FIP: "Making the world's best Air Force better"

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Within the nuclear enterprise, the winds of change that have swept 20th Air Force and the wings under it, have affected many.

Though change is not always welcome, the Force Improvement Program has brought new opportunities, improved the quality of life for Airmen, rewarded those who take initiative in certain career fields, and with all those changes, Airmen are motivated to stay in the  Air Force and continue serving.

This movement has roots throughout various squadrons and groups, including maintenance, operations, security forces groups and helicopter squadrons.

"Everybody in the 37th [Helicopter Squadron] is affected by the FIP changes with a new group being formed, new leadership opportunities, and a more applicable command structure," said Capt. David Skelly, 37th HS pilot and resource adviser. "Senior leaders are probably the most affected because they have more leadership roles that they can continue on to after this assignment."

By tackling the operations, maintenance and security forces groups and helicopter squadrons differently, FIP has made a unique impact on each one in an effort to shape the future.

"I know that some of my peers have changed their mind and feelings toward making the Air Force a career because of the positive changes FIP has brought," said Senior Airman Stephen Carlson, 90th Missile Maintenance Squadron electro mechanical team scheduler.

The FIP initiative is steadily becoming a way of life and has influenced Airmen and their careers.

"Everyone in my squadron has been affected by FIP, but I feel the Airmen dispatching to the missile field have been affected the most," Carlson said.

An immediate result of the FIP feedback was the realignment of $19 million directed toward ICBM Airmen's needs.  This money allowed much needed parts and equipment for the Airmen who provide installation and missile field support.

"Having the parts and tools we need makes it easier to complete the mission," Carlson said. "I've noticed other people changing their minds about leaving. Less stress with the daily job; FIP definitely made it better."

Capt. Amanda Filiowich, 320th Missile Squadron flight commander, said the FIP initiative has generated more positive changes in the nuclear enterprise than she has seen in her 10 years of service.

"I am most looking forward to new vehicles to drive out to the missile complex for operations crews and security forces; new uniforms for security forces designed for them in this cold climate; and finally the increased manning for operations and security forces to include helicopter operations personnel," Filiowich said.

The new gear helps "cops" in a big way, especially those going out to the missile field, said Airman 1st Class Emanuel Williams, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron response force leader.

"I love every extra piece of gear I get," Williams said. "It keeps us warm and helps us be more efficient while in the missile field."

The new gear along with the funds set aside to improve quality of life can motivate the countless Airmen who perform the mission every day, Williams said.

"Airmen are the future of the Air Force," he said. "If we like what we're doing and like what we're getting, we are more likely to stay in. FIP is a good idea, especially because of the morale boost it gives us."

Williams said he joined the Air Force for the experience, and FIP has made it a good one.

"I am excited about all the changes and humbled to be a part of them, again, in what I hope is a positive way," Filiowich said.

For Skelly, these changes could lead to more opportunities in his career along with the majority of people in the helicopter squadrons.

"My career goals are a little more attainable now," he said. "The number of leadership positions in my career path has grown enormously as a result of the FIP."

For the 37th HS FIP has brought some extra work with building a new helicopter group, but it will pay off in the long run, Skelly said.

"I hope other organizations look the FIP and see how useful it is in streamlining the process of change in Global Strike," Skelly said. "If the rest of the Air Force jumps on board, then it could make the world's best Air Force even better."