Delivering the best in personnel services

  • Published
  • By Capt. Len Sobieski
  • Directorate of Future Ops and Integration

In a newspaper I read earlier this month, there was a headline "Death of Personal Service." The author of the letter was an Air Force senior NCO. In the letter the author opined on how it appears the Air Force has a desperate future of "faceless, nameless" personnel services and potentially even kiosks in lieu of recruiters to process accessions.


As one of the many individuals heavily involved in the Air Reserve Component personnel services delivery transformation, my thoughts immediately started reflecting on what we've done to the field the past two years, especially since the writer identified herself as an Air Force reservist.


Well, at ARPC we've centralized duty history and service date corrections, automated the retirement and decoration processes, and even gone as far as trying to nearly eliminate the base-level personnel function from the military performance reporting process.


Of course the writer doesn't go into depth on how these initiatives are all natural evolutions based on the advancement of information technology or how many Airmen prefer not having to be face-to-face with a personnel specialist to conduct simple transactions.  She certainly didn't represent someone like me who prefers scanning checks to make internet-based checking account deposits rather than wasting fuel and personal time to see a bank teller face-to-face to do the same simple transaction.  

Nevertheless, as I conclude my present assignment with the Air Reserve Component and move onto my future role as a Total Force personnel transformation management specialist on the Air Staff, I did not want to simply discard this feedback. So I attempted to double check my vector.


It is undeniable many Airmen are not nearly as comfortable as I in regards to using the Internet to conduct transactions.  So, as a change manager, I absolutely have to be cognizant and empathetic to their plight.  I can't discount their concern by simply informing them of the significant amounts of stress we have saved them by preparing them, unknowingly, for the elephant in the room known as the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System.  I cannot expect Airmen, not even the security forces journeyman writer that apparently prefers knowing the facial characteristics of their personnel services provider, to appreciate how the automated and centralized personnel services delivery enables the Air Force to work within the Congressional end-strength limitations. 

Limits that rightfully challenge the Air Force to maximize return on technological investment in order to have sufficient uniformed Airmen in career fields, with the greatest air and space expeditionary force demands like security forces, without sacrificing research, development, or procurement of vital resources.  Knowing I should not expect the average Airmen to focus more on these strategic management issues than on their tasks at hand, such as combat arms training or verifying structural integrity of F-15s, I simply do not.


Rather, as I depart from a fantastic assignment, I compel the men and women of the Air Reserve Personnel Center to embrace the culture change they are a working part of.  To embrace the amazing things they are enabling the Air Force to do by simply processing document requests, processing performance reports, or any of the other absolutely essential military personnel transactions conducted here.  

There will be recognition, praise, and thanks from some, but not always; however, please ask yourself the next time you close something in Remedy whether or not you provided the best possible personnel services delivery you could.  Believe it or not, the future of the world's greatest Air Force potentially rests on whether or not we can successfully invoke this undesired culture change and the biggest way to impact that is by embracing it ourselves and doing the best job possible!