U.S. AIR FORCE
HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
A FLIGHT PLAN FOR 2020-2030
Committee on Strengthening
U.S. Air Force Human Capital Management
Board on Human-Systems Integration
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
A Consensus Study Report of
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This study was funded from the U.S. Air Force executed via a subcontract from Infoscitex under prime Contract FA8650-14-D-6500. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-67868-1
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-67868-4
Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25828
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2021). Strengthening U.S. Air Force Human Capital Management: A Flight Plan for 2020–2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25828.
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COMMITTEE ON STRENGTHENING U.S. AIR FORCE HUMAN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
JULIE J.C.H. RYAN (Co-Chair), Wyndrose Technical Group, Pasadena, MD
WILLIAM J. STRICKLAND (Co-Chair), Independent Consultant, New Braunfels, TX
TERRY A. ACKERMAN, University of Iowa
DAVID S.C. CHU, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, VA
LT. GEN. GINA M. GROSSO, USAF (Retired)
BRIG. GEN. LEON A. JOHNSON, USAFR (Retired)
JUDITH S. OLSON, University of California, Irvine
DAN J. PUTKA, Human Resource Research Organization (HumRRO), Alexandria, VA
ALVIN E. ROTH, Stanford University
ANN MARIE RYAN, Michigan State University
STEPHEN STARK, University of South Florida
CHERIE CHAUVIN, Study Director
ELIZABETH T. CADY, Senior Program Officer
DANIEL TALMAGE, Program Officer
MARGARET KELLY, Senior Program Assistant
TINA M. LATIMER, Program Coordinator
BOARD ON HUMAN-SYSTEMS INTEGRATION
FREDERICK L. OSWALD (Chair), Rice University, Houston, TX
JAMES BAGIAN, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
DIANA BURLEY, George Washington University, Washington, DC
BARBARA DOSHER, University of California, Irvine
MICA R. ENDSLEY, S.A. Technologies, Gold Canyon, AZ
EDMOND ISRAELSKI, AbbVie, North Chicago, IL
NAJMEDIN MESHKATI, University of Southern California
EMILIE ROTH, Roth Cognitive Engineering, Stanford, CA
WILLIAM J. STRICKLAND, Independent Consultant, New Braunfels, TX
MATTHEW WEINGER, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
TOBY WARDEN, Director
In 2019, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) conduct a study to examine how to strengthen the USAF human capital management (HCM) system in support of optimal mission capability. Accordingly, the National Academies, under the auspices of its Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI), established the Committee on Strengthening U.S. Air Force Human Capital Management. Members of the inter-disciplinary committee were volunteers, appointed by the National Academies to represent relevant academic and other research areas and HCM practitioners, including experts in Department of Defense and USAF human capital. This report is the result of the work of that committee. Consistent with the study’s statement of task presented in Chapter 1, this report offers guidance to the Air Force on the future of its HCM system, including consideration of USAF human capital research, responsibilities, operations, policies, and procedures. The report culminates in a “Flight Plan” describing strategic outcomes and actions to be taken across all levels of the HCM system extending from the immediate to the long term (through 2030).
The committee wishes to acknowledge the many contributors to this study, specifically those who participated in the committee’s numerous plenary meetings (in-person and virtual) and site visits. Special thanks are due to Ken Schwartz, Chief, Air Force Testing and Survey Policy, and Program Manager, Air Force Personnel Research, Accession and Training Management Division (AF/A1PT) who provided extensive subject matter expertise in addition to essential support in identifying and coordinating the participation of critical stakeholders and subject matter experts. In addition
to the study’s project staff, the committee also benefited from contributions of National Academies staff and consultants: Monica Feit, Deputy Executive Director, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE); Kirsten Sampson Snyder, Director of Reports, DBASSE; Ellen Chou, Director, Air Force Studies Board (AFSB); Douglas Sprunger, Director Communications/Media; Kim DeRose, Communications Specialist; George Coyle, Sr. Program Officer, AFSB; Heather Kreidler, Consultant; and Laura Yoder, Consultant. Their contributions are greatly appreciated.
The committee also wishes to note that this study’s data-gathering efforts were largely conducted prior to the onset of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), whereas the report was drafted and finalized during the pandemic. The unexpected circumstances are reflected in the committee’s consideration of the current and future workforce, as well as the external variables that may impact the Air Force’s ability to optimize mission effectiveness. Furthermore, restrictions on travel and group gatherings impacted the normal National Academies’ study process, whereby the committee’s final consensus deliberations and report development were conducted entirely virtually. The committee members and National Academies’ staff displayed great dedication and perseverance to complete this study despite the unexpected circumstances. We wish to thank them, as well as the Air Force personnel and other subject matter experts, for their flexibility and willingness to participate, despite the many unexpected additional demands as a result of the pandemic.
Julie J.C.H. Ryan, Co-Chair
William J. Strickland, Co-Chair
Cherie Chauvin, Study Director
Committee on Strengthening U.S. Air Force Human Capital Management
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert F. Sproull, (Retired Vice President and Director, Oracle Labs), Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Anita K. Jones, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.