Training and education center outlines strategic plan

  • Published
  • By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
  • I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

The Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee this month released a five-year Strategic Plan designed to outline its priorities and lines of effort from 2020 through 2024.

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center will work on its main priorities: Take Care of Team TEC; Increase Readiness; Develop Exceptional Leaders.

Also, the Strategic Plan calls for the engagement of its staff and faculty to reach their full potential. Each priority identifies a team, and a deliverable date, as well as lines of effort, key terms, and focus areas for progressing into the future. The plan’s guiding values are respect, trust, and engagement.

“Engagement is a strategic end state for TEC,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Kenneth Lozano, commander, in the plan’s introductory comments. “TEC reaches its full potential when our members are fully engaged. To promote engagement, we need to create a climate of trust and respect. Members are expected to treat one another fairly. We should foster an environment of mutual respect, whereas leadership will promote a sense of belonging. The workplace should encourage collaboration and communication, which will motivate members to commit themselves to train and educate today’s Airmen for tomorrow’s fight.”

“We will align ourselves based on the continuous loop of feedback to enable our staff to make TEC reach its vision,” said Colonel Lozano.

The Vision Statement is to be the most agile, innovative, and resilient total force training and education provider. TEC’s Mission Statement is to train and educate today’s Airmen for tomorrow’s fight.  Section chiefs, managers, division chiefs, and senior leaders revised the Mission and Vision as well as the organization’s Values last summer, after collecting input from the staff.

TEC conducted both initial and follow-up organizational climate surveys to identify and measure issues of significance and validate priorities. Teams met regularly to develop proposals for action and to discuss their realization. Staff and faculty also teamed in a Baldrige Excellence Framework business process to layout organizational goals and identified areas of competitiveness and improvement.

Team champions led lines of effort, and team members were picked or volunteered to help advance them. For six months they modified the lines of effort until they were correct. Focus areas were also developed for each line of effort and validated. By the time the plan was signed, the organization was practicing it, they noted.

“I learned that making a strategy plan involves much effort,” said U.S. Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Bradley Green, who helped to coordinate and layout the plan. “One must listen to the heart of the members of this organization and the heart of the commander to truly reflect everyone’s input into the final document. Once the document was signed, I believed that many of us could claim that this was our plan.”

Lieutenant Colonel Green said that he would love to see Airmen use the eight-page document to understand where their efforts bring value to the organization.

“This document allows us to prioritize our efforts so that we know when to say yes and when to say no,” he said. “With focused efforts, we will continue to be a high-performing organization that can adapt, come up with new ideas, and thrive in the face of adversity.”

Notwithstanding pandemic adversity, Colonel Lozano most recently held a teleconference with the command staff and division leaders to review and discuss the plan’s signed and released version, to include its integration into current work-from-home operations.

“I am very proud of what everyone is doing,” said Colonel Lozano. “People want to know what matters to TEC, who we are, what we are all about, and what our priorities are. We have this thin but compelling document called our Strategic Plan now, so collectively, together, we can take the organization to a better place.”

The TEC 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

The plan can be viewed at this link: Strategic Plan.

TEC’s plan states that it will fulfill its vision with the three priorities outlined below.

Take Care of Team TEC

TEC will create a healthy command climate that fosters good order and discipline, teamwork, cohesion, and trust. A healthy command climate ensures members are treated with dignity, respect, and inclusion, and does not tolerate harassment, assault, or unlawful discrimination of any kind. We must create the environment for our Airmen to prioritize and practice self-care while effectively supporting the mission. A culture of healthy living facilitates the practicing of diverse faiths, promotes fitness, and fosters opportunities for human connections. We need to take a proactive approach with our Airmen to set them up for success. We will support professional and personal development opportunities for all our Airmen. Professional development includes formal mentoring, coaching, academic education, and other broadening opportunities that could help our members to thrive. Honest two-way communication, feedback, and recognition of their efforts will reassure their contributions are in-line with our priorities and mission.

The organization’s number one priority, Take Care of Team TEC, includes three lines of effort: Improve Command Climate, through good order and discipline, accountability, safe environment, and inclusion; Organize Wellness Initiatives, through spiritual, emotional, physical, and social efforts; and Comprehensive Human Capital Development Program, through education, mentoring, feedback/coaching, and recognition efforts.

Increase Readiness

TEC will increase readiness by enhancing Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) upgrade training through TEC-U capabilities, by expanding Mission Defense Teams (MDT) Training capacity, and by establishing a combat training unit to support Space Electronic Warfare (SEW). Our Airmen are our most powerful weapon system and greatest asset. Their skills are the foundation of our competitive advantage. We must leverage the field’s creativity and innovation in solving problems in order to swiftly and rapidly adapt to evolving situations. We will adopt new and improved approaches to accomplishing our mission by making AFSC upgrade training more expeditious and effective. Also, we will increase readiness by optimizing TEC resources and capabilities to increase the capacity of cyber MDT training. Additionally, we recognize the Space Force opportunities and challenges from a total force perspective. We will engage in building partnerships to explore the establishment of a combat training unit to support offensive SEW growth.

The organization’s second priority, Increase Readiness, includes three lines of effort: Enhance AFSC Upgrade Training Through TEC-University Capabilities that are custom, flexible, and innovative; Expand Mission Defense Teams Training Capacity through capacity, efficiency, and capability; and Establish a Combat Training Unit to Support Space Electronic Warfare, through integration, efficiency, and capability.

Develop Exceptional Leaders

TEC will develop exceptional leaders through establishing blended learning enlisted professional military education and by transforming ANG senior leadership orientation courses. Blended learning combines the benefits of next-generation learning management system technology with the irreplaceable in-residence educational experience. This level of development enables the use of best practices and strategies designed to break through gridlocks, accomplishing profound change and developing the adaptability required to blossom in challenging, competitive, and complex environments. The leader’s ability to manage and utilize emotions and to take into account the effects of context are the key ingredients of critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, adaptive learning, and good judgment. Our proposal for transforming the Air National Guard senior leadership courses will enhance the current curriculums and overall learning opportunity.

The organization’s third priority, Develop Exception Leaders, includes three lines of effort: Establish a Senior NCO Academy Blended Learning Course at TEC, through capability, technology, and accessibility; Deliver Airman Leadership School and NCO Academy Blended Learning Courses, through foundational, versatile, and adaptable efforts; and Transform ANG Senior Leadership Orientation Courses through soft skills, technology, strategic efforts.