WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Materiel Command has launched a new initiative that aims to increase unit cohesion and connectedness by emphasizing a culture that holistically builds mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness across the enterprise.
AFMC Connect provides units and leaders with the time, tools and resources to foster a culture of continual communication, building resilient military and civilian Airmen able to operate at optimal levels as they aim for personal and professional success.
“This is a holistic approach that aims to strengthen our collective resilience, while reinforcing protective factors and reducing unwanted behaviors through deliberate and meaningful development,” said Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, AFMC Deputy Commander. “By focusing on our mission and building a shared purpose augmented by strong connections, our people will be in the best position to create the AFMC and Air Force we need.”
Driven by the Air Force Resilience Tactical Pause held in fall 2019, the AFMC Connect effort focuses on the importance relationships and communication in a resilient culture. Monthly training topics with tools and implementation guidance center on deliberate, leader-driven meaningful discussions.
“AFMC Connect offers leader-led discussions that incorporate the content normally delivered in mandatory training sessions,” said Jennifer Treat, chief, AFMC Integrated Prevention and Resilience. “The discussions are efficient, deliberately targeting specific protective factors and are tailorable for commanders to meet the individual needs of their installation populations. We want our leaders to have the freedom and flexibility to meet the needs of their own organizations within the context of the overall effort.”
Coordinators from AFMC say this delivery method aims at helping Airmen develop strong connections with leadership and one another as well as a shared purpose as an organization.
“We know that people feel the most comfortable and supported in their own spaces,” said Carolyn McCafferty, community support coordinator at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass
AFMC Connect integrates annual suicide awareness and bystander training for military and civilian employees, with implementation and tracking the responsibility of commanders at all levels. The short, 15-30 minute training sessions promote meaningful dialogue, leveraging personal accounts of resiliency to create and reinforce connections within organizations.
“The conversation happening in Security Forces will probably be different than what’s happening in an acquisition unit,” said McCafferty. “The real beauty of this effort is that the discussions are all rooted in the culture of the unit, and the team can determine what matters most to them.”
Resources and implementation guidance is available on the AFMC Connect page of the command website at https://www.afmc.af.mil/connect. An internal SharePoint page hosts additional content and training resources for use by leadership team and facilitators when conducting the monthly sessions. Leaders and participants are encouraged to provide feedback to the AFMC Connect team to help ensure the training, tools and resources are meeting command needs.
“The resiliency tactical pause was merely a starting point for continued conversation and dialogue between our leaders and teams. AFMC Connect provides an opportunity to continue this engagement as we grow more resilient personally and professionally,” said Schaefer. “Together we can cultivate and continue to grow a culture of caring across AFMC.”
(Editor’s note: 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs contributed to this article.)