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Air Force Slashing Extra Duties so Airmen Can Focus on Mission

Staff Sgt. Don Flores, 374th Medical Group ability to survive and operate (ATSO) instructor, explains the importance of Self Aid Buddy Care Oct. 9, 2013 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer)
Staff Sgt. Don Flores, 374th Medical Group ability to survive and operate (ATSO) instructor, explains the importance of Self Aid Buddy Care Oct. 9, 2013 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Extra duties such as managing records, maintaining web pages and assisting others with filing taxes will no longer be required of airmen as the Air Force looks to cut some of the additional responsibilities laid on its members on top of mission requirements. The service announced that it will eliminate, reassign or consolidate 29 of 61 additional Air Force duties — tasks assigned to airmen that aren't part of their unit's primary mission. The effort is aimed at easing the burden on servicemembers faced with increased operational demands at a time when the force is smaller than it has ever been, officials said. "We have heard your concern and frustration on the issue of additional duties that compete with accomplishing our primary Air Force missions," Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Gen. Dave Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in a memo last week. In meeting with airmen at installations around the world, James and Goldfein said that they "have heard consistently that additional duties assigned at the unit-level affect our ability to focus on core mission, which in turn impacts our readiness." After reviewing 61 of the duties assigned by Air Force instruction, the service decided to eliminate outright seven of them: destruction officer, functional area records manager, records custodian, self-aid and buddy care monitor/instructor, unit public affairs representative, unit tax representative and web page maintainer. A number of others will be reduced, with commanders having the discretion to determine whether the duty is required. For example, the Air Force is eliminating a requirement that all units have a top-secret control officer, an airman trained to manage top-secret material. But since only a limited number of Air Force organizations handle a large volume of such items, commanders now have the authority to determine which units need to maintain this function. Other extra duties, such as awards/recognition program manager and government purchase card approving official, will be shifted to support staffs, which help commanders manage administrative, personnel and other functions. Goldfein and James said in the memo that a task force will continue to keep tabs on excessive demands placed on airmen's time. Next up is a review of computer-based training requirements, including their effect on the most stressed career fields.

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