Analyzing the force today -- for tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Ashley M. Wright
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
Thirty seven individuals tucked away in Hangar 13 on Randolph AFB hold the initial keys to promotions, training and utilization of more than 330,000 Airmen and civilians. 

Air Education and Training Command's Occupational Analysis Division falls under the command's A2/3/10 or Intelligence, Operations, and Nuclear Integration Directorate. The primary goal is to give those who develop or make revisions to career field education and training plans, career development courses, and specialty knowledge tests a clear picture of what tasks career field incumbents are performing, when in their career they are performing them, and the relative importance each task has to the total job they perform. The group creates, distributes and translates data from U.S. Air Force occupational surveys. The data provided to the organization by enlisted personnel, selected officer fields and civil servants supply vital information critical in decisions affecting the whole Air Force, said Roger Corbin, Occupational Analysis Division chief. 

"All of us in the Air Force take multiple surveys, but our occupational analysis surveys are very important for an Airman's training and promotions," Mr. Corbin said. "These surveys are designed to identify not only the most important tasks you do in your Air Force job, but also the tasks that you're actually performing most often on the job. Our resulting surveys help focus promotion testing on the most important part of an Airman's work." 

The surveys begin when the organization's inventory development branch consults with subject matter experts to validate tasks being performed by a particular Air Force Specialty Code, said Michael Skeens, Job Inventory Development chief. 

"We are always looking for opportunities to streamline, so our studies are used a lot of times to look at the possibility of merging particular AFSCs that are similar in work task." Mr. Skeens said. 

About two months of work goes into crafting the survey's questions to answer the client's demands. 

The next step for the survey is preparation for the Internet and distribution to the intended audience. 

"We take the survey instruments [which the inventory development branch develops], and make sure they are properly formatted and viewable on the Web," said Nicole Stermer, Survey Administration chief. "We then distribute them to the field and monitor the returns to make sure we have a sufficient data sample ... so we have enough data for valid analysis. That is why it is important that we encourage folks to participate and to take this seriously when they do take it." 

Preparing, disseminating and analyzing mass amounts of data are nothing new to the formerly-titled Air Force Occupational Measurement Squadron. The organization began as a detachment in the 3300th Support Squadron in 1970 and was designated the U.S. Air Force Occupational Measurement Center in 1974, according to the Squadron's 2008 annual report. Ever since its inception, the organization dedicated highly-qualified, professional individuals to its mission to "facilitate decision-making by providing objective information about Air Force occupations to optimize personnel utilization, training and promotion decisions." 

The Analysis Operations Branch is responsible for processing the information provided to those making the decisions, said Hank Dubois, Analysis Operations chief. The branch, like the division, follows the motto of "by Airmen, for Airmen." 

"We collect data from Airmen, we do an analysis, and then we feed programs like technical training, personnel testing and personnel research with that data," Mr. Dubois said. "We analyze the data and give numbers to decision makers primarily in the area of technical training review and, internally, to another division in AETC for promotion testing development." 

The final Occupational Analysis Reports are available on the Internet, Ms. Stermer said. The results can be found at the Community of Practice Web site at  

In a typical year, the all-civilian organization completes 35 projects. From conception to final report, a project can take up to eight months. The reason for the seemingly lengthy cradle-to-grave timeline is the important influence the material carries. Not only does it affect the number of stripes on an Airman's sleeve, how Airmen are utilized in a deployed location or at their home station, and the efficiency of technical training, but it affects the future of the entire surveyed specialty. 

The Air Force is ever changing and evolving, looking for opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness in order to fight and win in Air, Space and Cyberspace, Mr. Corbin said. From AFSC mergers, to key initiatives like reinvigorating the Nuclear Force, the Occupational Analysis Division is on the front lines, providing data integral to command decisions affecting the future of the Air Force.