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NEWS | April 27, 2011

JB CHS CAIB improving installation

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Even though Joint Base Charleston operates like a well oiled machine, there is always room for improvement. One of the mechanisms in place to make sure Airman, Sailors and their families have the best quality of life possible is through the Community Action Information Board.

The CAIB, chaired by the JB CHS installation commander, group commanders, squadron commanders, command chiefs and invited leadership, meets every quarter to discuss the well-being of the installation.

The main focus of the CAIB is to promote cross organizational collaboration in addressing individual, family and community concerns.

"The CAIB is here to ensure the quality of life of Airmen, Sailors, dependents and civilians," said Maj. Patrick Pohle, 628th Mental Health Flight commander and CAIB executive director. "The CAIB brainstorms ideas on how to solve issues, boost morale and promote fitness. It involves the very people at the installation who can make things happen and is an essential part of making JB CHS a great assignment."

A major concept being discussed by the CAIB is the importance of integrating Comprehensive Airmen Fitness into all base agencies. Implemented in July 2010, by the Air Mobility Command, the goal of the CAF culture is to "strengthen and sustain a culture of balanced, healthy, self confident Airmen and their families, whose resilience and total fitness enables them to thrive in an era of high operational tempo and persistent conflict around the world," according to an AMC paper on CAF by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol.

As operations tempo stays high across the Air Force, so do divorce rates, suicide rates and other negative trends. This demands more than just another program, but a new culture and way of thinking and Comprehensive Airmen Fitness answers that demand.

"Topics for discussion at the CAIB are anything that impacts the physical, mental, social and spiritual well being of our service members and their families," Major Pohle said. "For example, Agencies such as the Airman and Family Readiness Center bring ideas to the CAIB on how to improve contacting deployed family members while the Health and Wellness Center might be working on providing new initiatives on healthier eating."

The CAIB provides oversight of quality of life issues on the installation and is helped by the Integrated Delivery System, made up of various agencies across the base.  

"The IDS is the working arm of the CAIB," said Ashely Destefano, Health Program manager from the HAWC on the air base. "The IDS meets monthly to discuss issues going on around the installation and reports to the CAIB."

"The HAWC uses the CAIB to report on physical fitness reports, tobacco rates and how to improve on physical training tests. We also discuss the use of potential funding. One thing we want to incorporate is a cooking class that will teach healthier cooking options to spouses and military members and healthier food options at the Base Exchange. If the CAIB is looking to improve physical fitness and a healthier lifestyle, the CAIB turns to the HAWC for ideas."

Although focus groups, the community assessment and surveys are other ways the CAIB generates ideas and concerns of junior service members, spouses and civilians, Major Pohle supports using the chain of command first.

"If you want something done, you need to get it to the CAIB," he said. "If the CAIB doesn't know that there is an issue going on in your shop, there is nothing they can do about it. But if the problem is becoming a trend or an installation-wide issue, the CAIB can brainstorm a solution and resolve the issue.

"The CAIB is one of the most important meetings JB CHS holds and the next meeting will be near the end of June. Without the CAIB there would be a lack of communication and a sense of disconnection throughout the installation. There would be problems that simply wouldn't be taken care of," the major continued.

"The CAIB is here to make the installation and community a better place. And they have the pull to make it happen."

(Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski contributed to this article)