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548th ISRG continues their push for Human Performance Optimization

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ramon A. Adelan
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

“It takes a village to raise a child,” but for the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), it takes a community to create a culture of total force fitness and human performance optimization for Airmen.

The intelligence community here has continued to develop the Sustained Performance Enhancement and Resiliency (SPEaR) initiative, which began last year.

The objectives of SPEaR is to create a culture of total force fitness and human performance optimization, foster empowerment toward self-care, examine organizational policies and processes, and equip front-line supervisors with ways to engage Airmen.

“SPEaR is really unique for us at the Distributed Ground Station-2 and the 548th ISRG. We have been improving the quality of life for our Airmen in their work centers,” said Col. Jacob Holmgren, 548th ISRG commander. “We’ve implemented better work stations, which are equipped with better lighting, chairs, desks and monitors to create a suitable environment for Airmen working long hours at a high tempo.”

The focus recently has been on improving functional movement patterns, physical fitness levels, and nutritional health through the 548th ISRG’s Human Performance Coach Initiative.

“The Human Performance Coach Initiative is a program created by our Airmen with the assistance from the Human Performance Flight here,” Holmgren said. “These Airmen volunteered their time to share their interest and passion in physical fitness and nutrition, which most of them had prior education or training. We are empowering our coaches to find concerns within their units and have the creative ability to support them by providing advice on nutrition, physical mobility, and exercises that fit their group’s needs.”

The coaches receive certification in a series of training covering functional movement screening, myofascial compression techniques, performance nutrition, sports psychology, and tactical strength and conditioning. The program is intended to bolster the coach’s skill sets, so they can provide prescribed individual and squadron fitness and nutritional coaching, education, and training to address occupational demands and unique mission requirements of their community.

Airmen of the 548 ISRG encounter occupational risks associated with being “deployed in place.” Some of these risks include daily exposure to remote combat operations, a high-operations tempo, working in an isolated environment, shift work and long work hours, and limited opportunities for psychological decompression.

“These demands are taking a toll on our Airmen affecting both their health and performance,” said Maj. Travis Lunasco, 548th ISRG Operational Psychologist. “It's an impact that is holistic. High rates of headaches and insomnia, decline in fitness levels, nutritional deficits, increased weight gain, back pain, vision degrade, mood dysregulation, and relational issues top the list. Using human performance optimization as a framework, we are taking steps to bolster the performance and health of our Airmen and simultaneously address those risk factors related to their day to day jobs.”

The members of the 548th ISRG have joined forces with the 9th Medical Group to tackle those areas identified in the Air Combat Command’s Culture Process Improvement Program (CPIP).

The CPIP was established to improve the quality of life of the ISR community by targeting and developing methods of improvement for concerns identified by Airmen and family members throughout the ISR enterprise. The approach is to focus on addressing minor problems more efficiently and discover any long-term strategic goals to improve the more complex, deep-seeded problems Airmen and their family’s experience.

“What we are doing here is relatively small and local, but with help provided from the CPIP it has given us the best practices to utilize, which were gathered from processes units developed across Air Combat Command,” Holmgren said. “At the end of the day it’s about our Airmen and helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle by balancing human performance to ensure mission completion.”