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Pacific edition, Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Air Force is slashing ancillary training requirements so airmen can spend more time doing their jobs.

After Oct. 1, airmen will be required to devote 90 minutes annually to the training instead of nearly nine hours spread throughout the year.

Ancillary training is considered education that is outside an airman’s specialty or primary duties but necessary to meet certain legal standards. Examples are anti-terrorism awareness, records management, information assurance awareness, sexual-assault prevention, and suicide awareness.

The goal is to cut the time spent on ancillary training to the “minimum level necessary,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael T. Moseley was quoted as saying in an Air Force news release Monday.

Under the new policy, the Air Force will cluster the training into a 90-minute “block instruction” plan. Commanders will have the option to hold the entire 90 minutes in one mass briefing, or split it into three segments throughout the year, according to Air Force officials.

Training will be organized into categories and will be available as both group and individual computer presentations.

“I will not let ancillary training overshadow our combat focus,” Moseley was quoted in the release. “These concrete steps will tip the scales to give airmen more time to focus on their primary mission.”

The initiative is part of an Air Force program to save time and money in the face of personnel and budget cuts, coupled with a high operations tempo.

A team led by Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, deputy chief of staff of Air Force manpower, personnel and services, examined 16 training courses and redesigned how airmen will receive that information, officials said. Brady stated the new plan will save each airmen almost an entire workday, or about 8.65 hours.

Some specific training for select members won’t be curtailed, such as initial security orientation for new airmen at their first duty station and counterintelligence training for airmen changing duty stations to go overseas, according to the release.

However, Brady stated there is a plan to reduce the time it takes for these extra courses by up to 72 percent.

“Our approach is aggressive and will force everyone to justify how the benefits of their proposed training outweigh the burden on our airmen,” Brady was quoted saying in the release.

Airmen at Misawa Air Base welcomed news of the plan to reduce training requirements.

Senior Airman Tyreema Gordon, a medical administrator at the hospital, said the change means she’ll be able to get more work done. “You can only do it at work on the computer,” she said of ancillary training courses. “It doesn’t need to be nine hours. It just gets drilled in your head, over and over and you” don’t use it.

Another senior airman, Joshua Damsma with the 35th Communications Squadron, said “compacting and focusing the time spent on ancillary training is a positive thing for the Air Force,” giving airmen more time for job-related tasks.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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