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FSS leaders meet to tackle force support challenges

  • Published
  • By Joe Bela
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

Force support leaders from across the Air Force gathered here recently to address the challenges their customer-oriented service organizations face today. 

Close to 260 force support squadron commanders and senior enlisted leaders attended the 2023 Force Support Squadron Leadership Conference Oct. 24-27 in San Antonio, sponsored by the Air Force Services Center. The event focused on evaluating the internal functions of force support squadrons from a corporate perspective.

By analyzing the processes and sharing information, force support leaders hope to find ways of improving on the services they provide to customers at their installations. From lodging and fitness centers to childcare and entertainment, force support squadrons operate the morale, welfare and recreation programs and other base activities that enhance the quality of life at Air Force and Space Force installations.

“FSS commanders face a lot of challenges and have tough choices to make as they strive to meet the needs of Airmen, Guardians and their families in an ever-changing environment. Our job is to support them by giving them the tools they need to make informed decisions and investments that maximize results,” said John Anderson, AFSVC senior services specialist and conference coordinator.

A primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installations and Mission Support Center, AFSVC provides the enterprise-wide technical assistance, initiatives, programs and procedures that force support squadrons need to meet their service-oriented mission.

This year’s conference theme, “Quality Connections … Ready, Set, Grow!” drove the center’s quest for dialogue and collaboration among participants at the four-day event. 

“The best thing about this conference and workshop is the connectivity and networking that is going on,” Anderson said. “To maintain an effective warfighting stance against our adversaries, we must be ready to change the way we deliver support services. We must remain agile. The teamwork we are promoting here is essential to our resilience as an organization.”

Change at the force support squadrons is essential to meet the needs of a multi-generational populace that counts on the quality-of-life programs the squadrons provide.

“Taking care of service members and their families has always been our business, but people change so we must change with them,” said Lt. Col. Donald Johnson, 436th FSS commander at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. “New generations of Airmen with varying tastes and evolving norms will always arrive. If we can’t reach them, we can’t help them and their families. To get the mission done, we need to embrace change. That’s why we’re here.”

To foster the transformation at force support squadrons across the enterprise, the Services Center is sharing information and providing the tools that encourage data-driven decision-making.

“With analytics and relevant information, FSS commanders will be equipped to better communicate their priorities with senior leaders at the bases,” Anderson said, “Base leadership will be able to make informed decisions on issues that impact how force support squadrons meet the needs of our force and their families.”