LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The Enlisted Developmental Duty Positions (EDDP) program is a 61st Air Base Group initiative that grants the opportunity for enlisted Airmen to gain experience outside of their normal career field and duties, while supporting the overall Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) mission.
Interested individuals may voluntarily apply to the program, which is overseen by the installation’s command chief and approved by the gaining organization’s leadership. Once a candidate is selected, the Airman will serve as a team member to that organization for a period of six months. The organizations that are currently participating in the EDDP program include the Career Assistance Advisor (CAA), the Commander’s Action Group (CAG) and the Public Affairs (PA) office.
Tech. Sgt. Dwayne Cox, 61st Communications Squadron enterprise information systems technician, and Staff Sgt. Vincent Tran, Space and Missile Systems Center executive support services administration technician, were selected as the first EDDP participants. Both Airmen volunteered for the program in hopes of growing as a noncommissioned officer (NCO) and building relationships throughout the base.
“I was able to facilitate several lessons and group discussions for each of our professional development courses," said Cox. "Before working with the CAA, teaching was something that I have not done for years, so this program has allowed me to jump back into gear as an instructor. This program has helped me grow as an NCO, as I am now familiar with the variety of programs and opportunities available to Airmen. I can now go back to my unit and speak about those opportunities, so that my Airmen and peers have the tools necessary to make informed decisions about their careers.”
Like Cox, Tran overcame obstacles while taking part in the program.
“Working in the CAG has helped me evolve as an NCO by becoming more detail oriented,” said Tran. “When I began working for this organization, documents were often sent back to me for correction as I tended to overlook the minor things.”
Through experience, Tran developed a sense for repetition and consistency, which became fundamental to overcoming this challenge.
Upon completion of their development plans, Cox and Tran along with their EDDP mentors offered feedback for the new program. Matters concerning program continuity and the length of each term were addressed and improved upon for the next rotation. Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Alvarez, 61st Communications Squadron client systems technician, and Staff Sgt. Angelynn Bailey, 61st CS knowledge manager, replaced Cox and Tran early this year.
Alvarez, who was selected by the CAA to serve as the noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of professional development, applied for the position to expand her experience and knowledge of the Air Force, as well as develop a better sense for other available career opportunities.
“I knew this position would allow me to break away from my comfort zone and everyday tasks, it would also benefit my career and help introduce me to new people,” said Alvarez. “Development is about expanding your horizons, which usually requires you to escape your comfort zone.”
Alvarez was empowered with the opportunity to instruct courses for First-Term Airmen, build relationships, and help shape the future of SMC.
“Beginning a new position and a new line of work was challenging,” she explained. “I was eager to learn the ins and outs of CAA operations and how I could directly influence Airmen and civilians on base. As an NCO, we are expected to lead, develop and positively impact our peers, and working in this position has shown me how to effectively do that.”
Alvarez explained that this program will ultimately help Airmen reach their full potential and provide them with a better understanding of the Air Force.
Like Alvarez, Bailey reflected positively on her involvement with this new initiative.
“I was challenged to work in an environment that came with an extremely high operations tempo,” said Bailey. “The increased workload and pressure provided the opportunity to showcase my work ethic and resilience as an Airman. This position keeps me on my toes as I am consistently working tasks that require me to think critically.”
Bailey volunteered as NCOIC of the CAG to further develop her skills as an enlisted leader, as well as broaden her knowledge of the SMC mission.
“This opportunity has helped me tremendously with understanding the mission of SMC and how I contribute to that mission,” said Bailey. “As a member of the CAG, my understanding of the importance of information has been reinforced and I now have the experience necessary to help with the flow of that information.”
Bailey hopes that the EDDP program will continue to challenge future participants and help them develop a better sense for task management and process improvement.
According to Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Arnold, SMC command chief, the EDDP program provides members a unique perspective and opportunity to witness the various missions outside of their normal day-to-day operations.
“Allowing an Airman to participate in this program not only benefits the member, but also the unit in which the member normally belongs to,” said Arnold. “He or she gains a lot of knowledge that can assist them in leading Airmen upon return to their work center. This can certainly benefit the organization as the member has a better understanding of how and why decisions are made at higher levels and they then take this information further into their careers - ultimately assisting them in leadership and decision-making.”
From a strategic perspective, these opportunities provide participants with insight on how their individual job impacts the mission and how other critical pieces come together to ensure the Air and Space Force provide the world’s best space capabilities.
“My goal with this program is to encourage Airmen to step outside of their comfort zone to gain knowledge that will aide them as they progress in their careers,” Arnold continued. “I hope that each Airman who participates in this program will look back on this opportunity as a pivotal moment along their career path.”
Editor’s Note: Staff Sgt. Randy Duffy, 61st Civil Engineering & Logistics Squadron, NCOIC of Construction Management, is also a participant of the Enlisted Developmental Duty Positions (EDDP) program and has been serving as NCOIC of the SMC Public Affairs office for the last four months. The PA position is the newest availability to the EDDP program and is an additional option to the CAA and CAG positions.