NEWS | May 11, 2021

Force generators: Leaders behind the success, growth of Airmen

By C Arce Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

To maintain the competitive edge over adversaries, the Air Force must select the best Airmen to train and educate the next generation of Airmen. 

“We are targeting the highest performers to become force generators,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, command chief for the Air Education and Training Command. “In exchange for sending their best to instruct, we will return them to their career field with improved leadership skills, new confidence and so many more key developmental traits that will make them more outstanding Airmen.”

Maj. Alex Barnett, former Squadron Officer School instructor at Air University, shared how his experience as an instructor better prepared him to become the incoming commander of the 436th Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

“As an instructor, I saw 14 new students every cycle, each with their own challenges,” Barnett said. “Managing them all equipped me with the capability to communicate with a variety of Airmen from different Air Force Specialty Codes. Now, when I become a commander I can use these networking competencies to ensure I can get my Airmen everything they need to do their jobs.”

Not only do force generator positions provide skills and knowledge, but promotion averages in the last 10 years have also been above average:

  • Promotion to chief master sergeant at a rate of 6.3% over the Air Force average.
  • Promotion to senior master sergeant at a rate of 4.6% over the Air Force average.
  • Promotion to master sergeant at a rate of 8.4% over the Air Force average.

Airmen volunteer for force generator positions, which are developmental special duty assignments. According to the Developmental Special Duty Program Personnel Services Delivery guide, the DSD program develops leaders by requiring that they oversee and mentor multiple Airmen and that they ensure the well-being of those mentees and their families.

“AETC provides our force generators world-class training that enables them to become strategically-minded, agile and complex problem-solvers,” Thompson said. “These leaders pave the way, modeling the Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.”

Learn more about the DSD program requirements, eligibility and assignment cycles by visiting https://mypers.af.mil/ (common access card required for access).