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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs Appendix F Applying Basic Rated Management Process and Model to STEM The following is a discussion of how this basic rated management process and model could be applied to STEM. Many of the STEM processes have a direct correlation to rated management processes. See AFI 11-412 AIRCREW MANAGEMENT for full explanation of rated management within the Air Force. This is not intended to be a comprehensive outline of STEM management, but instead is intended to show how many of the same principles of Aircrew management can be applied to STEM management. STEM MANAGEMENT OVERVIEW Purpose This outline of management processes provides Air Force policy and guidance for the STEM workforce throughout the Air Force. It lays out an approach to STEM management, assigns responsibilities, and outlines processes and methodologies that might be used to manage STEM human capital capability. STEM MANAGEMENT APPROACH Objective The overall STEM-management objective is to maintain a STEM-degreed force whose readiness and size enable it to effectively accomplish the Air Force’s current and forecast mission. Approach: Present - Sustainability Balance Effective STEM management requires constant attention, specific incremental adjustments within a logical range/band, and fully coordinated actions that make sense for both the short and long term. To meet today’s needs there will be many suboptimal solutions and actions taken. Each time a decision and action is taken that impacts future needs, an assessment and conscious decision must be made on this trade off of today vs. tomorrow. Whenever possible, modeling techniques should be employed to obtain the best understanding of potential impacts. Attaining the “size” aspect of the objective necessitates that sufficient numbers of STEM are accessed, produced, absorbed, and retained, and that a healthy inventory exits to support required overhead (Staff, Training, Instructors, etc.). The many facets and factors of STEM management are inextricably linked; changing one factor typically affects/changes several others. The litmus test
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs for STEM management actions/decisions is whether they will improve combat capability, retention, and sustainment today and tomorrow. Absorption This is one of the most important and difficult factors in finding present sustainability balance for long-term health of STEM. The ability to retain quality STEM personnel depends on finding the right balance between short-term and long-term manning especially for the military component of STEM. Absorption is the process of accessing new STEM accessions or cross-trained STEM personnel from other operational assignment by educational degree field (i.e., Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Operations Research, Scientist etc) into STEM-required positions. The Air Force’s absorption goal is to balance the long-term need to sustain an inventory that meets requirements with the near-term goal of maintaining capability; i.e., to absorb the required number of new STEM personnel while maintaining at least the minimum capability (experience mix, average time on station, manning levels) required to meet taskings/commitments. The primary absorption factors are: Total active duty requirements (i.e., force, training, staff, students, AFIT/PME and Transient) Active STEM prioritized requirement Programmed training (initial and continuation) to meet DAWIA, instructor, and advanced requirements Capability parameters (manning level, experience mix, and average time on station) Positions new STEM personnel can be assigned to become experienced (“absorbable billets”). Absorption calculations not only determine the number of inexperienced STEM to be assigned to organizations, they also provide the number of experienced and limited experience (LIMEX) STEM required Additionally, the objective is to “experience” individuals during their first few STEM tours. Attempting to set absorption levels based on inventory overages or shortfalls is problematic and results in insufficient numbers of STEM and/or reduced capability. Regardless of retention/inventory levels, organizations can only effectively absorb a set number of new STEM personnel. STEM MANAGEMENT TENETS Optimize Absorption to sustain requirements within readiness parameters (Manning Level, Experience Mix, Average Time on Station) Size Accessions/Training (Production) based on operational needs Improve Retention through credible, congruent, long-term-focused policies and actions that facilitate force sustainability Set Manpower Requirements to provide sufficient line force positions to meet operational taskings and efficiently support (Training/Staff/Test/Other) operations Manage the STEM-degreed Force Take actions that reflect Air Force priorities to include preservation of institutional culture
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs Smooth incremental adjustments to get/keep the system in balance and operate within reasonable bands Fully coordinate actions that make sense for the short and long term Effectively use all available aircrew expertise/assets as required Use a Litmus Test: Will the decision/action improve mission capability? STEM MANAGEMENT ROLES Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (VCSAF) VCSAF as chair of the Force Management & Development Council (FMDC) should oversee the STEM management function and should periodically convene summits to address STEM issues. This could be accomplished either as a single subject summit on STEM or as part of a larger FMDC review. FMDC serves as a corporate body to provide an institutional perspective on Air Force-wide FD issues and make recommendations to the Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) and Chief of Staff, Air Force (CSAF). SAF/MR, Functional Authorities (FA), MAJCOM CVs, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF), and appropriate Air Reserve Component and civilian representation make up the FMDC and provide a review of total force management. The VCSAF chairs the FMDC.1 Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition The Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition should be the office of primary responsibility (OPR) for STEM management. This position develops strategy, policy, guidance, plans and processes/methodologies for managing the STEM force. STEM Management Executive Council (SMEC) At least annually, the Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition should organize and chair a colonel/GS-15 SMEC conference whose attendees are STEM managers from the operations and personnel communities across the Air Force. The SMEC would assess the health of the STEM force by reviewing key STEM-degree-required force decisions/guidance and trends/issues/concerns, discussing improvement options, and developing proposals/tasking for further coordination/approval in the formal Air Force staffing process. Also, the SMEC would provide a forum for ensuring STEM managers have a sufficient and consistent understanding of STEM management. STEM issues normally discussed would include: experience mix, average time on station, manning levels, military, civilian, reserve, FFRDC, contract mix objectives; manpower requirements; absorption; training/production; distribution; retention; STEM allocation; requirements-inventory delta management; and any other issues or developments that may affect the STEM force. STEM Training Management Subgroup (STMS) The STMS would do the following: Facilitate/coordinate the Source of Commission (SOC), AFIT input - output to ensure entrance of STEM personnel are trained in required specialties and will enter STEM positions or STEM growth positions (including the identification, validation, consolidation, programming and resourcing of requirements); review Distribution Plans for sufficient numbers to accomplish the mission; reviews USAFA, AFROTC, OTS and Program 1 Air Force Policy Directive 36-26, August 27, 2008, Personnel Total Force Development, p. 7.
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs Requirements Documents and Programmed Funding Level are sufficient; identify any projected over/under-production, breaks in training, and other deviations that could adversely affect the Training and Force categories; and provide visibility into the pipeline training flow and management with an eye toward improving effectiveness/efficiency. Of particular importance is the creation of a sufficient pool of DAWIA-certified personnel to meet requirements. The STMS, normally an ‘AO-level’ group, would be responsible for keeping the SMEC apprised of its activities and progress. At Figure F-1 is a STEM Management Timeline to guide timing of critical decisions to meet programming cycles. Key organizations for day-to-day management would be Air Force DCS for Manpower and Personnel (A1), the Military Deputy, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Air Force Material Command (AFMC). Table F-1 is a chart of some of the major areas of responsibility of day-to-day management. FIGURE F-1 STEM management timeline. SOURCE: Adapted from AFI 11-412, Attachment 6.
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs TABLE F-1 Major Roles and Responsibilities HQ USAF A-1 ASAF Acquisition SAF / AQR STEM Policy STEM Requirements Compensation Incentive pay Bonus pay Production requirements Inventory managers Career Field Managers Career field Manager Publish STEM training Requirements Source of Commission Formal training Establish training policy and requirements DAWIA training requirements Coordinate on waivers and exceptions to policy for STEM designation Set policy / process for waivers DAWIA waiver policy and approval MODEL: Create and operate model for personnel management RL/BL Set input – output requirements Model: Absorption create and operate Establish Absorption Policy and parameters in conjunction with other MAJCOM and Agencies STEM REQUIREMENTS INVENTORY MODEL Overview To properly manage the STEM force for near term and long term it is necessary to model the interactions of: accessions; retention; changes in military, civilian contract mix; absorption capability; requirements by specific STEM education; generalized requirements by STEM education; adjustments to overhead; impact of adjusting entitlements; programmatic requirement changes; arbitrary changes in requirements; changes in acquisition programs; establishment of new classified programs; standup of new missions (space offense/ defense, cyber, optics etc.), just to name a few. Each of these changes and many more interact to have both short-term and long-term impacts. It is imperative to gain insight into the impact of decisions before implemented. It will NOT give a “20/20 crystal ball answers” to every question, but it can provide basic knowledge on which to base decisions on our most important asset, Air Force people. Model Figure F-2 is a flow chart of the existing Air Force Rated Aircrew Management System (AFRAMS) model input-output. It is followed by a table of terms that might be used to translate Rated to STEM (Table F-2) if this same type of model were developed for STEM management. The committee calls this the Air Force STEM Management System (AFSTEMMS). AFSTEMMS and Table F-2 were developed by the committee.
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs FIGURE F-2 AFRAMS model. SOURCE: (AFI 11-412 fig 4-1).
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs TABLE F-2 Terms that Might be Used to Translate Rated to STEM AFRAMS FACTOR AFSTEMMS FACTOR 1. Ops Units ( Manning levels, Experience mix, average Time on Station (TOS)) Requirements, present manning. STEM required manning levels in core STEM AFSCs, DAWIA required experience, time on station, acquisition continuity. 2. Overhead staff, training, test, other Overhead staff, AFROTC, instructors, other to account for other than hard Air Force STEM requirements 3. Source of Commissions (SOC) SOC: USAFA, AFROTC, OTS capacity, projected output ; add civilian recruiting ; Capability of FFRDC and contracting 4. Air Force Corporate Structure (PPBE) Programmed input for funding of programs Air Force Corporate Structure ( PPBE): mission and program changes requiring STEM personnel and changes in funding of existing programs 5. Funding Actual funding or programs, civilian pay and any targeted contract costs 6. Absorption (distribution plan) from absorption capability model Absorption ( distribution plan) from STEM absorption capability model 7. Historical Attrition Historical Attrition: Will need to track by areas STEM specialty and aggregate 8. Recruiting / Accessions Recruiting / Accessions: AFROTC scholarships, USAFA policy, OTS objectives. May need to add concept of cross training from dated STEM-degreed operational assignments 9. Trained Personnel Requirements (TPR) TPR: STEM training requirement based on SOC output skills and any refresher training into STEM positions from dated STEM-degreed operational assignments 10. Undergraduate Program Requirements Document (UPRD) DAWIA / AFIT formal required training documents 11. Graduate Program Requirements Document ( GPRD) DAWIA / AFIT formal required training documents 12. Training Production Training production 13. Program Flying Training (PFT) three year projected training requirement Programmed STEM Training. Equivalent STEM is academic work in pre commissioning. May need to project out longer lead due to 4-5 years to produce change in USAFA and AFROTC. 14. Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals(I FF) / Flying Training Units (FTU) capability and capacity Training pipeline capacity for all formal STEM 1. OPS Units / STEM-degreed requirements and inventory: The rated requirement is based on military only. STEM will need to account for DoD civilian contract and FFRDC capabilities. This will require some basic decisions on objective mix and definition of ability to deviate from this optimum mix. Contract and FFRDC can be used for long term “shock absorbers” of requirements, for “pop up” requirements or unexpected changes in the external environment. As stated elsewhere in the report, present mix may not meet long-term objectives and needs to be adjusted by the STEM management and reviewed at least annually.
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs Requirements and required manning levels: Because there are true shortages in some specialties and overages in others it is important to understand impact of prioritization. Management of the whole is dependent upon prioritization and cross flow of talent. Some requirements can be filled with only specific experience and background, others need a general knowledge. For example sometimes there is a requirement for an electrical engineer (translate fighter pilot), sometimes it requires a generic engineering degree (translate any pilot), and sometimes it requires STEM cognizance (translate any rated). It will be critical to not game the system, but instead make the best estimate of the true requirement. It will also be important to not remove a true requirement for a specific position only because in the short term there is no person to fill the position. To do so, creates a spiral and masks the true requirement. Prioritization and trade-offs are required to obtain the best utilization of limited capabilities. Experience mix objectives will need to be set for STEM positions. These objectives will have to be put into the model to see impacts on cross-flow, military/civilian mix, absorption etc. Historical attrition can be impacted by special pay, bonus and active duty service commitments, once the true requirement is identified and the model identifies gap analysis of requirement and inventory. Time on station is important for experience, fairness and broadening. Not all assignments are desirable. Time on station may also be a factor as today’s acquisition programs have long lives and need continuity. There will also have to be adjustments for requirements set by DAWIA. 2. Overhead staff, training, other: This area is a separate requirement to acknowledge a “tax” to run the Air Force. It normally does not acknowledge the wartime, temporary duty, and one-year assignments that almost all Air Force AFSCs support. It does acknowledge the many requirements the Air Force must fill and the realities of transients, patients and prisoners accounts. Some may decide not to include these requirements. Just as in any other AFSC this will result in “actual” shortages. To ignore this input only masks the true requirements and results in further shortages. For STEM this may be a place to account for the instructors at the USAFA and AFIT. 3. SOC: Standard USAFA, AFROTC, OTS, plus, with STEM sources of input, can be civilian recruitment and adjustments to FFRDC and contracts. 4. Air Force Corporate Structure (PPBE): Reflect changes in acquisition programs, civilian personnel funding levels, programmatic and arbitrary cuts in personnel authorization or funding, base structure, etc. All these areas impact the requirements and the mix of military/civilian/contractor. Acceptance of these decisions on rated model and management tools is well understood and accepted by Air Force Board decision makers. Education will be required for STEM input/output requirements for funding level and impacts of other programming decisions. 5. Funding: no significant differences (see 4) 6. Absorption (distribution plan): Capacity to absorb new STEM personnel as they gain experience through future assignments may be a limiting factor. Absorption may not be a limiting factor in the sense of “cockpit seats,” but the challenges of identifying requirements that will provide challenges, productivity and utilize the talents of new STEM personnel is very important. Civilian absorption is also a factor. Some DoD civilians will come to a position with experience and some will enter the workforce though DoD. The use of this model may influence civilian target experience to alleviate absorption shortfalls. 7. Historical Attrition: Will need to track military and civilian. There is not a long record and history of impacts of incentive pays or bonuses in STEM areas. Will need to track by STEM-degreed area as well as aggregate STEM categories. 8. Recruiting/Accessions: USAFA, AFROTC and OTS are the military sources. However, the recruiting and accessions for STEM are even more important than for rated management. In STEM, the education prior to accession sets the skills for future functional assignments. Because
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Examination of the U.S.Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs of this, the requirements may have to be established over 4 years ahead of actual accessions. OTS is the exception, but still requires lead time to actual production. To meet this required for USAFA and AFROTC university “degrees” this requirement may drive polices to encourage specific degree production. Because civilians, FFRDC, and contractors can be “recruited” with years of experience, there is potential for a feedback loop to “experience mix” that does not exist in the military. This may be the place to acknowledge the use of dated STEM-degreed operational assignments personnel (aircrew, space and other operational experienced personnel) to the STEM workforce. 9. TPR: similar to rated model, except as stated before, formal training may be less than rated, but not eliminated. Follow on training for operational assignments, advanced academic degrees and OJT/formal mentoring programs. Civilian programs must be included. 10/11. UPRD/GPRD: DAWIA and AFIT training for acquisition or other specialized pipeline training requirements for STEM. 12. Training Production: For STEM, many areas do not require lengthy formal training. As STEM requirements are defined for Space and Cyber operations, this may be an addition to the formal training requirement. If formal OJT or internships are required, this area could be used to model this requirement. 13. PFT (PST) Programmed STEM Training: This may be duplicative for STEM since primary training is accomplished at SOC. Equivalent. May need to project out longer lead time due to 4-5 years to produce change in USAFA and AFROTC. ) see 3, 9, 11, 12. 14. Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals ( IFF)/Flying Training Units (FTU) capability and capacity; STEM Training Pipeline capability: Training pipeline capacity for all formal STEM training required DAWIA education, advanced academic degree (AFIT etc) capacity to produce trained and ready STEM-degreed or experienced personnel. Includes civilian STEM internship or formal training courses. STEM MANAGEMENT DOCUMENT (SMD) STEM Management Document (SMD) is one of the primary documents used for planning and programming STEM personnel. This document is designed to include any materials Principal, Assistant Secretary of Air Force Acquisition deems appropriate to archive and might include: historical account of STEM management significant decisions/initiatives since the last SMD was published; SMEC briefings and background papers; operational unit experience, average time on station (TOS), and actual manning level data for the end of the fiscal year; requirements and inventory actual data for the end of the fiscal year; total and major organizational users of STEM requirements vs. inventory projections; retention statistics; SOC and AFIT planned and actual data; distribution planned and actual data; forecast allocation and actual data; and experience definitions, criteria, and mix. These parameters should be a product of the STEM management model and/or management decisions.