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Headquarters Air Force realigns similar to 'J-staff' model

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Jan. 30, 2006) -- The staff functions at Headquarters Air Force, major commands and warfighting headquarters will soon all share the same "A-staff" structure.

By Feb. 1, the Air Staff at Headquarters Air Force here will adopt an organizational structure that closely mirrors the Army's "G-staff," the Navy's "N-staff" and the joint "J-staff." The effort will help the Air Force optimize internal communications and communicate more efficiently with other services, said Brig. Gen. Marshall K. Sabol, the Air Force director for manpower, organization and resources.

"This change will enhance our warfighting capability and help our communications both horizontally and vertically in the Air Force, as well as with those on the joint staff and the office of the secretary of defense," General Sabol said. "As we operate in deployed and joint environments, our communication will also be more effective and efficient."

The affected Air Force functions will be re-named and re-aligned so similar functions at all levels are referred to by the same name. Those same functional groupings will closely match other services and the joint staff.

At Headquarters Air Force, the deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel is now called "AF/DP." Under the reorganization, he will be referred to as "the A1." The A1 in the Air Force is responsible for plans and policies covering all military life cycles and civilian personnel management.

Changes at major commands and warfighter headquarters’ levels that have not yet adopted the A-staff structure will follow suit by May 1. Similar functions at all levels will be "re-mapped" to nine standardized A-staff areas of responsibility. Those areas include:

• A1 - Manpower and Personnel

• A2 - Intelligence

• A3 - Air, Space and Information Operations

• A4 - Logistics

• A5 - Plans and Requirements

• A6 - Communications

• A7 - Installations and Mission Support

• A8 - Strategic Plans and Programs

• A9 - Analyses, Assessments and Lessons Learned

By adopting this staff structure, the Air Force will eliminate the difficulty sometimes encountered when leadership at one headquarters attempts to contact functional counterparts at another headquarters.

"Back in November, if I were to try to get a hold of a person that dealt with manpower issues, one command might call that the A5M, another the XPM, and still another the DPM," General Sabol said. "That is very confusing. And even if you were to compare phonebooks, not one of them looks the same. This reorganization will change that."

General Sabol said, there have been concerns in the field the reorganization would equate to job loss. The reorganization will neither create nor eliminate jobs, he said. What the reorganization will do is make it easier for Airmen to do their jobs, both within the Air Force and the joint environment.

"Whether you are at work, deployed or even working from home, this will make it easier for you to do your work," he said. "Wherever you are, you are going to know who to talk to and how to communicate. "

As part of the A-Staff structure, the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff will also serve as the director of staff. This title allows for better association with the joint staff and other services. Retaining the assistant vice chief of staff nomenclature is required to fulfill the representational role the person plays in dealing with attaches and communication to foreign contingents while representing the chief of staff.

Not all functions of the Air Staff will be affected by the reorganization. The reorganization will not change special staff offices assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force and will not filter down to the wing level.