Additional duties eat “up a lot of time and [are] frequently a big annoyance to the force. I’ve heard this over and over again as I’ve traveled,” James said at a Defense One event. “We are trying to take that on … We looked at the things we have done to ourselves by Air Force instruction. What are some of these additional duties and can we eliminate some of them?”
Additional duties can range from being a safety manager to managing security in an area to custodial work.
“We are going to announce the elimination of some of these additional duties. It won’t be the be-all and end-all, it’s tranche one, but we then have to look at some things that are required by law that we can go back to Congress and see if we can change or perhaps [the Office of Personnel Management] or [the Office of the Secretary of Defense], so this is going to be step one and there will be more to follow,” James said.
By eliminating some of these duties, James said airmen can have a better quality of life and the Air Force hopes that will keep more airmen in their jobs.
James said the Air Force is facing a retention problem.
The Air Force is expected to be short about 700 pilots by the end of 2016. In addition to getting rid of extra duties, the Air Force is deploying other tactics to keep pilots onboard.
“The civilian airlines are hiring and the pay differential is substantial so we are working with the Congress to try to increase the bonus authority for our pilots in the future. The bonus authority we currently have hasn’t been raised since the year 1999, so it has fallen behind standard and so looking to increase the compensation is one thing, but its only one thing,” James said.
The Air Force is trying make airmen’s home lives more enriching considering the high pace of operational tempo.