JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
As the U.S. Air Force continues to focus on building agile, joint warfighters, senior leaders from Joint Base Langley-Eustis met for a newly formatted version of the Community Action Information Board June 8, 2018.
The CAIB is a forum to discuss issues that impact installation and their families. Traditionally, when held here, the CAIB was in a more formal setting, and structured around a series of briefings rather than interactive discussion.
Carole Barton, the JBLE community support coordinated, modelled the most recent CAIB after a successful program at another installation, but took the format one step further by tying in a Mission Impossible theme.
“The title of the event is ‘Mission Possible: Teams Working Real Problems, Finding Real Solutions,” Barton said. “We designed it so that instead of listening to briefings, [the participants] are intermixed as a group of enlisted and officers, with both Air Force and Army leaders. Diversity of thought is important to our success on these issues.”
Each group worked through a mission scenario that dealt with either crisis management, negative equal opportunity feedback or processing inspector general complaints. For example, one scenario depicted a unit that had splintered in the aftermath of an alleged sexual assault. The group had to develop a plan to ensure their service members were respected and capable of completing their missions while considering how to effectively communicate throughout the crisis.
According to Senior Master Sgt. Melinde Morris, 633rd Air Base Wing Equal Opportunity acting director, this format leads to a higher level of learning because commanders are tasked with implementing leadership skills, rather than simply listening to the issues.
“We are trying to make the CAIB experiential and relevant to the trends that are going on right now at our base, while coming up with a format that could be adopted across Air Combat Command,” Morris said.
Another benefit to the group format was the opportunity for collaborative networking, which Morris calls the process of establishing contacts while working to solve a particular issue.
“What I like to say to my Airmen is that ‘it doesn’t matter if you are new to the Air Force or you have been serving for more than a decade, everyone has value to bring to the team’ – whether it’s to the mission or a personal experience they can share with someone else, and the same applies when we talk across the services,” said Lt. Col. Richard Major, 36th Intelligence Squadron commander. “They’re all going to have different perspectives and experiences that we can share to strengthen each other’s leadership skills.”
Despite serving 20 years in the Air Force, he said that these exercises were still beneficial to his development as an Air Force leader.
“As leaders we need to be learning every day, there’s always something new. What I’ve found is we can always rely on our fellow leaders to help us through those tough scenarios,” Major said. “And it makes us stronger on the other side.”