AFCENT A1 gives time back to pre-deploying Airmen

AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR —

The U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate (A1) began the second phase of decreasing pre-deployment requirements for Airmen preparing to enter AFCENT’s area of responsibility. AFCENT Deployment Streamlining version 2.0 was released and became effective June 15, 2018.

In March 2018, the first phase began with the reduction of the 23 page AFCENT Reporting Instructions document, reducing it to nine pages. The second phase further reduces the amount of checklist items deploying Airmen must complete, greater extends the currency of computer based training and streamlines local reporting instructions for countries in the AOR.

“The intent was to make policies and processes that said less but meant more,” said Maj. Tamekia Payne, AFCENT A1 (forward) deputy director. “It gives people their time back; it pushes authorities down to the right levels.”

The updated pre-deployment checklist has been reduced even further by incorporating a medical portion. Originally, medical pre-deployment requirements were in the form of a six page stand alone document. Under the new version, the medical portion is now part of a streamlined one-page AFCENT checklist.

Other improvements to AFCENT’s pre-deployment process included reducing the amount of time Airmen spend completing computer based training. Previously, AFCENT extended the “shelf life” of most training by considering training current on deployment as being current through the term of the deployment. The Air Force’s Cyber Enterprise gave approval for the Cyber Awareness Challenge Training course to also be handled this way. Now, Unit Training Managers are directed to update a deploying Airman’s training to be valid through the term of the deployment plus 30 days after they return. By doing this, the member has less training to be concerned with, and more free time to focus on family and mission related tasks.

“Everything we did in our reduction of training and making training count through the term of the deployment was adopted as the Air Force’s standard for all AORs,” said Col. Devin Statham, AFCENT’s Director of Manpower, Personnel, and Services at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. “Essentially, the Air Force took our model and expanded it to every deployment worldwide.”

A final change during this phase includes location specific reporting instructions being edited dramatically. Previously, there were 35 different reporting instructions, with each locale providing its own version of information. Sometimes this information was not integral to the deployment process, and often contained information found elsewhere. With the new update, each country will only have one set of reporting instructions that will be limited to include points of contacts for each respective unit and the minimum information necessary to facilitate transitioning from home station to the deployed workspace. Local Reporting Instructions have been cut from 35 to 13 with a page count being reduced from 295 to merely 40.

These changes continue to be an on-going process in order to evolve and better fit Airmen’s needs.

“This isn’t really anything dramatically different then what we have done before,” said Statham. “We are just doubling down on our efforts, giving more time back, reducing guidance and empowering commanders to make decisions.”