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Force Development : Assess, Mentor, Develop

FRESNO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. --

Chief Master Sgt. Lauren WilliamsWhen you hear the phrase “Force Development”, what comes to mind for you?  Do you think about Professional Military Education, CDC’s, or OJT (On the Job Training)? Over the past few weeks I have been talking to Airmen from all over the 144th Fighter Wing, the answers are consistent from E-1 to O-6, yet everyone has different opinions in regard to Force Development. For the past few years I have increasingly heard this term used quite often, whether in PME, meetings or from a guest speaker, yet the intent and what it actually looks like day to day seemingly varies within the different Squadrons of any given Wing. 

The definition of Air Force Development per the Virtual Force Development Center is as follows: Assess, Mentor and Develop.  There are also three pillars which are Education, Training and Experience. What does this mean to you as an Airman or as a potential mentor? The development of our Airmen is one of the aspects that make up intentional Force Development in today’s Air Force and its ever changing environment. Over the past year with all of the challenges that COVID has presented, I have personally had the opportunity to assess and observe the strengths of Airmen from all over our Wing, who have stepped out of their comfort zones and demonstrated their talent and abilities in response to an ever changing mission without hesitation. 2020 was certainly full of unforeseen challenges but it was also full of opportunity from a Force Development standpoint; countless new challenges, experiences and strain were put on all of us but with that came chances to succeed, develop and mentor each other along the way.  Out of a global pandemic and countless tasking’s came a chance to develop each other in ways that we could not have predicted. 

Ensuring that we are continually assessing, mentoring and developing our Airmen to ensure that they are ready for that next task, step or responsibility is of the utmost importance. Whether you are encouraging a Tech. Sgt. to volunteer for a Professional Development Opportunity or you are tasking an Airman First Class to read a promotion order during a promotion ceremony, you are intentionally Force Developing that Airman.  I challenge each and every one of you to continually seek opportunities that foster Force Development, for your Airmen and yourselves. Be the change that you want to see, clearly define the expectations, hold Airmen to standards and deliberately develop their individual skills and abilities. Investing time into ourselves and our Airmen is always a worthwhile venture and will strengthen your work center, Squadron and the 144th Fighter Wing.