The Air Force would come to a grinding halt without the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said AFLCMC’s newest senior enlisted leader during a recent interview.
“The center is absolutely integral to the operations of the United States Air Force,” said Chief Master Sgt. Troie Croft, AFLCMC command chief. “We are responsible for everything from uniforms to software, to aiding in the design, development and sustainment of our most powerful weapon systems. There would be no global reach or global power without the work people do here every day, and I’m excited to be part of the team.”
An Intel Airman by trade in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance community, Croft brings more than 26 years of Air Force experience to the “table,” where he serves as a senior advisor on matters concerning the combat readiness, health, welfare, morale, effective utilization and quality of life of more than 26,000 center employees.
Outside of work, some of the chief’s passions include photography and history.
“I enjoy learning about how this country was built from the ground up and how we ended up with the structure and Constitution we have today,” he said. “I’m interested in Revolutionary War and Civil War history. Yorktown (Revolutionary War battlefield) is my favorite battlefield. It’s where the underdog with help from allies wins against a larger adversity. When you think about modern day warfare and how we fight, it’s with our allies.”
As command chief, Croft’s two priorities are people and mission.
“The mission has to get done,” Croft said. “AFLCMC has the responsibility for procuring and sustaining major weapon systems. On the other hand we can’t do that without the people. How do we ensure that we are taking care of these folks? How do we bring them in? How do we train them? How do we reward them? How do we develop them as leaders as well as ensure they understand work/life balance? As chief, I’m focused on all of these issues.”
Ensuring that enlisted personnel are utilized according to their skill sets and are competitive with their peers outside AFLCMC is a challenge Croft is trying to address.
“Let’s say that the board is looking at two packages,” Croft said. “One from a boom operator who is doing the mission day to day in a manner easy to understand, and the other from a subject matter expert sitting in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. We have to make sure the board understands what the person from AFLCMC does and that they are competitive with their peers.”
He added that ensuring enlisted personnel are competitive with peers is a constant review process, involving learning what members would be responsible for in their traditional roles and assessing if their current duties meet or exceed that baseline. In addition he said that it is important to document the member’s scope and span of control in a clear and concise manner.
“I’m very fortunate to work with a great group of chiefs and senior leaders who are taking care of our folks with these same concerns in mind,” said Croft.
He added that it’s up to everyone to make a difference.
“When you talk about the security of the nation, we need to go fast; we need to be creative, and we need to think outside of the box,” Croft said. “We can’t expect money to solve all of our problems. Our budget will never be large enough; we will never be able to buy all of the things that we absolutely want. In order to get to where we need to go we need to have people who have initiative, who are willing to take a lot of risk, who are willing to push the boundaries. I’m a big fan of Nike’s slogan, ‘Just Do It.’ If you are waiting to be told what to do, you are just going to wait. We need people who are going to grab the mission, and take action. We just don’t have the time to wait anymore.”
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