Forging bonds, building resilience: The evolution of the AFMC Connect initiative

  • Published
  • By Brian Dietrick
  • Air Force Materiel Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio - Forget sterile briefings and cookie-cutter training programs. The Air Force Materiel Command takes a bold approach to its most valuable asset: its people.

The AFMC Connect is a ground-up initiative reshaping workplace culture to focus on unity, resilience and thriving performance. It breaks free from traditional top-down hierarchies and empowers units to build their paths to success.

"AFMC Connect focuses on building relationships and looking inside our organizations and being able to provide opportunities to have meaningful discussions that lead to promoting unit cohesion," said Katie Doyle, AFMC resilience program manager. "It's a holistic approach, looking at strengthening individual resilience, reinforcing positive factors, and helping to reduce unwanted behaviors."

At the heart of this initiative lies a simple yet powerful message: connection. Building strong bonds within units isn't just about morale; it's about forging a safety net of support, a web of understanding that catches and lifts individuals when they falter. This interconnectedness is nurtured through activities tailored by each unit, ranging from team-building exercises to community outreach programs.

"We want to connect with Airmen at all levels," Doyle said. “This initiative is for uniformed and civilian Airmen alike, and we even publish a quarterly document for family connections that can be used in the home.”

The history and evolution of AFMC Connect

The seeds of AFMC Connect were planted long before its official launch in 2020. The U.S. Air Force has always recognized the importance of building strong, resilient Airmen, capable of managing the high demands of their service. Throughout its history, various programs and initiatives focused on fitness, morale, and well-being existed within the Air Force, including AFMC.

Notably, the Air Force Comprehensive Airmen Fitness framework emphasized the importance of mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness for Airmen. This laid the groundwork for a holistic approach to well-being and helped set the foundation for AFMC Connect's focus on connection and resiliency.

In 2019, a pivotal moment came with the Air Force Resilience Tactical Pause. This event, along with results from Defense Organizational Climate Surveys and feedback from various Air Force helping agencies, highlighted the need for proactive, unit-based efforts to build resilience and combat risk factors for mental health struggles. In response, AFMC Connect officially launched within Air Force Materiel Command.

Initially, AFMC Connect focused on providing leaders with tools and resources to foster unit cohesion and connectedness. This included creating a framework for effective communication, promoting activities that build relationships, and encouraging the use of resources to support Airmen facing challenges.

Early efforts also tackled challenges specific to AFMC, such as the geographically dispersed nature of its work and the unique pressures facing its personnel. Tailored communication strategies and outreach programs were developed to address these specific needs.

Since its launch, AFMC Connect has continuously evolved and expanded. This year brings additional updates making it easier for units to connect in a way that is most effective for Airmen.

Leaders are now able to choose their own topic each month to meet the needs of their workforce. Additionally, annual suicide prevention training is covered as one of the individual monthly topics, versus requiring a standalone session separately from other monthly AFMC Connect topics.

“This new framework gives leaders a little more flexibility when selecting which topics to cover each month,” Doyle said. “We continuously look at ways to provide leaders more effective tools to help them reinforce the AFMC mission.”

The results? They're as diverse as the individuals who make up the AFMC. Improved unit cohesion, a decline in negative behaviors, and a surge in productivity are just a few examples. More importantly, AFMC Connect fosters a culture of belonging where individuals feel valued and heard.

With its focus on connection, resilience, and empowering individuals, AFMC Connect is weaving a fabric of strength and unity, one unit at a time.

"This initiative helps us focus on the mission," Doyle said. "It reinforces our shared purpose and strengthens the connections and development of our most vital resource, and that's our people."

For more information about AFMC Connect tools and resources, please visit