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The Cube: New Reserve initiative designed to help command meet manning challenges

The cube, new reserve initiative designed to help command meet manning challenges.

The cube, new reserve initiative designed to help command meet manning challenges.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Air Force Reserve Command just fielded a new weapon in its ongoing effort to positively impact recruiting, readiness and retention. It’s called the Cube, and it brings together many of the key players in the Reserve’s quest to meet its manning challenges.

“Each wing in the Air Force Reserve has recently been staffed with two additional people who will work together with the people whose job has always been to positively impact manning,” said Col. Lisa Craig, the director of manpower, personnel and services at AFRC headquarters, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

The new people are the career assistance advisor and the civilian personnel liaison. They will combine with the senior force support officer and the recruiting flight chief to form four sides of the Cube. “Our Airmen and our leadership at every level round out the six-sided cube. Each of these members provides a critical piece of the manning challenge puzzle,” Craig said.

“The aim of the Cube is to drive at the beginning and the end of the retention life cycle – to place qualified Airmen into vacancies and retain them using all the flexibilities and opportunities available within the Air Force Reserve,” the colonel added.

“The Cube is critical to the success of the Air Force Reserve’s manning efforts,” said Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, AFRC commander.

“I encourage everyone to use this valuable tool to help further our deliberate emphasis on readiness, effective manning and retention.”

Here’s a look at the duties and responsibilities of each of the four key members of the Cube:

Force Support Officer

The senior full-time member of the Force Support Squadron serves as the lead for each wing’s Cube. He or she is the wing’s manning subject matter expert and manages the manning plan through coordination and input from the base recruiting squadron flight chief, career assistance advisor and civilian personnel liaison.

This individual is also responsible for facilitating monthly manning meetings with the wing commander and ensuring all Reserve Management Vacancy System vacancies are advertised. The FSO’s goal is establishing a culture in which retention is first but recruiting is always timely and effective.

“Our FSOs are uniquely central to effective manning,” said Maj. Renata Turner, Chief of HQ AFRC’s Force Integration Support Team. “They have oversight of the Force Management element within the FSS and will bridge the divide amongst Cube members to meet the wing commander’s manning goals.”

Career Assistance Advisor

The wing career assistance advisor will manage and serve as the principal advisor to commanders, supervisors and Airmen on retention, benefits, incentives and reenlistment programs. He or she will coordinate with wing leadership concerning retention issues related to loss trends and determine whether current efforts are supporting attainment of goals specified by the Air Force Reserve’s Human Capital Management Leadership Team.

The CAA will also educate wing personnel and their families by coordinating with program officers and presenting benefits and entitlements briefings. He or she will also provide consultant services relating to career opportunities, progression and planning through symposiums, workshops, conference and organizational visits.

Finally, the most important role of the wing CAA is to serve as a counselor to Airmen making vital life-changing decisions regarding their military career and to ensure the decisions they make are well informed.

“What I hope to see with the Cube is for the CAAs to really hone in on the importance of being available and visible,” said Chief Master Sgt. Melody Younger, AFRC’s chief of force management. “Face-to-face interaction is an important part of making this retention effort successful and equipping our Airmen to make the most educated and sound career choices possible. We are looking for our CAAs to be actively engaged in collecting and analyzing data to identify trends so leadership can adjust accordingly.”

Civilian Personnel Liaison

The civilian personnel liaison will help the wings navigate the civilian personnel processes. He or she is the conduit between the wing, the civilian personnel flights and the Air Reserve Technicians and serves as the civilian subject matter expert in tenant unit wings.

This member will work with all supervisors to submit requests for personnel actions, ensure position control is accurate, work unit manning document clean-up and help with position description reviews.

The CPL is a source of information on key management tools like recruitment, relocation and retention incentives and superior qualification appointments. CPLs will track and update leadership on the status of any ART or civilian request for personnel action.

The goal of the CPL is to ensure full-time resources are retained whenever possible and recruitment is timely and effective when necessary.

Crissy Gonzalez-Flores is the CPL with the 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. “My goal with the Cube is to bridge the gap between management and the complex hiring process as much as possible and to ensure we are getting and retaining the most qualified members to accomplish our mission,” she said. “We plan on using constant tracking and a host of management and personnel tools to bring our members into our wing as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Recruiting Squadron Flight Chief

The recruiting squadron flight chief is the lead accessions subject matter expert. As a key manning advisor, he or she provides critical manning expertise and analyses on the unit’s strength, collaborating closely with unit leaders and Cube partners to provide actionable data and management methods to improve human capital health and capabilities.

The RS flight chief also provides hiring process and systems guidance and training. The recruiting flight chief’s insight and counsel is critical to influencing the unit’s human capital environment and positively impacting unit readiness.

“The implementation of the Cube is exciting because it puts all of the key players on the same page working a unified vision to meet end strength and effective manning,” said Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Melichar, the RS flight chief at the 932nd Airlift Wing, Scott AFB, Illinois. “It will no longer depend on what each wing wants, but what each wing needs.”

As a key member of the Cube, Melichar sees her responsibilities as helping create the wing’s manning plan, pushing production, removing roadblocks, providing training and ensuring quality control of accessions.

“I work hand-in-hand with wing leadership to identify readiness, manning needs and future vacancies. This information allows my recruiters to go out in the community and target recruit. The Cube requires the Force Support Squadron to openly share all vacancies on the unit manning personnel roster and input into the Reserve Management Vacancy System for all to see. This will eliminate the blind spots recruiters now face when obtaining positions for our future Citizen Airmen,” she said.

“Our Citizen Airmen – all duty statuses, civilian and military – across the globe remain vital to the overall Air Force mission – to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace,” Craig said. “The Air Force Reserve Human Capital Management Leadership Team and key staff are hard at work across the Reserve enterprise building new plans and solid courses of action to positively impact readiness, effective manning and retention of our most valuable military weapon system – our people. The Cube is a major component of the Human Capital Management Leadership Team’s overall plan.”