AFSOC launches improved command screening process

  • Published
  • By Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
  • Air Force Special Operations Command

U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has overhauled how it prepares its Airmen for squadron leadership by implementing processes to better assess, develop and assign the command’s unit level leadership teams. These changes support AFSOC’s existing force development initiatives and are aligned with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Action Orders to Accelerate Change or Lose.

“Squadron Command is the pivotal position in our Air Force where command teams have the opportunity to positively influence culture and prepare large numbers of Airmen for the future,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Busque, director of manpower, personnel and services with AFSOC. “As we embrace the challenges of future conflicts, we must ensure we’ve done our best to prepare the leaders of our fighting formations.”

This transformation of AFSOC’s squadron leader development begins with the Commando Eagle board, the process the command uses to select future squadron leaders. This year, candidates will participate in additional assessment processes designed to provide members with the enhanced feedback necessary for continued professional growth. These assessments will also equip the developmental team with a comprehensive profile of potential candidates with a deeper understanding of each candidate's attributes, competencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

“Where the current Commando Eagle process ended with an assessment of member records, our new DT process will leverage a holistic approach using cognitive assessments, formal interviews and peer/subordinate feedback,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff McMaster, force development division chief with AFSOC. “We’ve also anchored our assessments in the new Airman Leadership Qualities which were specifically developed by the Air Force to measure leadership performance and potential. This ensures consistency with our future evaluation reports.”

Officers selected through this year’s Commando Eagle board will have the unique opportunity to leverage their enhanced feedback from the DT and apply it to additional developmental opportunities the command is providing to candidates. A few of those opportunities include prioritization at the Eaker Center’s Leadership Development Course, executive coaching sessions and a revamped Squadron Leadership Course.

“Our officers will use their individual feedback to improve their performance leading up to command through opportunities such as command-sponsored coaching and leader development training” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, deputy commander of AFSOC.

Benefits of this new process include a more comprehensive consideration of each candidate, increased developmental opportunities, and a whole person approach to command hiring.

“Simply stated, this puts more information in the hands of the candidate. This transformation will also improve the command’s ability to match leaders into positions within our formation,” said Hill. “Ultimately, implementing these changes marks our path forward to ensure the next generation of AFSOC Airmen will have the best leaders possible out front.”