JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
Air Force Recruiting Service has been preparing for an online world for a while now, COVID-19 has just accelerated that process.
In a digital world where everything is at your fingertips, the old "hurry up and wait" processes are becoming a thing of the past.
With the digital world as the primary option for reaching recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic, AFRS has created a digital means to shorten the time for potential new recruits to digitally upload their information on the path to joining the Air Force.
“Once we had their interest we’d have to do a lot of paperwork. Which required sitting at a desk for 1-2 hours just getting and filling out background information,” said Master Sgt. Ernest Coleman, 369th Recruiting Squadron enlisted accessions recruiter. “Getting the Air Force Commission and Enlistment Portal online is awesome.”
The AFCEP gives the applicant the ability to fill out their own information. Information that is used to complete all of the forms needed for commission or enlistment into the Air Force.
“Applicants will be able to see what they are missing. What they need to fix – providing an additional bit of stake in their future.” said Master Sgt. Carlton Carpenter, Air Force Recruiting Service Total Force Infrastructure Support Systems Superintendent. “It will also relieve the recruiter’s 60 plus minutes of time spent creating these documents then reviewing them for errors.”
The goal for AFCEP is to cut down on errors and reduce the delays as part of the security investigation and help with the creation of personnel files giving the recruiter and applicant an opportunity to review and check the status of the records.
“Most importantly this is about taking care of our Airmen, giving time back to our recruiters and allowing the applicant to fill out their own application. Recruiters have a very hard job, and this will allow them to be more efficient with their time,” Carpenter said.
While the timeline for AFCEP began long before COVID-19 was a global pandemic, there were a few approvals needed before the program could be rolled out.
“Senior Air Force leadership got involved. Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt (AFRS commander) reached out to Air Education Training Command and senior leaders to explain the need for an accelerated authority to operate approval,” Carpenter said. “There were a lot of people involved. We had more than 20 people testing this system over the last few weeks to get all the security measures in place. There was also a huge effort in the testing of its functionality on our team and with 80 recruiters across all three components.
“This really was truly a Total Force effort; active, Guard, Reserve, civilian, and our contractors all had major roles in getting this fielded, and at an unprecedented speed!” Carpenter said.
The program has reached the field and training is occurring now.