Cover: Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion

Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion

Executive Summary

Published May 20, 2022

by Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Sarah O. Meadows, Stephani L. Wrabel, Laura Werber, Christopher Joseph Doss, Wing Yi Chan, Lu Dong, Brandon Crosby


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In 2016, the Air Force began an effort to revitalize squadrons, aimed at promoting the readiness and resilience of the force. In light of this effort, the Air Force Services Center established the UNITE Initiative and hired Community Cohesion Coordinators (C3s) across participating installations to plan programs, activities, and events that directly support unit cohesion, leveraging Force Support Squadron activities along with resources and activities in the local community.

Previous research suggests that providing units with opportunities to participate in group activities could serve to improve cohesion. However, the Air Force lacks data that demonstrate a correlation between the use of these activities and expected outcomes. In this report, the authors examine this connection by conducting an initial evaluation of the UNITE Initiative. The authors accomplish this evaluation by conducting interviews with C3s and reviewing post-event feedback from C3s, units, and airmen participants to understand how the program was implemented and identify successes, limitations, and lessons learned. The authors also use two post-event surveys, completed by airmen roughly two and six weeks after participating in a UNITE event, to examine whether participation was associated with perceptions of unit cohesion.

This executive summary encapsulates the findings in Assessing the Association Between Airmen Participation in Force Support Squadron Programs and Unit Cohesion: An Evaluation of the UNITE Initiative (RR-A554-1) 2022.

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The research reported here was commissioned by Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services, Directorate of Services (AF/A1S) and conducted within the Workforce, Development, and Health Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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