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NEWS | Nov. 13, 2009

Focus groups give insight on QoL issues

By Mike Joseph 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

After listening to discussion groups for more than eight hours Nov. 2, Col. Sandra Adams, Air Force Services Agency commander, found out that Lackland wasn't afraid to speak its mind.

The discussion groups were held in connection with Air Force Family Week.

The week was part of the Year of the Air Force Family, a year-long focus on Air Force programs highlighting the importance of, and commitment to, the entire Air Force family.

Colonel Adams interacted with seven different groups, and by the time she left at the end of the day, she had at least 25 pages of notes to review.

"We've gathered some really good information," Colonel Adams said. "I've talked to a couple of groups I haven't talked to previously, like the MTIs (military training instructors). They brought a different perspective."

Lackland was one of only two Air Education and Training Command bases chosen for an installation visit by Air Force officials.

Lackland's discussion groups included officers, spouses, MTIs, special needs families, junior enlisted Airmen, Airmen with multiple deployments, and teens.

Colonel Adams said officials are visiting 20 bases, gathering information that will be compiled and sent to the Secretary of the Air Force.

She also said she expects more bases to receive visits as they look for trends and service areas that can be improved for family support.

In announcing the Year of the Air Force Family, which runs July 2009 to July 2010, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the intent was to spend the year identifying what the Air Force does right and what can be improved to better support the entire Air Force family.

Colonel Adams says the timeframe won't stop there.

"When the 31st of July comes, it doesn't end," she said about YoAFF. "We basically have to map out what we need to do for the next 5 to 10 years in order to support our Air Force family better than we do today."

She also said that some improvements will be quicker and easier to implement than others, and that all the data compiled from the base visits will give the Air Force a roadmap forward.