CMSAF visits SMC
By Senior Master Sgt. Glen S. Jimenez, Space and Missile Systems Center Staff Directorate
/ Published April 05, 2016
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE - EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody visited the Space and Missile Systems Center March 9-11 to discuss the current state of the Air Force from an enlisted perspective. The visit offered active duty and civilian personnel a rare opportunity to directly address the service's senior enlisted leader regarding the issues facing today's Airmen. It also gave Cody a chance to view the unique characteristics of Los Angeles Air Force Base and the capabilities the Total Force offers to accomplish the SMC mission.
"Certainly this is a really, really important part of our Air Force portfolio and the work of the men and women who are a part of this team, all of our Airmen, both in uniform and out of uniform are making a difference," said Cody. "This is a domain that's absolutely essential to our national security and the ability to defend the homeland and fight our nation's wars. Watching what the team is doing, understanding how complicated it really is and how long it takes to get to work through these systems is pretty impressive."
One of the perks of Cody's visit was the opportunity to recognize eight outstanding individuals from Team SMC. All base units were notified, allowing commanders and superintendents to nominate select individuals for consideration to be personally recognized by Cody with his CMSAF Challenge Coin.
Chief Master Sgt. Craig Hall, SMC command chief, personally reviewed and vetted each nomination to identify the Airmen selected for this special recognition. Each nominees' work encompassed the Air Force Core Values, representing SMC's best of the best: Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Birchenough from the 61st Air Base Group Command Post, Master Sgt. Amanda Barrett and Staff Sgt. Maximino Saldana from the 61st Force Support Squadron, 1st Lt. Goldy Sharma and Staff Sgt. Darien Foster from the 61st Medical Squadron, 1st Lt. Taylor Broekhuis and Senior Airman Jeffery Lugo from SMC's Financial Management Directorate, and Ms. Samantha Marez from SMC's MILSATCOM Directorate.
Cody also offered his perspective on the rollout of new Enlisted Evaluation System during a Total Force Airmen and NCO Call, and a Senior NCO and Company Grade Officers Call at the Gordon Conference Center.
"We are getting a lot of positive feedback but at the same token there is still a lot of anxiety. There is a learning curve that has to take place," Cody explained. "There is a normalization that has to take place. So while we are going through it, people are learning and people are changing."
According to Cody, the new system is dramatically different than the system built in the late 1960's.
"It's a big change. Even if we hadn't changed everything else that we changed, this was actually a good thing to do," said Cody. "When you are evaluating people, especially when commanders have to look at their Airmen and determine who has the greatest potential to serve in the next higher grade, it is really, really important (that we get it right)."
When asked what he saw as the greatest challenge facing the Air Force in the future, Cody offered a thoughtful, yet frank perspective.
"We are the oldest Air Force in our history when you talk about our infrastructure and our weapons systems, yet we are more globally engaged today than in the history of our country; more combat operations in the history of our country," Cody pointed out. "Those are challenges that are facing us. Without any ability to suppress the demand signal for airpower and airmen, without any ability to really influence significant increases in the size of our military and the amount of our budgets, the force is going to be continually stressed and pulled to the limits."
When questioned for advice he would give to Airmen and senior NCOs moving up in rank and responsibility, Cody was blunt in his response.
"Don't all of a sudden become a new person. We are really confident with who you are, that's why we promoted you. If all of a sudden you start to reinvent yourself tomorrow, we might not be so enamored with that person than we are with this one (you), so be careful about that," said Cody.
"In your role, your goal every day is to make our Air Force better, to make our Airmen better, to support them and their families, and enable them in what they do. If you stay focused on them, they'll take care of the mission. And do it every single day better than we ever could have done it on our own."
As to what motivates Cody to continue serving the Air Force, he replied, "That's pretty easy. You, our Airmen, continue to motivate me to serve. It's really an honor and privilege to be in this position to represent them.
"It's always a privilege to put the uniform on and do what you do as Airmen, for our country, for our partners, our allies," said Cody. "When you get to see the Air Force the way I see the Air Force, it's a pretty amazing organization to be a part of."