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CMSAF announces ‘Purple Book,’ talks people, readiness, culture at AFA

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Erin L. Smith
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass announced the release of the new Purple Book, while illuminating people, readiness, and culture at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference Sept. 20.

Bass, who represents the highest enlisted level of leadership, took pride in introducing the “The Joint Team,” commonly known as the Purple Book, which aims to help Airmen become better joint-minded service members. She also recapped the vast accomplishments attained over the past year, highlighting particular efforts of Airmen who supported Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome.

Airmen from the Personnel Recovery Task Force, special tactics and other major commands partnered to help evacuate Afghans, provide 1.5 million meals and 1.2 million bottles of water and administered 33,000 vaccines, constructed 552 tents, and delivered 38 newborns.

“When I think of ‘One Team, One Fight,’ I think of Airmen from across the Air Force,” she said. “Every major command came together to produce effects greater than themselves and their respective parts. That is interoperability and that is integrated by design.”

Noting recent accomplishments and works in progress, Bass highlighted leadership development, publication of the first Enlisted Force Development Action Plan, updated The Enlisted Force Structure and The Profession of Arms: Our Core Values, more commonly known among Airmen as the “Brown” and “Blue” books.

Bass also mentioned updates to professional military education with some updates beginning this fall. Upcoming changes include:

- Improvements to the MyEval evaluation system.
- A shift in bullet writing to a narrative structure, beginning in October.
- Digital WAPS promotion testing.
- Changes to assignment priority codes for military training instructors, military training leaders, and recruiters.
- Removal of time on station requirements for expedited transfers and the inclusion of acquitted Airmen in expedited transfers.
- Better alignment of assignment report dates so Airmen will not have to report to a new duty station within 120 days of their return from a deployment.
- A new assignment swap policy, citing more details to come.

“How we develop and retain our Airman is paramount to winning the future fight,” she said. “Our strategic competitors are deterred by a strong NCO corps and even more so when we come together with our allies and partners. That is our strategic competitive advantage!”

Bass emphasized information warfare threats to the American way of life and mentioned wars of the future will not look like wars of the past. Making a special note that everyone has a responsibility to the fight by remaining ready, alert and aware of the tactics of our adversaries.

“When it comes to the information domain, we can no longer be passive observers,” she said. “It is a battle space, and our adversaries are weaponizing information at speed, scale, and scope. They are able to leverage social media, digital media, and the information environment to direct the impact of people, readiness, and the culture of our Air Force.”

She specifically cited China and Russia, and how the disinformation model – which has been relatively unchanged for nearly a century – keeps working. Meanwhile, China has been keeping a watchful eye and learning. She stressed the need for digital and social media literacy has never been greater. Airmen now must be critical thinkers, but she has no doubt today’s Airmen are up to the challenge.

“As your fellow Airman, what I remain encouraged about is that no matter the challenges that may come our way, they can never compete with you,” she said. “In fact, the most lethal and advanced weapons systems that we have would simply be a static display if it wasn’t for you.”

Bass discussed the level of education among the enlisted force and noted this year alone, nearly 1,000 enlisted Airmen joined with a degree; making more than 33,000 enlisted Airmen in possession of a bachelor’s degree and more than 6,000 in possession of a postgraduate degree. Sixty-eight have a Ph.D. – three of whom are Airmen 1st Class.

She acknowledged the Airmen from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, who are currently mobilized in response to Hurricane Fiona.

“I do not know when the next conflict will arise or when the next humanitarian disaster might occur, but I do know whenever our nation calls, Airmen will respond,” she said. “It is because of you that Americans sleep well at night and will continue to do so for generations to come.”

To download the new Purple Book, click here