An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | March 4, 2014

What’s next?

By Master Sgt. Jeremy Klemme 437th Aerial Port Squadron

In the wake of the Air Force trying to shed approximately 25,000 personnel, there will be a lot of personnel left wondering ... what's next?

As a leader, I feel it is my responsibility to do everything I can to arm personnel with the tools they will need to make a smooth transition to the civilian world, but the next step is up to them.

I can try to help anyone form some semblance of a plan just in case the Air Force calls on them to exit the service before they plan. Hopefully these back up plans will not have to be used, but the writing is on the wall; 25,000 people will leave.

So what do we as leaders and supervisors do to help?

First, we need to educate our Airmen as much as possible about the different types of force management programs out there. We began that process last week with our leadership conducting Town Hall meetings.

Second, we must have honest conversations to let Airmen know their options and the potential outcomes of their decisions.

Third we must understand every single person is going to need some one-on-one guidance because everyone will have unique circumstances that are going to affect them differently.

Last and most important, we need to pay attention to each other. These force management programs are going to place a lot of stress directly on the shoulders of our personnel and unfortunately, when someone is under too much stress ... they can start to buckle. It is going to take every member of our team to look out for one another to ensure that doesn't happen.

Supervisors will need to look out for their subordinates and subordinates will also have to look out for their supervisors. Together, we can help distribute that weight and support our Airmen so nobody buckles.

We are all going to hang up our uniform at some point and the Air Force may call on you to hang it up earlier than you want. But, I like to think about it this way; your life is your book. The Air Force is a chapter in your book and sooner or later that chapter will come to an end. What will the next chapter be? Only you know!