KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE,Miss. --
The newest weapon of the Air Force Reserve Command rolled out in 2018; however, this isn’t a physical weapon. This weapon is an ongoing effort to increase and positively impact manning challenges, both military and civilian.
It is called the Cube.
The members of this team, who work together to positively impact our manning and that make up four sides of the Cube consist of the Force Support Officer, the Recruiting Service Flight Chief, the Wing Career Assistance Advisor, and the Civilian Personnel Liaison, while the other two sides are made up of leadership and the current 403rd Wing members.
Combating manning challenges begins with recruiting, which Senior Master Sgt. Dominique Hogan, 403rd Wing RS flight chief, said she knows all too well.
“We work closely with the Force Support Squadron to make sure that our manning needs are being met, the job postings are out there and that they are up-to-date, and that the member gets the information that they need once they join the 403rd Wing,” said Hogan.
By making sure that the Reserve vacancies are recruitable, Hogan is able to ensure that her recruiters are able to place the best candidate into the best job available. This is not only for those coming off of the street, but also for those who are prior service members.
“The processes we have in place now, are standard across the Air Force Reserve Command,” said Hogan. “The members can go onto the Air Force Personnel Center website and look at the reserve vacancies to see what jobs we have available and who the point of contact is for that job. This helps to get those service members coming off of active duty into the Reserve.”
Hogan works side-by-side with Chief Master Sgt. David Paladino, 403rd Force Support Superintendent, who is in charge of making sure that the list of the current manning needs of the 403rd Wing are accurate.
“While the Cube is relatively new, it allows us to come together and see how each of us has a piece that fits together in order to recruit and retain Airmen,” said Paladino. “We are talking to each other, and while we all have our own piece of the process, the Cube helps us to go hand-in-hand in making sure we recruit and retain quality Airmen.”
One process that is affected is the hiring process for the Air Reserve Technician program.
Mr. Dwayne Paul, 403rd Civilian Personnel Liaison, said that being able to get qualified members into the positions has been challenging. But with some of the discussions that have occurred, the hiring authorities have been given the opportunity to now direct hire Traditional Reservists.
Reserve Citizen Airmen already have the qualifications to meet the job requirements, but sometimes when they apply for the job through the USAJobs.gov website, they don’t make it through the first screening process, Paul said. This new direct hire process means that TRs now have the chance to get their resumes submitted in order to get an ART position.
But that leaves one obstacle left to overcome, which is retaining the Reserve Citizen Airmen who have been serving.
Keeping the trained personnel represents another challenge and it falls on the shoulders of Master Sgt. Tracey Riley, 403rd FSS Wing Career Assistance Advisor, whose job it is to make sure the group and unit career advisors have the information that they need to keep our Reserve Citizen Airmen serving.
“During these Cube meetings, one of the things that I report includes the statistics of which term Airmen are the highest retention and the ones that are the lowest,” said Riley. “I also report on which unit within the wing is losing the most members versus the unit keeping the most members.”
Being able to work together to try and find out why service members leave, which units lose the most members, and ways to keep and attract members into the Air Force Reserve is the ultimate goal of the Cube.
These four sides work to recruit, retain, and ensure readiness; but the fifth and sixth sides of the cube: wing leadership and the 403rd Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen, join in and work together to maintain the lethality of the Air Force Reserve.
“Our service members tell their friends or friends of friends about the Reserve, and that helps with all of the three “R”s,” said Hogan. “A good first impression is a lasting impression, and we want that for anyone wanting to come into the 403rd Wing.”