Organizational Dynamics Between the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (SAF/MR) and the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services (AF/A1)

by Shirley Ross, Charles P. Armentrout

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Over the years, the relationship between the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (SAF/MR) and the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services (AF/A1) has ebbed and flowed, and the division of work (including work content and work processes) between SAF/MR and AF/A1 has been fluid. Much of this appears to be situationally driven by the expertise and personalities of the leaders of the two organizations, as well as the quantity and quality of the staffs that they lead. At different times, both the SAF/MR and the AF/A1 have brought widely varying backgrounds and levels of expertise in personnel and human resources to the job. The SAF/MR political appointees may or may not bring deep content expertise to the position, and the three-star head of AF/A1, in recent years, has tended to alternate between a rated senior leader and a career personnelist. This Perspective emerged from SAF/MR and AF/A1 interest in better understanding the historical dynamics between their organizations. This Perspective attempts to (1) step back and take a long view, both historically and by statute, (2) summarize interview data collected from previous SAF/MR and AF/A1 office holders and experts, (3) examine other services' current structures and practices, (4) present preliminary analysis, and (5) offer recommendations on how the current already-collegial relationship might be further refined for added consistency and focus, leveraging the capabilities and efficiencies on both sides.

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The work presented here was conducted within the Manpower, Personnel and Training Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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