March 19, 2014, HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) – Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody shared his insights about enlisted evaluation system reform, force management programs and other important issues during a visit March 14-15 here.
Cody toured the base with his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, and spoke at an annual awards ceremony and an all call held in a 388th Fighter Wing hangar.
“The reason Athena and I are here, more than anything, is on behalf of the (secretary of the Air Force) and General and Mrs. Welsh just to say thanks, just to let you know we are thinking about you,” Cody said. “We know a lot of things are going on in our Air Force, a lot of things are going on here and a lot of the decisions going on in Washington certainly affect each and every one of you and your families.”
During both speaking events, Cody stressed the importance of upholding the Air Force core values, looking out for our wingmen and focusing on the mission. He addressed concerns about the force management programs, changes to the enlisted evaluation system, and future missions and deployments.
In his all call, Cody clarified rumors that more than 70,000 Airmen had applied for voluntary separation programs stating that the real numbers are much lower. He emphasized the importance of Airmen getting information from official Air Force sources and explained that while more than 80,000 Airmen were identified as being eligible for voluntary separation programs, only 11,000 Airmen had applied. Of those 11,000 only 5,000 were actually eligible for separation. While 11,000 is a large number, he said it did not overly concern him.
“We would like to execute this all through volunteers; we would like not to have to run any type of boards at all if enough Airmen volunteer to leave,” he said. “We would like Airmen to be able to leave, with them taking some control of that, with a time frame and a program that is advantageous to them.”
Cody also discussed upcoming changes to the enlisted evaluation system. The new system, he said, will document and recognize those Airmen whose performance truly stands out.
“First and foremost,” he said “it will be a process where we will give meaningful feedback to our Airmen, establishing expectations, then moving into an actual report that clearly values performance before anything else.”
Airmen can expect the new system to roll out in phases, starting with a new feedback form in the coming months and the first new enlisted performance reports at the end of the year, he added.
Near the end of the all call, an Airman asked Cody to explain the key to his success.
“I married the right woman,” Cody responded with a smile. “You just need to try to do your best in everything we ask you to do. You’re not always going to be the best; I was not always the best at what I was doing, but I always did give it my best.”
Cody brought up the core values at several points during his talks. He encouraged Airmen to reflect on Air Force history and think about those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and the families that consistently support Airmen and the mission.
“We need to commit to our core values, about what it means to serve, how the core values are tied to the very foundation and fabric of who we are as servicemen and women, civilian Airmen and contractors,” Cody said. “If you are an Airman serving this Air Force we expect you to live up to those core values.”
He closed with words of encouragement and a reminder to Airmen to remain focused on the mission at hand.
“Don’t worry about things you can’t change or influence,” he said. “You have a purpose today in our United States Air Force. The mission is happening today, and you are doing it, and that’s where we need your razor focus every single day. You have the right leadership team fighting for you, fighting for our Air Force and fighting for America.”