A1 Next: Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate transformation embraces holistic reform

A1 Next is Air Force Reserve Command’s Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate’s transformation plan to better serve Airmen’s human resource and manning needs.

A1 Next is Air Force Reserve Command’s Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate’s transformation plan to better serve Airmen’s human resource and manning needs.

As part of the Air Force Reserve’s efforts to reform the organization, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, commander of Air Force Reserve Command and chief of the Air Force Reserve, directed transformation of the AFRC’s A1 manpower, personnel and services directorate to better serve Airmen’s human resource and manning needs.

“We know how hard our A1 team works to take care of our Airmen in the field, but we also know we aren’t structured or resourced as efficiently and effectively as we can be,” said Scobee.

“Thus, I’ve empowered AFRC/A1 and the Human Capital Management Leadership Team to begin holistic transformation of A1 programs and processes.”

With a renewed National Defense Strategy focus on readiness, A1 reform aligns with Scobee’s strategic priorities for the Air Force Reserve: accelerate readiness and strategic depth, reform the organization, and build resilient leaders.

Beginning in March, A1 leadership focused efforts on holistic, total reform of the structure, duties, processes and programs within the directorate.

“Called ‘A1 Next,’ this effort is designed to better fuel our human weapon system - our Airmen - to win America’s wars,” said Col. Lisa Craig, AFRC A1 director.

“My strategic intent to the A1 and process improvement teams is to ensure this transformation reforms current programs, policies and practices to meet the needs of our two customers: Airmen and combatant commanders,” Craig added.

What does this mean for Airmen in the field?

“It means we heard you – your struggles and complaints with the A1 organization – and are going to do our best to improve your Airman experience,” Craig said.

Focused along four main lines of effort, A1 Next aims to:

Execute the mission through ready faces and ready spaces

Provide deliberate, responsible and relevant communication that builds partnerships

Equip and empower Airmen for greater success

Leverage transformation and innovation of data, systems and the A1 organization to synchronize and prioritize efforts

AFRC’s Special Projects management office, CDX, focuses on enterprise-wide reform initiatives and was directed by Scobee and the AFRC executive steering group to assist in A1’s transformation efforts.

“From digital transformation of data, systems and processes to a complete organizational restructuring, everything is on the table as A1 works towards realigning resources with workload priorities,” said CDX senior program manager Brett “Skipper” Clark.

“The goal is to streamline processes to improve Airmen’s lives,” senior program manager Steve Hohnadel added.

Many new initiatives have already kicked off across the command, to include A1 manning during UTA weekends to assist the field, improvement in the incapacitation pay process, mobilization orders timeline reductions, and a plan to centralize ART hiring to reduce vacancies and lengthy hiring timelines.

“Everything the A1 community does touches the career of every Airman in some way, so if we don’t get it right, everyone suffers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Janice Kallinen, 446th Force Support Squadron superintendent, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.  “Resourcing the organizations with the full-time career assistance advisor, civilian personnel and manpower liaison positions is one A1 initiative that has enabled us to focus on the mission and provide better support to our customers, our Airmen.”

Other ongoing A1 initiatives, such as the enlisted force grade structure review, implementation of the Air Force Integrated Pay and Personnel System, and manpower studies for force support squadrons and commander support staff manning, aim to enable readiness and improve professional resiliency across the Air Force Reserve.

“While we are continuously improving the way do business in A1, where we are really trying to improve is in communications,” said Dana Whiddon, A1’s manpower division chief. “A1 has always been focused on our customers, but now we are focused on doing a better job of communicating to our customers – and we’ve incorporated that need and understanding into our A1 transformation efforts,” Whiddon added.

Kallinen agrees. “Being an FSS superintendent for nine years, I’ve seen more communication and support from A1 over the last two years than ever before.”

While reform takes time, A1 leadership plans to provide regular communication on transformation progress and changes to current programs and policies.

“Transparent, consistent communication to leadership, our force support squadrons and our Airmen is vital to building trust and educating change,” said Craig. “Your A1 family is fully committed to transparent, timely communication of progress, efforts and changes that affect you.”

As the A1 directorate continues to improve, adapt, reform and communicate with the field, events and tools like the quarterly A1 town halls, ART to AGR town halls, commanders action boards, A1 newsletters, A1 messages and MyPers messages all serve to further educate Reserve Citizen Airmen on their continuously improving Airmen experience.

“I have no doubt this AFRC/A1 strategic re-alignment will assure generations of combat ready Airmen by delivering proactive, effective manpower, personnel and services expertise,” said Scobee.

For more information on the A1 Next initiatives, visit https://www.afrc.af.mil/About-Us/A1-Next/.   #ReserveReform