How would you like to get your Air Force info?
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — So, how do Pacific airmen want their information?
To see how best to get the word out to its airmen and civilian workers, the Air Force is setting up a volunteer advisory group.
Members of the new Internal Communications Assessment Group will fill out monthly surveys to give feedback to senior leaders about how the Air Force communicates.
“Senior Air Force leaders will use the ICAG’s monthly inputs to inform and aid them in making decisions on when and how to communicate important information to our Airmen and civilians,” said Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, Air Force director of communication, according to a press release. “A tiny investment of just five minutes every month from participants will make a big difference.”
The group will include airmen and civilians from diverse ranks, career fields and locations selected by the Air Force Manpower Agency. People selected will receive an e-mail from Lessel asking them to participate confidentially, according to the release.
Word of the program has been slow to reach Pacific air bases. No airmen questioned in a random survey on Okinawa said they knew about the advisory panel.
Capt. Warren Comer, a spokesman for Yokota Air Base, said no one there currently is participating in the program. But some airmen said they thought it was a good idea.
Tech. Sgt. Richard Yost from Yokota’s 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron said he gets most of his information about the Air Force online, but likes that his service is surveying people on ways to improve internal communications.
A handful of airmen interviewed at Misawa Air Base said they hadn’t heard of the program. However, they all agreed that important messages need to be delivered in person rather than via e-mail or the Internet.
“Our online training is getting overwhelming,” said a master sergeant who did not want to be named. “Everything seems to be going more towards e-mail than personal, face-to-face communications. Senior leaders or junior NCOs, with their troops, have to talk face-to-face once a day — or three times a week, whatever it may be — to have that personal effect. I feel we spend way too much time with online training and communications and sometimes [the message] gets misinterpreted as it goes down.”
Lessel said his goal is to ensure that the right message gets out to all airman.
“If we hear from airmen that some of the information channels are working well while others are broken, we’ll know where to focus our attention,” he said.
Stars and Stripes reporters Jennifer H. Svan and Bryce S. Dubee contributed to this story.