Air Force makes awards more visible, cuts back on bureaucracy

The Air Force is putting its awards and trophies in one database for airmen to search.

Hoping to get some recognition for your ideas in the Air Force?

The Air Force Personnel Command made it easier for airmen to find special trophies and awards last week.

The command put all of the awards in a single database airmen can search. The database holds the name, description and how to apply for each award.

The service hopes to give the awards maximum visibility through the database so airmen will be motivated by the awards. The service also wants to get rid of unneeded instructions involving awards.

“Our goal for this project was to consolidate special trophies and awards guidance thereby reducing the number of award-related [Air Force instructions],” said Master Sgt. Angel Ortiz, Air Force Personnel Command Air Force Recognition program manager and database developer.

The database brings together more than 30 Air Force instructions, incorporating more than 700 functional awards.

“What we have built will allow leaders to break down the special trophies and awards program and deep-dive into areas that directly pertain to their organizations,” said Tech. Sgt. Jorge Hernandez, 433rd Force Support Squadron commander support staff and database programmer at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. “For example, a security forces NCO will be able to query the system by [regular Air Force], Guard, Reserve or Total Force by enlisted Airmen, requiring major command approval, within Air Force Special Operations Command.”

The Air Force is on a broader mission to cut back on its instructions.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced a two year review of instructions and polices last August.

Since then the service rescinded at least 100 instructions.

“We are prioritizing the ones that are outdated and actually track them every month,” Wilson said during a March 30 Air Force Association event in Washington. “The biggest challenge we have been facing is in personnel and operations. We need to get those right and get them understandable and then get the approval authorities, the waiver authorities at the lowest appropriate level.”

The Air Force has more than 1,400 instructions under review, which altogether account for more than 130,000 compliance items at the lowest levels.

The service’s goal is not only to get rid of outdated and unneeded rules airmen must follow, but also to make them easier to understand.

“I insisted the remaining ones be written in English; a lot of them weren’t,” Wilson said referring to the legal language many instructions are written in. “It’s nice to be able to read a draft instruction that I can actually understand and that I might expect an 18-year-old to understand as well.”

Read more of the DoD Personnel Notebook.

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