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Building Resiliency with Iron

  • Published
  • By Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

Resiliency of our Air Commandos has always been on the forefront for AFSOC. The command is constantly on the lookout for new programs and initiatives to elevate the ways we can build up our Airmen.

In 2020, helping agencies within AFSOC united under one single initiative, the AFSOC Integrated Resilience Optimization Network (IRON), to bring a more functionally aligned and organized focus on resiliency for our Air Commandos and their families.

 “Building the resiliency of our Air Commandos is so important,” said Onnie Retkofsky, AFSOC Iron Division Chief. “Organizing the helping agencies together under one conceptual framework optimized our resiliency programs and resources within AFSOC, ultimately making them more effectively communicated, and providing the most benefit for our Airmen and their families.”

AFSOC IRON forges resilience around 5 domains: physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and spiritual.

As part of the IRON program, each AFSOC wing has its own IRON lead representative for each performance domain. These advocates coordinate with helping agencies and providers assigned to each pillar to ensure Airmen and their families have access to all resources available. They also coordinate events and facilitate working groups between the agencies of the pillar they represent.

The IRON framework hosts regular resiliency events at various installations across the command to discuss and collaborate on resiliency programs. Often these events are focused around a certain pillar, but always incorporating concepts from the other domains to create and teach a holistic view of resilience.

The AFSOC IRON team held an IRON Physical Performance summit here, July 19-21, bringing in IRON representatives and providers from across the AFSOC wings to collaborate and educate on the programs most recent developments and set the vision for the future of IRON: AFSOC’s Airmen performing at their fullest potential.

“We wanted the focus of this first year’s summit to be on the physical pillar, which has the ability to incorporate all Airmen in a neutral and positive setting regardless of their current individual situations. We will increase our summit to integrate the other resiliency pillars as funding allows and COVID restrictions lift, to continue to create and build a holistic approach to refining resilience in our Airmen” said Retkofsky.

Feedback the IRON team has received on the effectiveness of these resiliency summits, and the program as a whole, has been nothing but positive.

“What our helping agencies and IRON members love about these summits, is the fact that we can all meet, learn and advocate for resiliency programs and techniques in-person again, said Retkofsky. “Meeting over Microsoft Teams once a month allows us to stay connected, but nothing beats the collaborative process of being together in-person.”

To learn more about the IRON program and resources you have available, reach out to your wing’s IRON representative.