By Mr. Timothy D. Sandland, 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 08, 2014
12/06/2014 -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody visited the airmen of the 102nd Intelligence Wing on November 20th. It was the first-ever visit by a Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force at Otis Air National Guard Base.
During an all-call, attended by enlisted, officers, and civilians, Chief Cody talked about many relevant issues affecting the Air Force and its people, and focused on the important areas of performance, evaluation, and education.
In terms of performance and evaluation, Chief Cody emphasized the new system for measuring enlisted job performance. When asked about how he saw the new system playing out in the Air National Guard, the chief said "What you do for your state and country, it's about performance. How we value that - how we recognize and reward - acknowledge that performance is really important."
The chief went on to say, "We need a system that is credible, transparent, and has as much objectivity placed into it as possible, so the institution [the Air Force and Air National Guard] can look at something and have a tool that really helps us discern amongst our people."
Other hot button topics for the chief were education and mentorship.
"We value education in our United States Air Force. We put a lot of money into it. We are the only branch of service that offers a two year degree (through the CCAF) by maintaining accreditation for our technical schools and professional military education schools" the chief explained.
Chief Cody lauded the program that the Commonwealth offers full 100% tuition reimbursement for guard members attending Massachusetts state schools, "When you talk about the state of Massachusetts - an extremely generous educational benefit for young men and women coming in. They will pay 100% for an undergraduate degree in a state school - an awesome incentive for those who decide to come in and serve"
"We are the best trained, most experienced, most educated force we have ever had in the history of the military. We should be proud of that, we've invested in that. This is an all-volunteer professional force. We are the most educated Air Force we have ever been."
Mentorship is certainly an important topic of discussion in today's Air Force and when asked about what is important about a good mentoring relationship Cody said, "it needs to be a relationship that is based on respect and trust and there needs to be a level of caring. Someone who gives you candid honest feedback - not just someone who tells you, you are great and that's all you ever heard about yourself."
When asked about his thoughts on the changes he has witnessed over the years in regards to total force the chief said, "The biggest change to acknowledge is over the last 20 years we have gone from a strategic ready reserve to operationalizing the entire Air Force, that's all four components; active, guard, reserve, and civilians; and it's been that way since Desert Storm/Shield. Put into perspective the dynamics of how we operate as an Air Force and now how we are structured is in that model. We can't go back to the strategic ready-reserve that we used to be."
Continuing the discussion in terms of future integration of the active and guard components in the areas of intelligence and cyber, Cody reflected, "What are the right mission sets for the reserve components, and the active duty? What is the proper blending of those mission sets, and where does the capacity need to reside and readiness levels need to be?"
He went on to say, "We are really good at doing our mission together. You put the best mixture of airmen together. Integration is who we are today, it will be who we are in the future, and it is what we have been doing for some time now - there's only one Air Force; active, guard, reserve, and civilian.
Wrapping up the day's events, Chief Cody toured several of the wing's operations such as the 102nd Intelligence Group's Digital Ground System operations floor, the Arnold Hall dining facility, and the 102nd Medical Group's CBRNE [chemical, biologic, radiologic, nuclear, explosive] Enhanced Response Force Package (CERF-P) Tent static display.
During the tour, Chief Cody recognized several exceptional airmen by presenting them with his personal coin - a distinct honor for anyone serving in uniform.
Throughout the day, the chief also took time to meet with members of the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and Victim Advocates to discuss the SARC program, as well as the Recruiting and Retention staff to get a feel for the local issues in those areas.
During the all-call Chief Cody reflected on the legacy of the Air Force, "We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. The legacy they established for us we carry forward and we're proud of it - when you think about our Air Force, think about those who came before us. The path they paved for us, all of their challenges. Make no mistake about it; they had great challenges before us."
Looking ahead, Cody continued, "This is our time, our challenges. This will be the smallest United States Air Force since our inception in 1947, yet, we are more globally engaged today around the world in the history of our country; the longest ever sustained combat operations, and for the first time in all of that history, this has been done with an all-volunteer professional force. You should be proud of that."