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What Helps and What Hurts: How Ten Activities Affect Readiness and Quality of Life at Three 8AF Wings

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In 1996, the Air Force asked for RAND's direct assistance in examining the workloads in the Eighth Air Force (8AF). RAND analysts developed and applied a survey to examine how peacetime operations, exercises, inspections, and a range of other activities affect diverse elements within an Air Force wing, concentrating on the high pace of operations that leads to stress and its unwelcome consequences. Face-to-face surveys collected data from nearly 500 commanders and supervisors from three wings, from all mission areas (operations, logistics, support, medical, and wing staff), and from all organizational levels (wing, group, squadron, and flight/section). Their responses represent some 15,000 Air Force military and civilian personnel. Results show that more than 70 percent surveyed said that inspections and wing exercises negatively affect readiness and consume inordinate amounts of time. The Air Force is already addressing some of the problems discussed in the briefing and is considering limiting compliance inspections to critical areas only and reducing the time spent on them.