Chief Bass briefs EPME 21 to Dover Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the Chief of Air Force Enlisted Developmental Education at the Pentagon, held an all-call Aug. 22, 2017, at Dover AFB to discuss some important changes to the Enlisted Professional Military Education system that are now in effect.

Dover AFB was the fifth base Bass visited to discuss the new EPME for the 21st Century, or EPME 21, since its official release July 18.

“When I came in, our Air Force had almost double the people that our Air Force has today,” Bass explained. “And, back then, we were focused on one AOR, primarily the Middle East. Today, where’s our focus? It is global, yet we’re the smallest we’ve ever been. There is no more [junior varsity] team. Truly every Airman is part of the varsity team. So, if we’re the smallest Air Force we’ve ever been, guess what … every Airman counts. We owe it to you to make sure every Airman is developed and educated.”

One of Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright’s three priorities is leadership – developing Airmen who are ready to lead. This is evidenced in EPME 21 with the shift from time in service to rank-based education requirements.

Removing the TIS determination, “just makes sense,” Wright said in an article on the Air Force website. “We must ensure timely, focused and operationally relevant training and educational solutions at all levels. Providing Airmen with the appropriate PME at the right times in their career is a must. If we deliver it too soon, it’s not effective for where they are in their careers. If we deliver it too late, it’s not effective at all.”

In an effort to further improve effectiveness, EPME 21 also shifted to a 100 percent in-residence education, including: Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, Senior NCO Academy and the Chief Leadership Course, required for promotion to E-5, E-7, E-8 and E-9 respectively. Distance learning courses are still required to provide the basic competency development necessary for success in the residence EPME.

Under EPME 21, all active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen will have the opportunity to attend in-residence education required for promotion, including NCO Academy, Senior NCO Academy and the Chief Leadership Course.

“The greatest advantage that we have over the enemy is our people,” Bass said. “Every single one of you sitting in this room counts, because you are the weapons system. We’ve got to pour into you. We’ve got to educate 100 percent of you.”