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Survey addresses quality-of-life needs

SAN ANTONIO -- The 2010 Caring for People Survey gives total force Airmen, civilians, retirees and dependents an opportunity to voice their concerns on how the Air Force can better address their quality-of-life needs.

With Airmen deploying in support of global contingency operations for two decades, developing and caring for Airmen and their families continues to be a high priority for Air Force leaders.

"We need to provide for the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual well-being of our Airmen and their families," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley during remarks at an Air Force Sergeants Association convention in August. "The needs of Airmen and their families, however changing they may be, are enduring, and we must continue to understand their needs and support."

The last survey was administered in 2008 and helped leaders identify four broad categories of services important to Airmen and their families, health and wellness, Airmen and family support, education and development, and housing and communities.

Insights from the survey and subsequent focus groups spurred the development of several initiatives for each category:

-- Six bases are currently testing a new dining concept as part of the Food Transformation Initiative, which improves the quality and availability of food for Airmen.

-- $140 million has been allocated to improve fitness facilities.

-- Officials have programmed more than $250 million for dormitory improvements, and 23,000 privatized homes have been built or renovated.

-- More than $10 million has been allocated to create an Air Force Single Airmen program.

The 2010 Caring for People Survey will continue to build upon the relevance of the 2008 survey so Air Force officials can capture trended data to allow for more robust analysis, said Curt Cornelssen, the chief of future operations for Air Force Services at the Pentagon.

"In this climate of tighter budget constraints, it is imperative that we develop the best picture of what our Air Force community wants and needs, so we can prudently focus our resources," he said. "The last survey only had a 21-percent response rate, so we're hoping to far surpass that this year."

For the first time, this year's survey includes civilians, spouses and retirees to ensure the needs of the total Air Force community are captured, officials said.

The survey will be sent via e-mail in stages beginning Dec. 1, and will work with major command and base officials to reach out to families and retirees.