The Air Force wants airmen to come up with ways to revitalize squadrons by sharing their ideas on a website that was launched Monday.

Airmen can use the CAC-enabled milSuite website to discuss specific challenges and come up with solutions, according to an Air Force news release. Airmen can log in to  https://www.milsuite.mil/revitalize to share their own ideas, plus comment and vote on others.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Davis, the Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons team lead, told Air Force Times in a Tuesday email that there are five challenges so far:

  • Squadron Identity, Heritage & Pride: Seeks ideas regarding displaying squadron/unit identity and how these ideas might be implemented in units across the Air Force.
  • Family Support: Seeks ideas for making family support better that would help revitalize squadrons and how those ideas might be implemented across all or most Air Force squadrons.
  • Core Mission Focus: Seeks ideas for ensuring squadrons are able to stay primarily focused on their core mission and those things that directly support it.
  • Improve This Site: Seeks ideas to improve the function, layout and usability of the Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons Idea Site.
  • Open Idea Forum: Provides an open forum for topics that are not covered under a current challenge or existing idea.

Davis, director of manpower, organization and resources, said he will review the ideas with the most votes once the first batch of challenges closes on June 15. He will then pass the ideas on to other senior Air Force leaders. After that, he said, there will be new challenges about every three to four weeks. 

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said revitalizing squadrons — one of his top three focus areas as chief — will be his main concern during the first half of 2017 and a priority during his tenure in general.

Goldfein has said that the Air Force needs to better use the resources it already has instead of adding more manpower and money. There are more than 3,400 squadrons ranging in size from 40 to 1,400 airmen each — "the beating heart of the Air Force," according to Goldfein.

The revitalization effort has three major phases: analysis, review, and implementation. The team has visited 12 bases and interviewed more than 1,000 airmen, according to the release. Feedback from airmen has already prompted several changes within the service.

Air Force Times in March reported that the service was reviewing more than 1,100 Air Force Instructions to remove rules that limit squadron commanders' authority to make decisions. At the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, on March 2, Goldfein said this was another step toward overhauling how the squadrons operate.

"If we trust that commander with the most destructive weaponry on the planet, by God, we can trust them with decision authority as well," Goldfein said at the symposium. 

On March 14, the Air Force announced it would allow more than 9,000 airmen to re-enlist or extend their service despite not finishing professional military education distance learning in time. The re-enlistments had to be approved by the squadron commander, and those airmen weren't eligible for promotion. The change was prompted by surveys and field interviews conducted as part of the squadron revitalization effort, which alerted top leaders to problems with the strict PME and re-enlistment restrictions. 

"As we work to revitalize our squadrons, it remains important that commanders and supervisors who are closest to an airman have a say in whether or not an airman should be allowed to re-enlist," Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in a news release at the time. said. "It has been a squadron commander's decision, and this policy adjustment restores that authority, placing the retention decision back in the hands of the local commander." 

Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at cpanzino@militarytimes.com.