JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Tamala Hartz, Air Force security forces career field manager, visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Sept. 9-12 to gather insight on how the security forces mission is accomplished and to get feedback on impacts to the career field.
“I am hoping our security forces defenders understand senior leaders in the career field care about what is important to them and what stresses them,” Hartz said “We want their input and their innovation to try to make things better.”
The 673d Security Forces Squadron held a Defender Performance Optimization summit with Hartz to discuss challenges facing Airmen and noncommissioned officers on the ground.
“I want to understand what your challenges are, what you struggle with and what is positive in your career,” Hartz said. “You give me a perspective I don’t have, and you are painting a picture for me so I can tell your story”
Airmen attending the summit appreciated the opportunity to speak to leadership about issues they face.
“It was nice to be able to share our opinions with leadership and express how we are feeling and what we go through,” said Senior Airman Emily Lundquist, 673d SFS electronic security systems. “They are able to grasp a better idea of what we are dealing with, taking initiative and actually dealing with those topics.”
The summit also focused on where the career field is going in the future.
“It was a breath of fresh air,” said Airman 1st Class Abdul Rashaad Muhammad-Cook, 673d SFS installation entry controller. “The open discussion brought a huge boost to morale. It gave us a way to see things will change in the career field for the better.”
One of the reasons Hartz chose to visit JBER is the innovation initiatives the base is conducting as part of the Headquarters Air Force Reconstitute the Defender Initiative.
“I first picked JBER because of the innovation,” Hartz said. “There are a lot of projects the 673d SFS is doing to make the unit better. They have embraced a lot of the changes that have been put out. Coming out and seeing it at the unit level clears up the question of ‘does it work?’ and allows us to get the Airmen’s input.”
Through innovation and early implementation of changes, 673d SFS leadership is pushing to revitalize their unit.
“We have knowledgeable, professional defenders who can thrive in a happy, healthy environment which is critical to foster a culture of innovation,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Zeigler, 673d SFS commander. “Our security forces Airmen are top-notch and deserve to be put on display.”
Another opportunity Hartz got to see was the involvement of defenders participating in a wing program – the Arctic Spark Council and the JBER Innovation Lab.
The 673d SFS Airmen were excited to see her come to see what they have accomplished with innovation.
“It was exciting to see her on the ground to see the progress on the goals higher headquarters has set for us in terms of innovation,” said Airman 1st Class Stefan Arradondo, 673d SFS installation entry controller. “It is nice to get feedback from those setting the initiative and seeing their mission and visions alive.”
Overall, Hartz said her visit to see the impact of changes at the tactical level.
“I would say this visit is focused on the people because the people are the most important aspect of the mission,” Hartz said. “If we don’t know what is important to the people or we don’t know what the people need, we are not going to be able to make a change.”