CHIEFchat: Cody addresses tuition assistance, slowing growth of pay and benefits

CHIEFchat: Cody addresses tuition assistance, slowing growth of pay and benefits

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. — During his latest CHIEFchat, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody put to rest rumors of changes to tuition assistance. He also discussed military pay and benefits, the growing cyberdomain, and master sergeant evaluation boards.

Despite what Airmen could potentially be reading or hearing, Cody said, “There are no specific discussions going on right now about anything to do with tuition assistance or our educational benefits from within the department.”

Cody said he, along with senior leadership, understands the importance of education; it is, for many service members, one of the top three reasons why they joined the military. The Air Force will continue to ensure technical training and professional military education programs are accredited.

“Our Airmen have seen some modifications over the last couple of years on how we’re going to make that a sustainable program,” Cody said of tuition assistance. “There’s no lack of commitment by the Air Force to continue to press forward and make sure there is funding available.”

Aside from tuition assistance, pay and benefits has been another area where Airmen have seen some recent changes.

Cody stressed that the Air Force has not cut anything from military basic pay, basic allowance for housing or basic allowance for subsistence, but the service needs to slow the growth in those areas.

“I think it’s important that we understand, between 2001 and 2012, our pay and benefits increased 40 percent,” Cody said. “I think everybody can appreciate we can’t sustain that kind of growth.”

He added that the slowing in growth in no way implies that Airmen and their families are not entitled to what they earn today.

“They have earned it,” Cody said.

The next topic Cody discussed is an area within the Air Force that he said is growing and will continue to grow — the cyber career field.

“The cyberdomain is constantly evolving, and trying to get on the front side of that curve is extremely challenging,” he said.

While it is challenging, Cody said he feels the Air Force is prepared, ready to respond and able to defeat any threats that exist. To identify and beat those threats, Cody said, the 1B4X1, Cyber Warfare Operations career field will grow from 200 Airmen to nearly 800 Airmen during the next two years.

For technical sergeants that will be meeting the master sergeant evaluation board, Cody stressed there’s nothing they should worry about — as expectations have remained the same.

“(We) haven’t added anything into what was required before — nothing,” Cody said. “We expect our Airmen to be working hard, doing their very best and we’re going to acknowledge that by looking at their records.”

Cody said the promotion boards came about because the Air Force wants to ensure it is promoting Airmen in the right order, not because it has been promoting the wrong Airmen.

CHIEFchat is a recurring initiative, designed to give Airmen around the world a direct connection to the chief master sergeant of the Air Force. The chief received questions via video message, social media outlets and from members of a studio audience.

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