Armed Forces News

Senior Airman Sawyer Ezzell, a crew chief with the 123rd Maintenance Group, 123rd Airlift Wing, services the liquid oxygen system of a Kentucky Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 15, 2019, as part of Immediate Response 2019. The annual exercise is focused on allied airborne forces’ ability to quickly and effectively respond to crisis situations as an interoperable, multinational team. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton: License here.)

Leadership, managing competing commitments and self-care issues top the challenges the Air Force community faces, according to a newly released RAND Corporation study. At the service’s request, RAND conducted a survey of airmen, retirees and their families between August and October 2017.

Respondents indicated they are hindered from performing normal activities for roughly two to three days a month because of “poor mental or physical health.”

Other findings include:

* Many expressed a need for more information and emotional or social support.
* Some 58 percent of all Air Force personnel who tried to get help for issues found that their needs went unmet.
* Military mental health providers and “religious or spiritual providers” proved to be the best resources for providing help.
* Other military resources were found lacking in the way they addressed problems with military life and family situations.

The report recommended that the Air Force:

* Address problems associated with military practices, culture, well-being and work-life balance.
* Take steps to improve conditions for units with heavy workloads.
* Address sleep-related challenges and stress management.
* Reach out to airmen and spouses – particularly those who serve in the Reserve and National Guard – with information about services and programs. This would include having announcements sent to personal email addresses.
* Make efforts to understand the ramifications of the perceptions of poor leadership.