force implemented new training for aviation psychologists that aims to increase the psychologists’ knowledge of aviation training and practices. One of the many aspects of Air Force Aviation Psychology is focused on resiliency and readiness of its aircrews’ daily activities by addressing the human factors involved in safe and effective performance. Enhanced understanding of pilot training and the human performance demands on aircrew will facilitate improved ability for these psychologists to accomplish their mission.

The service conducted the 14-day flight training for the Aviation Psychology Introductory Course at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. This course is the first time the Air Force has given direct aviation training to psychologists. Aviation psychologists total strength is now at seven, with four more in the pipeline.

“We are so excited! The Aviation Psychology Program’s first APIC class brings to fruition a concept long in development in the USAF, to have psychologists trained to look at not only the human factor of ‘why’ do aviation mishaps occur, but what aircrew-specific needs could be fulfilled by trained psychologists,” said Maj. Nancy DeLaney, recent Aviation Psychology human factors and human performance expert at the Air Force Safety Center. “The typical psychologist doesn’t ‘speak’ aviation, so this course is meant to provide an orientation to that culture as well as practical understanding of the human performance demands and skills utilized in aviation.”

Air Force Aviation Psychology applies traditional psychology principles, methods, and techniques to individual and group issues within the flying community. It expands upon the standard practice of military psychology to include components of community and occupational health psychology.

The Aviation Psychology program provides an opportunity for credentialed psychologists to be immersed in the flying community to better understand and mitigate the behavioral, emotional, and physical strain aircrew experience in the performance of their duties. They may be involved in counseling or wellness services, development or optimization of training programs, flying assessments or even a member of a mishap investigation board working to explain the human factors that contributed to an accident.

“In addition to psychological knowledge, you want an Aviation Psychologist to have an in-depth understanding of the aviation field, and to be trained in the Air Force Medical Standards to ensure anything medical or mental health-related has an expert looking at the aeromedical risk disposition,” DeLaney said. “However, I think the most essential aspect of Aviation Psychology is optimization of aircrew performance.”

DeLaney also outlined the need for involvement in the aircrew training process, understanding the challenges in the training pipeline, and looking at what human factors impact each aspect of the aircrew and the specific aircraft. This includes everything from design and assessment to operational task improvement.

Dr. Timothy Strongin, a retired colonel and a pioneer Air Force Aviation Psychologist, was on hand to provide his thoughts to the first APIC class going through the flight training.

“The aviation psychologist’s job is to support the Air Force’s mission any way they can,” Strongin said. “We do this by ensuring the aviator’s mental health, like physical health, is at peak performance when the task comes.”

“The more aware an individual is of their own condition, the condition of their friends and its interaction with the environment, the better decisions they can make to minimize risks,” Strongin said. “We can identify opportunities to reduce risk while enhancing performance.”

The class was made up of one Army and four Air Force psychologists who were able to observe undergraduate pilot training, daily operations, interact with aircrew, and fly in the various aircraft to understand sentiment and struggles as well as incorporate practical experience from experts.

“As an aeromedical psychologist or aviation psychologist, we need to be present with those that we are to serve in the unit,” said Lt. Col. Tracy Durham, School of Aviation Medicine, Fort Rucker, Alabama. “Having been co-located with Air Force units in the deployed environment on a couple of occasions, I have found that there is an inter-service need for aeromedical psychologists to provide assistance to aircrew.”

The intent of the program is to integrate these psychologists into large training and operational flying units and place them on aeronautical orders to better understand and support the mission needs of those organizations.

“Aviation psychologists get to do all of the most fun things within the Air Force,” DeLaney said. “We are able to be proficient in aviation and do what we need to do to optimize the aircrew, flying on the aircraft on our installation to monitor the human factors present in training and current aviation, and impacting mission, policy and training for the better.”

Air Force psychologists who want to apply for the Aviation Psychology Fellowship can do so through the Air Force Institute of Technology. It is a competitive selection process accepting one to two positions per cycle and train for a full year in aviation. Alternately, the designator can be earned by receiving supervised training in a specified position after three years.

SecAF visits Nellis AFB, touts Warfare Center’s role in future fight

Source: United States Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall visited Nellis Air Force Base to see the culmination of exercise Red Flag-Nellis 22-3, July 28.

For 47 years, Red Flag participants have been presented with the latest in adversary tactics and the most challenging training scenarios to ensure their survivability in real conflict. Red Flag 22-3 took that tradition to a new level by presenting warfighters even tougher problem sets focused on peer competitors’ capabilities.

“We have a high-end peer competitor problem now, and these exercises are enormously valuable in getting people ready to take on that challenge. Our response to this challenge also includes agile combat employment as part of our approach to dealing with the high-end threat,” Kendall said.

Before this iteration of Red Flag, the 65th Aggressor Squadron was reactivated to provide a dedicated fifth-generation adversary for our forces and allies to train against.

“It’s critically important that we have training that emulates the kind of adversary that our Airmen might actually have to face,” Kendall said.

During his visit, Kendall learned about the mission of the 414th Combat Training Squadron, Red Flag, and toured various facilities including the Virtual Test and Training Center, the Shadow Operations Center-Nellis, and the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron’s Data Lab.

“I saw a lot here that is going to influence where we’re going,” Kendall said. “We’ve long had an advantage in the sophistication and robustness of our training, I saw some examples of that while I was here.”

Kendall emphasized, “I also saw some things that are pointing out the direction to the future and where we need to go to advance our capabilities even further.”

The Secretary also applauded the USAFWC’s Pacing Challenge Campaign Plan as vital to focusing test, training and tactics development on the future fight.

“The USAF Warfare Center ensures Airmen have the best integrated and advanced training, most capable and operationally agile equipment, and most effective tactics available to conduct joint, all-domain combat operations,” Kendall said.

Around the Air Force: Around the Air Force: Next Chief of Space Operations, New COVID-19 Vaccine, GearFit

Source: United States Air Force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Britt Crolley
  • Air Force TV

In this week’s look around the Air Force, Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman is nominated to be the new chief of space operations, a new COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for service members, and Airmen can provide feedback on armor and other gear through the GearFit application. (Hosted by Tech. Sgt. Britt Crolley)

For previous episodes, click here for the Air Force TV page.

Related links:
Lt. Gen. Chance Saltzman nominated to be next Space Force CSO
Air Force prepares for newly approved COVID-19 vaccine: Novavax provides new option for unvaccinated Airmen, Guardians
GearFit shortens feedback loop

SecAF receives F-35 engine update at Tinker AFB

Source: United States Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall visited Tinker Air Force Base July 28 for an update on the base’s support to the F-35 Lightning engine program.

Kendall received an update on F135 engine maintenance and modernization prior to receiving a firsthand look at the F135 engine repair line, housed within the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex — the Defense Department’s largest maintenance, repair and overhaul activity supporting a diverse aircraft, engine and software workload for the Air Force, Navy and partner nations. The OC-ALC is part of a public-private partnership with Pratt and Whitney, which establishes the framework for providing maintenance on the F135 engine.

His tour of the F135 engine repair line highlighted the repair process and showcased numerous process improvements implemented by the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group to reduce production times from 244 days in 2021 to a current average of 105 days.

The OC-ALC leadership team is also focused on finding innovative ways to cut overall costs of sustainment for the F-35’s engines.

“The efforts by the men and women of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex to repair F135 engine modules faster and more efficiently is beginning to address the gap between where F-35 sustainment currently is and where it needs to be,” Kendall said. “These professionals and their innovative approaches will help us meet the demands of our nation’s security.”

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex acted quickly to increase its capacity to accommodate an unexpected volume of F135 engines and complexity of repairs, both of which exceeded what the depot had been activated to support at that time. With the aid of Art of the Possible, a constraints-based management system, constraints were quickly identified and mitigated, resulting in dramatically improved support for the warfighter.

“Through the use of Art of the Possible, we identified workload bottlenecks that slowed F135 production and set out to find innovative solutions to eliminate them,” said Col. Timothy Beck, 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group commander. “Changes were made to almost every facet of the processes in order increase production capacity and reduce flow time. We made significant improvements to the inspection process, technician training, engineering response times, technical data, tooling and even the design of the shop floor — and we’re not done improving the process.”

The process improvement efforts enabled OC-ALC to grow its F135 workforce from 79 just over a year ago to 103 today, and with more hiring rounds to come as the unit doubles its production capacity over the next few years.

Kendall also made time to recognize and coin several outstanding Airmen doing great things at Tinker AFB, before departing to continue his trip which included additional stops at Nellis AFB and Creech AFB.

Air Force Reserve welcomes its new commander

Source: United States Air Force

Lt. Gen. John Healy received command of the Air Force Reserve Command from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., during a change of command ceremony at Robins Air Force Base, Aug. 3.

The change of command ceremony followed Healy’s promotion ceremony where he was promoted from major general to lieutenant general.

Healy took command from Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, outgoing AFRC commander, who is retiring after 36 years of service. As the new commander, Healy will have full responsibility for 74,000 Reserve Airmen and civilians at three numbered air forces, one space wing, 33 flying wings, 12 flying groups and other subordinate units. As chief of Air Force Reserve, he will serve as principal adviser on reserve matters to the secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force chief of staff.

“For the men and women of the Air Force Reserve, you fill that unique role of bringing diverse strengths and experiences gained from your dual civilian and military identities — not just to one area, but to everything we provide the nation,” Brown said. “I’m thankful for the professionalism, capability and competency of the Reserve Airmen here at Air Force Reserve Command.”

Brown shared some words of praise and encouragement with Healy.

“John, in every role, you’ve led our Air Force and Airmen to remarkable success,” Brown said. “I’m excited for you to have this opportunity to pour your immense talent and dedication to leading the professionals of the Air Force Reserve. I look forward to watching the Air Force Reserve Command continue to grow and thrive under your steady hand.”
Following receipt of the guidon, Healy gave his first address at Robins’ Museum of Aviation as the new commander of AFRC.

“We’re in a great place thanks to your steady leadership,” Healy said to Scobee. “And I’m all-in to continue down the path that you so ably set out in front of us. My priorities and goals are going to be pretty basic and straightforward — ready now, transforming for the future.”

Healy entered the Air Force in 1989, receiving his commission from the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Connecticut. He has not only commanded at the squadron, group, wing and numbered Air Force levels, but has served in a variety of high-level positions — with the most recent being deputy to the chief of Air Force Reserve, at the Pentagon. The general is a command pilot with more than 5,000 military hours and 402 combat hours in the T-37, T-38, C-141B, C-17A and C-5A/B. Healy has also flown for the civilian airline industry, logging flight time on the Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320.

Brown made a special presentation to Janis Scobee, who was awarded the Distinguished Public Service award for her outstanding support and mentorship of the families during Scobee’s time serving as commander.

During Scobee’s final address to the command he said all he was able to accomplish within the command during his time was due to the excellence of his team and the Reserve Airmen serving alongside him.

“There has been no point in my career more meaningful than this and it’s all because of you,” Scobee said.

Department of the Air Force to launch Integrated Response Co-Location Pilot program, outlines initiatives to support sexual assault, harassment survivors

Source: United States Air Force

The Department of the Air Force launched the Integrated Response Co-Location Pilot program at seven installations on Aug. 1 to evaluate the effectiveness of a new, more holistic approach for responding and assisting survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking, and cyber harassment.

This pilot program will run for six months and centralize five key support services to simplify access and the advocacy processes for Airmen and Guardians. The five services that will physically co-locate are:

– Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
– Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate
– Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate
– Victim’s Counsel
– Religious Support Team

“This is about supporting victims, plain and simple,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, who directed the establishment of the co-location pilot. “Co-locating support services for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of interpersonal violence is meant to help victims easily navigate available resources. We’re committed to increasing awareness of response services, minimizing the number of times a victim has to tell their story, and collecting the data to improve response and prevention efforts.”

The performance of the pilot program will be measured and evaluated by comparing the seven pilot installations against seven “control bases,” which do not have the new approach. These installations were selected based on the population’s diversity, expressed interest by the major command, and ability to execute the co-location approach. Additional implementation procedures for each installation will be disseminated to the following seven participating installations:

– Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
– Vandenberg Space Force Base, California
– Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia
– Hill Air Force Base, Utah
– Misawa Air Base, Japan
– RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom
– Offutt AFB, Nebraska

The pilot program is the latest in a series of comprehensive reforms by the Department of the Air Force to change policies and practices to better identify sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and domestic violence cases. The goal is to increase overall awareness, accessibility, and support to survivors through healing-centric services to prevent re-victimization.

“We are committed to increasing overall awareness, accessibility, and support to survivors through physical co-location of centralized support,” said Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services. “Integrating these services allows us to enhance survivors’ healing and simplifies the advocacy process.”

The Department of the Air Force has also taken deliberate and substantive actions to address sexual assault, sexual harassment, and interpersonal violence, which the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, the DAF Interpersonal Violence Task Force Report, Racial Disparity Review, Disparity Review and Disparity Review Addendum identified.

Updated discharge criteria for sexual assault
The new comprehensive policy, DAF Instruction 36-3211: Military Separations, published in June 2022, explicitly states members who commit sexual assault will face mandatory initiation of discharge, and only if certain limited circumstances exist, can a member be considered for an exception to the presumption of discharge.

Exceptions to discharge are not allowed in the following circumstances:

– The sexual assault involved a child.
– The sexual assault involved a sexual act (i.e., an offense involving penetration).
– The sexual assault involved force or threat of force, the victim was incapable of consenting, or the assault involved false representation by the subject.
– The sexual assault involved an abuse of rank or authority.
– The member has a prior substantiated allegation of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
– The member’s continued presence in the DAF is inconsistent with good order and discipline and promoting a culture of safety and respect.

Additionally, the criteria that focused on how likely a member was to engage in a future act of sexual assault was removed.

Established Office of Special Trial Counsel
The Department of the Air Force established an Office of Special Trial Counsel June 15, led by an O-7 judge advocate who reports directly to the Secretary of the Air Force.

OSTC will have the exclusive authority to refer and prosecute covered offenses committed on or after Dec. 28, 2023, such as murder, sexual offenses, and other serious crimes.

The office will include litigators who completed an extensive selection process. The Judge Advocate General personally designates each Special Trial Counsel based on their experience litigating sexual assault cases, successful completion of the STC Qualification Course, a certification interview, and upon recommendation of a panel of previously certified prosecutors.

The Department of the Air Force held its first STC Qualification Course in May, and The Judge Advocate General of the Department of the Air Force personally certified the first team of STCs.

The goals of the new office are to provide expert prosecution support, strengthen communication with victims, streamline the investigation and trial process to decrease case processing time, and continue to develop expert litigators.

Implemented sexual harassment as UCMJ offense
The Department of the Air Force is utilizing the newly enumerated Article 134 offense in investigations and prosecutions of sexual harassment and educating the force on its punitive nature. Previously, the Department of the Air Force handled allegations of sexual harassment under various articles, such as Article 92, Dereliction of Duty, or Article 133, Conduct Unbecoming an Officer. Under Article 134, commanders will have a specific Uniform Code of Military Justice offense to directly address the seriousness of this misconduct.

As of April 2022, commanders must notify victims of administrative action results in alleged sex-related cases not proceeding to court-martial. The category of required victim notifications expanded from “alleged sexual assaults” to any “alleged sex-related offenses.”

No later than December 2023, commanders will be required to forward, to the extent practicable, allegations of sexual harassment to independent investigators within 72 hours.

Each of these efforts is supported by an Executive Order signed in January by President Joe Biden. The Executive Order also strengthens the military justice response in prosecuting domestic violence cases and fully implements changes to the military justice code to criminalize the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images.