BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
It's not easy doing things the right way. It means saying no to non-qualifying work. It means taking time, not rushing through to inflate output. It means doing things right, and that dedication to quality work is why Air Reserve Personnel Center Joint Officer Management is seeing a high return on joint package submissions.
"We make it a point to send up the best packages possible to Joint Staff JOM for our officers," said Sara Simms, JOM service manager. "That means we do a lot of work to make sure the packages are as good as we can get them."
That work often means sending packages submitted to ARPC JOM back to their submitters.
"We won't just forward packages up to Joint Staff JOM," said Simms. "We prescreen every package. If they don't meet the qualifications for joint credit, we deny them on the spot. If they do qualify but just don't have a strong enough package, we'll contact them and help them work their package so they have the best chance of getting credit."
That care for the quality of Reserve packages means a higher percentage of return than years past, and better ensures that reservists deserving of credit receive it.
"I read each package, validate what the officer inputs in the Joint Manpower Information System and then I determine if the preponderance of their duties meets the definition of joint matters," said Simms. "If after my research and validation using the provided support documents, I don't see strategic work, I deny the package at the service manager level. If I see something that sounds like it should go forward, I work with the officer on better wording choices or to provide the proper documents so the JOM panel can vote on their package. It is back and forth communication with the officer until ... we, feel the package is sufficient to go forward."
Working carefully with each applicant who didn't submit it properly isn't part of Simms' job description. It's something she chose to do to help Reserve officers, their careers, and the Air Force Reserve.
"It is the right thing to do," said Simms. "If (Lt.) Gen. (James) Jackson is saying that joint experience is one of the four pillars, it is my responsibility to make sure the officer has the best chance possible to have their package approved by the Joint Staff JOM panel."
Simms's diligence in helping officers prepare their packages isn't merely ideological, but pragmatic, too.
"By having joint qualified officers in the Air Force Reserve, we are able to deploy or work in joint environments without a lot of spin up time," said Simms. "The officer can report to duty and be ready to go; not have to learn the language of the other services prior to accomplishing the mission."
Members with packages for JOM credit must submit within one year of performing that duty. In order to have the best chance of receiving credit, submitters should take note of these five important considerations.
- Clearly write WHAT and HOW the work you did led to a unified action.
- Ensure most of your duties were performed at the strategic level. - Operational and tactical level work such as duties in line with care and feeding of troops do not qualify for joint credit.
- Review and follow the JOM Handbook when writing your package. - The handbook is located on the myPers JOM page.
- Provide all required support documents. - Such documents might include relevant orders, reconciled travel voucher, award citation, or their officer personnel record or letter of evaluation and more.
- Ensure you understand the definition of "joint matters." - Many submitters feel that because they received a joint award or worked in a joint environment, they should apply for joint credit. The definition of joint matters is at the strategic decision making level, in most cases, therefore this is not for all officers. Only those who are working in the strategic planning areas.
A signifier of strategic planning and command and control experience of Air Force officers in multi-service and multi-agency environments, JOM credit is recommended for field grade officers and above to advance to certain senior positions, and is not awarded merely because of service in a joint environment. Instead, applicants for JOM credit must either self-nominate due to a deployment or other active duty service in a joint environment in which they led strategic or command and control ops, or were billeted directly into joint positions automatically slated for JOM duty, known as Joint Duty Assignment List or JDAL. For those who self-nominate, they must illustrate to the Joint Staff JOM panel at the Pentagon how their duty fulfilled those two primary requirements, not just outline that they worked in a joint environment.
"The definition of joint matters is: ... matters related to the achievement of unified action by integrated forces," said Simms. "When submitting for experience credit, panel members at Joint Staff JOM must directly link what the officer did and how it affected the mission, in a strategic way."
Defining joint matters has been one of the greater misunderstandings for applicants, said Simms. Educating submitters helps applicants better prepare their packages for review, reduces the number of packages denied at the ARPC level as well as the time it takes reviewing them for denial, and helps Simms and her staff to submit more easily up the chain.
For more information on JOM, qualification for credit and prerequisites to submit, visit the Total Force Joint Officer Management page on myPers, which can be accessed via the ARPC main website at www.arpc.afrc.af.mil. Or call the Total Force Service Center at (210) 565-0102, DSN 665-0102, or (800) 525-0102.