BARKSALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. — Air Force Global Strike Command is dedicating 2017 to Airmen, their loved ones and the total force at large. We are calling this year “The Year of the Family,” and will focus our efforts on areas that greatly affect our Strikers and their families. These areas include where our Airmen live, learn, play, pray and receive care.
Last November, wing-level leadership from across the entire command met here at Barksdale to address issues that fall within these five areas. Their task: find solutions and best practices that would serve to kick off efforts for the year toward caring for our Airmen and families in AFGSC. Their plan will not only serve as the basis for the 2017, but will also serve as the foundation for quality-of-life programs for years to come.
The plan calls for implementing multiple strategies that fall within any given area, one of which being where Airmen live. Space available in housing and dormitories is an issue not lost on the command. It is not uncommon for some Airmen to commute hours from off base to get to work. In more remote areas, space available in billeting is simply nonexistent, an issue AFGSC vows to fix.
Education is also an issue. Many service members are voicing concerns over education opportunities for themselves and family members, according to recommendations provided by wing-level leadership. As of right now, The Year of the Family plan calls for solutions ranging from outreach to local leaders to the establishment of charter schools.
Fitness Centers, Entertainment Centers and Youth Programs have also come into focus. The command recognizes a need to upgrade these establishments so Airmen and their families can have a place to relax and re-energize without leaving base, especially in more remote areas. Many Airmen throughout the command have called attention to the need for upgraded facilities. The command is answering that call with a multi-faceted approach that tackles everything in this area, from gyms to base theaters.
The Year of the Family will also see an increased emphasis on spiritual health. Command leadership recognizes a need for retreats for both married and single Airmen as well as the need for overall spiritual wellness. The command also plans to expand existing programs and foster a sense of community among its members, according to The Year of the Family plan.
“Care” includes child care, special needs and access to specialty care for all members. Although AFGSC does not have a direct tie to many of the third-party administrators who provide this care, recommendations were clear in that efforts would be made to reach out through the appropriate channels to solve issues.
Air Force Global Strike’s mission also plays a role in these five areas. Gen. Robin Rand, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command recently discussed the increase in operational tempo and how this may result in increased burdens for service members and their families.
At any given moment, our Airmen are in four different combatant commands around the world deterring bad actors and striking our nation’s adversaries. They have also played a role in stopping trans-national crime. If anything is certain, we are not getting any less work. That is one of the reasons why this effort is so important. We have to make sure that our Airmen are not overburdened and that their families are well taken care of.
Air Force Global Strike Command will work to eliminate or minimize these burdens. Our Airmen are working around the clock and around the world to assure, deter and strike our nation’s adversaries. They deserve the best, something our command will work to make significant progress in “The Year of the Family.”