MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
The 366th Fighter Wing is one year into a two-year organizational structure experiment and continues to review the impact it has on the wing.
Last year Gen. Mike Holmes, Air Combat Command commander, directed the 366th Fighter Wing to test a new organizational structure with the intent to explore ways to improve squadron readiness, empower squadron-level leaders and encourage innovation.
As part of the restructure, the wing removed group commanders and vice commander positions from the wing structure so squadron commanders could report directly to the wing commander. Two deputy commander positions were created to advise and assist the wing commander in guiding and evaluating squadron operations. Additionally, maintenance operations were integrated into the fighter squadrons providing a better unity of effort.
“The simple fact that [squadron commanders] don’t have a group commander to consult on every issue means they have to make more decisions and rely on what they’ve learned.” Holmes said.
An A-staff under the chief of staff, similar to a major command staff structure, serves as liaisons for higher headquarters to facilitate resolutions for organizing, training and equipping forces that are not part of any squadron core mission.
Col. Thomas Palmer, 366 FW chief of staff, said Holmes saw the need to test the organizational structure to further empower squadron commanders and allow squadrons to operate with greater independence.
“Our squadron commanders do feel a lot more empowered,” Palmer said. “When squadron commanders feel more empowered they will perform better because they have the ultimate responsibility in decision-making.”
Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Cirricione, 366th FW Air Staff superintendent, shared her observations of the new structure.
“Communication between commanders has improved,” Cirricione said. “With the removal of a group commander they are able to come to the table and negotiate.”
Cirricione said the base’s one base-one wing structure makes it a perfect test bed for an experiment like this, and since the implementation of the restructure, squadron commanders have inherited the duties that previously belonged to the group commander.
Moving forward into the next year, Cirricione said she looks forward to improving administrative processes and finding solutions to augmenting positions across the wing.
Other bases are conducting restructuring experiments similar to here, however, the 366th FW is currently the only wing conducting this particular type of restructure.
“People are selecting parts of the experiment they want to implement,” Palmer said. “The question is ‘can it spread across Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, [Air Force] Special Operations [Command], United States Air Forces in Europe, and Pacific Air Forces?’”
The wing will continue to evaluate the administrative benefits of the new organizational structure as they aim to improve manning and communication flow, and enhancing the base’s operational readiness.