The Problem with Integrity

I think about Winston Churchill a lot. A successful writer, correspondent, painter, politician and businessman, he is known for his bold principled stand against Hitler. However, zoom in and a more complex narrative emerges.

After Neville Chamberlain negotiated the Munich Agreement in 1938, which sought to appease Nazi Germany by allowing them to take control of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, Winston Churchill famously said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”

They look wise now, but his comments were unwelcome. Many people in Britain and other countries believed that the agreement would prevent war and that Churchill’s warnings were alarmist. He was even removed from his position as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1939 and was not given any major government positions until 1940 when he became Prime Minister as the war had already started.

He pushed through years of criticism and personally rallied a nation with his bold, counter-cultural, stand that led the allied powers to victory. If we stopped there, we have a tight schoolbook story of leader who did the right thing and was vindicated and honored.

Unfortunately for Sir Winston, shortly after the war, his government was defeated in the general election of July 1945. The British people were tired after six years of war and preferred the Labour Party’s program of social reforms. He found himself doubted, vindicated and then cast away.

Everyone and every organization wants integrity, but actually having it, keeping it and acting on it is a challenge. Nothing is simple when you find yourself at a different place than those around you. Holding a counter-cultural view means going against the dominant beliefs and values of the system you are working hard to support.

Yes, integrity can be dangerous. The word integrity doesn’t have meaning and power when everyone agrees. When integrity forces you to be different, it’s dangerous for you and others. You risk losing your friends, your job and your sleep.

Counter-cultural integrity threatens the status quo and big organizations need broad buy in to the status quo to get things done. The right thing may be good in the long run, but it can be disruptive now. Personal integrity requires standards that may not change with culture or a corporation’s strategy for risk mitigation. Anyone who holds to an independent set of standards will eventually find themselves a problem in a rigid and ever changing system.

Standing Alone

Worst of all, the road towards acting on integrity brings you into contact with the dark side. There is a temptation to be right and feel superior to the system you are in. You need the inspiration of the examples of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln, but you can’t conflate your situation and your strength with theirs. You have to remain humble while not losing your convictions. You have to be continually open to being wrong. You have to push yourself to be flexible. You have to see and respect the other side.

The other temptation is to give in to self-pity and think that the world is against you. The professional world can be a dark, amoral, and heartless place. That is reality–true everywhere. No one is a unique and constant victim of unjustified persecution or mistreatment. There is no conspiracy, just people trying to make it all work and not lose their status, jobs or relationships.

The stress of finding yourself alone, against the crowd, is real. The only way to survive it is to have a trusted network of friends– not friends who just listen, affirm and agree, but friends who hold you accountable and clarify your thoughts. A good friend turns a dark and lonely road into conviction that can confirm your individuality and authenticity. Most important, sharing your story can lead to positive change. There is no tighter community than like-minded individuals who support, refine, and validate each other’s perspectives.

I’ve taken several counter-cultural stands in my life with a wide range of outcomes. All were painful. Every stand I’ve taken has resulted in some degree of lost friendships and increased pain. Some day I may be proud of these actions, but all of them resulted in a lost opportunity where I had to get off the boat and watch it sail on. If there is any pride in that, it’s drowned out by the sadness of it all.

I’ve learned that I’m not particularly brave or strong. However, I’m blessed with great community, a love of history and a deep care for others. Most of all, I feel convicted to protect others who trust and depend on me doing the right thing.

But this isn’t the movies. As I’ve post-processed tough stands, when I did the most good, I felt the worst inside. Taking a different road leaves you feeling alone and scared, self-conscious and unsure. Integrity put into practice in these scenarios makes part of you wish you didn’t have it. It’s not fun and it doesn’t feel courageous. When I’ve done the most right, the overwhelming emotion is sadness and insecurity.

Here I’m convicted and encouraged by two father son chats. The first is Polonius, who is giving advice in Hamlet to his son Laertes as he prepares to leave for France. Polonius urges his son to be honest with himself, to be true to his own values and beliefs, and to avoid the temptations and pitfalls of the world. He advises Laertes to “neither a borrower nor a lender be” and to “this above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” If Laertes is true to himself, he will not be able to deceive others; he will be true to himself and avoid compromise for the sake of others or for the sake of fitting in.

The second is from Cicero. He wrote to his son, Marcus, that an unjust act will never profit him.

Stop. Just let the gravity of this settle. This may be the most counter-cultural message ever written. A thief can at least enjoy his spoils a little bit, right? A boss who complies with pressure to promote a lesser qualified person at the expense of her/his better judgment may get a promotion that helps their career, right?

No, Cicero says it won’t help them. He believed in an absolute view of morality and integrity. He wrote that an unjust act is not only morally wrong, but it will also ultimately harm the person who commits it and the society that allows it. He believed that living a virtuous life and making the right choices, even if difficult, is the only true path to true happiness and fulfillment. In his letter Ad Familiares Cicero wrote: “There is nothing more virtuous, nothing more in accord with duty, than to take one’s stand for what is right.” He also wrote in this same letter:

“What is morally right is not always politically expedient; and what is politically expedient is not always morally right.”

Cicero believed that true success and happiness come from living a virtuous life, and that this requires standing up for what is right, even when it may be difficult or unpopular. Even when it looks like an easy compromise, it will never profit you. Never. Even if you are lucky and some good results from your actions, you have harmed your soul.

The wisdom of history, a deep personal faith and a tight network of friends all give me confidence to do the right thing, no matter the cost. This is true even with full knowledge of just how dangerous, costly and lonely the road of counter-cultural integrity is.

I’m jealous of those who can compromise, make things work and steer situations to a middle ground, but I have trouble here. This isn’t a brave or honorable as much as I see no other option. Without deep reflection on, and a commitment to hold to standards, I wouldn’t have individuality or authenticity.

Just as breathing is a necessary function for survival, holding to one’s standards and integrity is necessary for maintaining a sense of self and personal agency. Without it, one risks becoming a mere follower or conforming to the beliefs and values of others, losing their unique perspective and individuality. Holding to one’s standards and integrity can be challenging–it’s been the hardest thing I’ve had to do–but it is a fundamental aspect of being true to oneself.

It’s fitting to have just passed Martin Luther King day. MLK wrote:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Character is revealed not in moments of ease, but in times of adversity, and when difficult choices and decisions are made. This quote reminds me that true strength and honor come from standing up for what is right, even when it is hard and uncomfortable, and that we should strive to be true to our principles and values, even in the face of opposition. All power is moral power and all strength requires the willingness to walk the hard road, even when it isn’t where you want to go.

Review: From Strength to Strength

Devote the back half of your life to serving others with your wisdom. Get old sharing the things you believe are most important. Excellence is always its own reward, and this is how you can be most excellent as you age.

Arthur C. Brooks

How do you ensure you don’t get the most out of aging well: cultivate gratitude, practice compassion, build relationships, and create beauty. I love the simplicity and truth of that.

In “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life,” Arthur Brooks addresses a common problem faced by many successful individuals (who he calls “strivers”) as they enter the second half of their lives.

Yes, but I’m 46, should I care about this? Well, yes, according to most research I’m past my professional prime. In the world of tech/science the most common age for producing a magnum opus is the late 30s. The likelihood of a major discovery increases steadily through one’s 20s and 30s and then declines through one’s 40s, 50s, and 60s. Research shows that the likelihood of producing a major innovation at age 70 is approximately what it was at age 20—almost nonexistent.

My brand is innovation and innovators typically have an abundance of fluid intelligence. It is highest relatively early in adulthood and diminishes starting in one’s 30s and 40s. This is why tech entrepreneurs, for instance, do so well so early, and why older people have a much harder time innovating.

Crystallized intelligence, in contrast, is the ability to use knowledge gained in the past. Think of it as possessing a vast library and understanding how to use it. It is the essence of wisdom. Because crystallized intelligence relies on an accumulating stock of knowledge, it tends to increase through one’s 40s, and does not diminish until very late in life.

Careers that rely primarily on fluid intelligence tend to peak early, while those that use more crystallized intelligence peak later. For example, Dean Keith Simonton has found that poets—highly fluid in their creativity—tend to have produced half their lifetime creative output by age 40 or so. Historians—who rely on a crystallized stock of knowledge—don’t reach this milestone until about 60.

No matter what mix of intelligence your field requires, you can always endeavor to weight your career away from innovation and toward the strengths that persist, or even increase, later in life.

This book underscores the tragedy of “peaking early” and failing to grow and adjust to life’s stages. But this is the lot of the striver. There will be a point where worldly accomplishment diminishes or even stops. What happens then when the most difficult task is the daily struggle with a sense of failure and despondency.

To address this issue, Brooks suggests that it is necessary for individuals to find a deep purpose in their second half of life. This can be achieved through the cultivation of gratitude, the practice of compassion, the building of relationships, and the creation of beauty. By focusing on these actions, individuals can find a sense of fulfillment and purpose that will carry them through the second half of life and enable them to finish well.

One of the most compelling aspects of Brooks’ book is his emphasis on the importance of gratitude. He argues that cultivating gratitude allows individuals to find joy and purpose in their lives, even in the midst of challenges and setbacks. By focusing on the things we are thankful for, we can find meaning and fulfillment that is not dependent on external circumstances or accomplishments.

But gratitude is empty without the practice of compassion. By seeking to understand and care for others, we can find a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond our own individual accomplishments. Brooks makes it clear that this can be especially meaningful in the second half of life, as it allows us to contribute to the greater good and make a positive impact on the world around us.

In addition to cultivating gratitude and practicing compassion, Brooks also emphasizes the importance of building relationships. He argues that strong relationships with others can provide us with a sense of belonging and purpose that is essential for a fulfilling life. By investing in these relationships and seeking to connect with others, we can find meaning and joy in the second half of our lives.

Finally, Brooks suggests that creating beauty is another key way in which individuals can find purpose and meaning in the second half of life. Whether through art, music, or other creative endeavors, the act of creating beauty or building beautiful things allows us to connect with something greater than ourselves and find a sense of fulfillment and joy.

Winston Churchill Painting as a Pastime

On a personal note, I have to contrast Brooks message with the story of the apostle Paul. Writing from prison, he emphasized the importance of pressing on towards the goal and finishing his course. However, this is not a problem unique to Paul, as many people struggle with a sense of failure and despondency in the second half of life. What would Paul think of the danger of peaking in one’s career between the ages of 30 and 50, and the potential for a sense of failure and despondency in the latter half of life.

Brooks suggests that in order to avoid this sense of failure, it is necessary for individuals to find a deep purpose in their second half of life. Paul would say it is also important for individuals to recognize that their identity should not be solely based on their accomplishments or successes. Instead, our identity should be rooted in our relationship with God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. This allows us to find a sense of purpose and meaning that is not dependent on our external circumstances or accomplishments.

I also found wisdom from a completely different angle: the varnasrama system of Hinduism which splits up our lives into four distinct stages, each happening every 20-25 years—with vanaprastha (वनप्रस्थ) being the all-important third stage.

After our youthful first stage (“figure out who I am”), in our early-20s we move to a second stage (“prove yourself”) that lasts until we are about 50 years of age. In the second stage, we are driven by the pursuit of pleasure, sex, money, and accomplishments. But by the third stage (“give back”), at around age 50, we begin to pull back from a focus on professional and social advancement. Instead, we become more interested in spirituality and faith.

The important transition is from stage 2 to 3, which typically occurs around age 50, can be difficult for many people, especially in Western societies, where there is often a strong emphasis on professional and social advancement. According to Arthur C. Brooks, this transition is important because it can lead to increased happiness and contentment, as well as better physical health. Additionally, as people age, they tend to become wiser, with greater ability to combine and express complex ideas, interpret the ideas of others, and use the knowledge they have gained throughout their lives. This “crystallized intelligence” can be put to good use by sharing wisdom with others and becoming more devoted to spiritual growth. It is important to let go of the things that once defined us in the eyes of the world and embrace this new stage of life in order to truly thrive in the latter half of adulthood. In summary, the older we get, the better we get at:

  • Combining and using complex ideas and expressing them to others
  • Interpreting the ideas others have (even if we didn’t create them ourselves)
  • Using the knowledge we have gained during our lives

As we approach the finish line of our journey, it is essential that we strive to finish well. This involves finding a deep purpose in the second half of life, cultivating gratitude, practicing compassion, building relationships, and creating beauty. By doing so, we can navigate the challenges and winds of life with a focus on the ultimate goal of glorifying God and finishing our course with joy and purpose.

“From Strength to Strength” is a thought-provoking and insightful book that offers valuable insights and strategies for finding success, happiness, and deep purpose in the second half of life. Whether you are just entering this phase of your journey or are well into the second half, this book offers valuable guidance and encouragement for navigating the challenges and winds of life with a focus on the ultimate goal of finishing well.

Automated form 40As

Recently, I had to produce form 40A’s in order to claim military leave. As a computer scientist, I found the process to be horrific and felt compelled to share my solution. I didn’t get much help with UTAPSWEB FOR IMAs CHEAT SHEET VERSION 101210. That document is filled with unhelpful and unprofessional statements like:

Changes made to Form 40As because you were just ‘trying something’ may not be able to be resolved.

Oh, well, I Am Alone once again. I’m a hacker, famous for ‘trying something’, well here goes . . .

Should you ever find yourself in this situation, navigate to “Automated Form 40s”:


From here, I had to look at the source code to decode the buttons. The icons kinda make sense, but they are about 10px high and don’t even have mouseover text. Ok, the source can’t lie:

Based on this, I clearly wanted the


. After clicking this and waiting for the long update to happen. You can select multiple 40As:


So from here, the


button looked like the next logical step. Make sure to allow popups (nice 1990s web-practices!). The result was an unexpected:


So that doesn’t work. Let’s look at the traffic and dive into the form. First, there is no form. They are counting on a click event with js in the div header.

So the important code is clearly in there, there are single click events, double-clicks and even an attempted contextmenu override.

onclick="javascript:igtree_nodeclick(event,'ctl00MainContentUltraWebTree1');" ondblclick="javascript:igtree_dblclick(event,'ctl00MainContentUltraWebTree1');" oncontextmenu="javascript:igtree_contextmenu(event,'ctl00MainContentUltraWebTree1');" onselectstart="javascript:igtree_selectStart();"

At this point, I’m getting in too deep and just need to get 16 IDTs printed. Clicking on one at a time will take 20 minutes, so I wrote an adobe script to automatically change the dates. Did anyone else have better luck on this? I’m considering writing a new front end to all of this that scrapes the back-end. Any other developers want to help me with that?

How much do IMA reservists make?

It is not easy to quickly decipher military pay tables for us IMAs. In order to do some recent financial planning, I had to calculate my pay. I’m an O-4 with between 14 and 16 years of service. Here is what I did.


You can find the official military pay tables from the DoD comptroller but I found to have the 2015 data that I couldn’t find on the official site.

Here, I saw that based on my years of service, my drill pay is \$962.83, which is 4 IDTs, or 16 hours, so I get paid \$60.17 an hour. For 48 IDT’s (Cat A), this means I get paid

$$ \frac{\text{drill pay}}{4} \times 48 = \$11,553.6 $$

for IDTs. Drill pay is higher than basic pay. I assume this is because drill pay is burdened by all the things you don’t get as an IMA: health benefits, BAH, BAS.

Annual Tour

Now, to calculate the annual tour (AT) we use the regular military pay tables. On the first page of the scale is your monthly military pay. First, find the pay that applies to you based on your rank and time in service. If you divide that number by 30, that gives you your daily pay. Multiply that number by the number of annual tour days you are required to do (14 in my case as a reservist) and you’ll have your before-tax annual tour pay.

$$ \frac{\$\,7221.22}{30} = \$\,240.71 \; \text{daily pay} $$

then $ \$ 240.71 \times 14 = \$ 3,369.90 $, which is appears to be exactly half of what I would get if I got IDT pay for the annual tour.

All together, this means \$15,000 a year in gross income from the reserves.

How do you value the retirement benefit?

To collect on retirement benefits, you have to attain age 60, not be entitled to receive military retired pay through any other provision of law and complete at least 20 years of qualifying uniformed service. So how much would I have to invest this year to have this benefit?

Should I make it to that age, on Tuesday, August 12, 2036, I will be 60 years old (21 years from now). Here I have to make some assumptions:

  • I retire as an O-6 in 6 years from now.
  • Officer pay rises with inflation
  • Discount rate of 6{aaa01f1184b23bc5204459599a780c2efd1a71f819cd2b338cab4b7a2f8e97d4}

So, 6 years from now O-6’s will be making a base salary of \$119,726.16. The defined benefit plan for DoD is 50{aaa01f1184b23bc5204459599a780c2efd1a71f819cd2b338cab4b7a2f8e97d4} highest salary or roughly \$60,000. In then-year dollars that would be \$71,479.65 a year. So, avoiding all fees, if I wanted to have enough cash to provide me with an annuity that paid \$71,479.65 a year in 2036, I would have to have \$1,191,327.50. So, if I wanted \$1,191,327.50 in 2036, how much would I have to save per year when I started the reserves? It is easy enough to compute the payment amount for a loan based on an interest rate and a constant payment schedule. In my case, this comes to \$20,138.61 a year that I would have to invest to get that benefit. You could see the math behind all this on wikipedia. Now, one might question the value of \$71,000 in 2036. If we experience several years of high inflation (which we will) that might not be worth much. For example, in current year dollars assuming a 4{aaa01f1184b23bc5204459599a780c2efd1a71f819cd2b338cab4b7a2f8e97d4} rate of inflation, the retirement benefit is only worth roughly \$31 thousand annually.

What about other benefits?

Now, you also have to compute the value of medical benefits, etc. Military discounts, commissary, etc, which are going to be highly dependent on the individual, but I would personally pay no more this year than $500 to get. (The medical benefits might be huge as might the post-9/11 GI bill.)

The other big benefit is career diversity and having a broader network and official connectivity to two government organizations. This alone might be the biggest benefit of the reserves if a member is very transparent and wise in how they use this opportunity.

So, in total, I would say that I make \$35,500/year in reserve benefits. What is the downside? I could be spending my reserve time on my main career which could lead to more salary in the right field. I could also be building a start-up with that time that also might pay off and doing something that might be closer to my passion. I could be investing in my faith, house, family or health. However, the fact I work for the government means that I can actually do a form of approved side work. Other jobs/consulting would be much more difficult and uncomfortable. I could certainly have much less stress if I gave this up.

Would love any thoughts, particularly those which correct errors in my thinking above.


  1. ADA568422.pdf
  2. AFI 36-2254
  3. MOAA National Guard/Reserve Retirement Benefits

Busy IMA preparing for a Lt Col Board

Hello fellow IMA. My apologies to you. Life is not easy. In the civilian world, you work hard, play office politics and with a little luck you might get promoted. Not so in the reserves. Here your promotion depends heavily on your ability to decode a bunch of Air Force personnel jargon and to make a lot of non-cooperative admin types take care of someone who they really don’t see as their responsibility. I hope my story helps you out.

To start preparing for a recent board, I had to look up some basic information to answer the following:

  • When is my board?
  • How do I know if I’m eligible?
  • When is my PRF due? When does it have to be signed and where does it need to be delivered to?
  • How do I review (and potentially change my records)?


Before answering these questions I had to write my PRF. Why do IMAs write every word of their PRFs and OPRs? Because IMAs are always shafting their reserve boss because of the demands of our main job and the last thing we want to do is have someone go through the torture of the AF evaluation system when we’ve been so lame.

But nothing is easy — the only time I have to work this is while I’m flying from DC to Vegas and I’m on my Mac at 35 kft. I have a draft of last years PRF but it is in $xfdl$ format. My mac is not any mac, it is a government mac from my day job so I can’t install any software. Oh yes, this is totally doable, I’m an engineer. Bring it. So the XFDL is base64 zipped. To learn this, I connected to a free cloud based bash shell VPS (seriously cloud 9 IDE for the win) and cat the top of the xfdl and see:


so no probs here . . . because I’m on a shell with root I can use uudeview under linux to decode a xfdl into a zipped xml file and then extracted it to view in emacs. Happy to explain this in more detail if you email me at for other questions, I recommend you call the total force service center at Comm 210-565-0102.

uudeview my_prf.xfdl
mv UNKNOWN.001 my_prf.gz
gunzip my_prf.gz
cat my_prf

What do non-hacker IMAs do? Ok so I can parse XML easily enough to get the following from here.

The document to make sure you have in your hip pocket is AFI 36-2406 OFFICER AND ENLISTED EVALUATION SYSTEMS. It is probably the worst written document possible for quickly finding what you need, but it is the guide for how this is all supposed to work.

When is my board?

According to ARPCM 15-17 CY16 ResAF Board Schedule my board meets on 13-18 Jun. I found this via myPers or

It provides this excellent summary table:

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 7.14.06 PM

How do I know if I’m eligible?

The most helpful document was the ARPCM_16-02 CY16 USAFR Lt Col Convening Notice, which I dug around on MyPers to get. From this document I found out that I would need a date of rank for a Lieutenant Colonel Mandatory Participating Reserve (PR) board to be less than 30 Sep 10. I can see that my DOR is 29 APR 2010 and that fits in the window of the oldest and youngest members for the board:


When is my PRF due? When does it have to be signed and where does it need to be delivered to?

From 36-2406, I know then that an eligible officer’s senior rater completes the PRF no earlier than 60 days prior to the CSB: which for me is Thursday, April 14, 2016.

From the table above, I see this confirmed that my senior rater (the USD(P)) has to sign the document between 14 Apr 16 and 29 Apr 16 and I get the completed document by 14 May 16. I can’t find how the PRF gets to the board, but I’m just going to bug the unit admin until I can confirm the document is in.

How do I review (and potentially change my records)?

Check your records on PRDA. So I was missing two OPRs and an MSM. Wow. The key here was working my network and finding the (amazing) admin at ARPC/DPT who had direct access to the records database and was able to update it for me before the board.

Work Life Balance for a Dad and Husband — who loves His Job

In a meeting last week, I had a moment of clarity that put a question directly in front of me that I’ve been dreading to answer: How much of my heart should I put into my work and at what cost to my family and other work interests?

You see, the meeting ended abruptly at 5pm because it was time for that particular office to “lock up”, meaning that they had boundaries and were used to going home to their families. I’m used to meetings at the end of the day being extra-long because there is almost a contest in the Pentagon to see who stays the latest, and therefore works the hardest and, we might assume, cares the most, is the smartest and has the overall highest worth to society. I stretch this a bit, but only slightly. Throughout my working life there has always been a tension to put in more hours, give the most of your heart and life to the system. This seems to be a concrete way to distinguish yourself as a top-tier worker.

Part of this is because the military is a large bureaucracy where everyone is compared to their peers at a local level and the system allows for abstract feedback. But working harder always demands some form of recognition. This is not all bad. I am convinced it is a good thing to want to do good work and devote oneself to making a difference, even if there are high personal costs. Looking some of my heros off the top of my head: Jesus, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, CS Lewis, Cicero and the Apostle Paul  — I don’t see a 9 to 5 life. All these individuals probably didn’t coach little league (or their equivalent). All had strange family lives and suffered terribly.

This is the start of the conundrum: how much do our heros mislead us in who we are supposed to be? I mean, the suffering of Paul and his desire to spread the Gospel were a singular focus — totally out of sync with my desire to optimize my “wellbeing” in several spheres: relational, physical, spiritual, financial and intellectual. Did Paul check the air in his tires, fund his 401(k), apply fertilizer in the spring, always remember to write thank you notes, and read challenging books, oh and did he remember that what interests his boss, should fascinate, and consume, him?

No, he lived for the Gospel. Which is what I should be doing. Now, before this devolves into a discussion of life focus and God’s will, I want to bring this back to the main point: How much of my heart goes into my work? I have two main thoughts on this.

First, we should serve our work and put our full heart into it. I don’t jog well. I kind putz around and get tired. However, I can run fast. When I really put my heart into something, I can hold around a 6/min mile pace for marathon distances and am willing to really take my effort into a pretty extreme place. The same goes for my work. I can perform, but I have to really focus and really push myself to do something hard. I feel I should be sprinting at work — giving my employer, who happens to be the US citizen the very best I can. In giving my heart to my occupation and seeking to make a difference, I leave the legacy to my family of hard work and societal contribution. In working hard, I serve my son in ways that working only 8 hours a day might never provide him.

However, I feel that I need to be grounded in the Gospel. My heart must be grounded in the Gospel. My day must start and end with devotions and prayer. My risk tolerance must be calibrated by eternal consequences and supported by my knowledge that my self worth is provided by the Gospel. My hunger, motivation and passion must be centered in the Gospel. My sole metric is the commandment of Christ: am I loving the Lord my God above all else and am I loving my neighbor as myself?

Perhaps there is a tension here, and this tension is where I feel called to be. What it means practically, is that I am here to serve: to serve my family, to serve my country and to serve my God. But! The Gospel tackles fear head on. The Gospel tells me to forget all that and to trade fear for love.

Thoughts greatly appreciated.

Defense Acquisition Certification

Here is a post that I hope is helpful to others out there who can be paralyzed from taking action to getting professional acquisition certifications. What is the official name and background of this program? The official name is the Acquisition Professional Development Program. The Acquisition Professional Development Program (APDP) promotes the development and sustainment of a professional acquisition workforce in the Air Force. It is DoD wide. You need it because certain jobs will require you to have it. Good acquisition organizations take this seriously, because it is an easy way to weed folks out from future jobs.

Where are the best places for information? Here are the links I found useful:

  • AF acquisition careers You can find an overview of the program and the useful sites here.
  • What are the requirements for each level?Follow the guidelines for your discipline here:
  • How do I know what level I am? Go to Acquisition Career Management System but you might need to go to (afpc secure ) first. The purpose is to go to My Civilian APDP Record and
  • Where do I sign up for courses?here
  • What is the continuous learning requirement? 80 points over two years.

What is the road ahead for me? I have a level 3 certification due date of 2014-06-03. My acquistion position is “ACQUISITION POSITION NOTCRITICAL OR DEVELOPMENTAL” and my position title is that I am a “GENERAL ENGINEER”.

What classes have I completed? 2013-11-05 SYS 101 GRADUATED 2012-08-24 CON 115 GRADUATED 2012-07-25 PMT 251 GRADUATED 2012-06-28 SAM 101 GRADUATED 2003-08-01 TST 101 GRADUATED 2003-04-18 ACQ 201B GRADUATED 2003-02-21 ACQ 201A GRADUATED 2001-12-28 ACQ 101 GRADUATED Latest continuous learning points are from: 2012-08-24 34.0 CON 115. How can I get more continous learning points? (It looks like there is a whole web site on this. I’m going to focus on getting the courses done for L2 SPRDE-SYSTEMS ENGINEER, and hope that gets me more than enough CL points.)

Continuous Learning Status My status is “CURRENT”. My last suspense was 2012-07-25 (for what?) POINTS TO DATE: 34 (what does this mean?) SUSPENSE: 2014-07-25 (this requires attention — what does that mean)

Current plan? I need to take the following: * Log 103 * Sys 101 (just as a pre-req) * Sys 202 * Sys 203 * CLE 003

Welcome TIMOTHY - here is a summary of your progress toward earning 80 Continuous Learning points (CLPs) every 24 months:

The Personnel System shows that you are in an Acquisition Coded position, and you are required to earn 80 CL points within 24 months.

 Currently, your CL suspense date is:     7/25/2014
ACQNow CL points earned this period:     34
Points needed:                                    46

 If you do not have any upcoming CL events scheduled, you might consider the following methods of earning points to help you meet the goal:
- a DAU Web based course (click here)
- a DAU Continuous Learning Module (click here)
- an AFIT Module (click here)

What/where is a list of different types of certification levels you can get?

  • Contracting
  • Systems Engineering
  • Financial Management
  • Program Management
  • Information Technology
  • Logistics
  • Scientific Research and Development
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Production, Manufacturing & Quality Assurance

So I need to get certified in Systems Engineering

Level 1 (Done)

  • Acq 101 (done)
  • Sys 101 (done)
  • CLE 001
  • CLM 017

Level 2

  • ACQ 201 A/B (done)
  • LOG 103 (20 CLP) (working now)
  • SYS 202 (9 CLP) (done)
  • SYS 203 (36 CLP)
  • CLE 003

  • 2 Year Experience, BS

Level 3

  • SYS 302
  • CLE 012
  • CLE 068
  • CLL 008

  • 4 year experience

IMA equations

Here are some of the questions I had when starting as an IMA.

How do you schedule IDTs?

You have to be on a .mil domain or else you need to use arrows-r.


Who pays?

IDTs and the 2-week annual tour are centrally funded.

What are my work requirements?

I am cat A with 48 paid IDTs and 2 week tour is required and my R/R Date is Aug-4.

This is a nice briefing AFD-120503-056.pdf.

What is the R/R date?

12 consecutive months in which an active Guard or Reserve member is required to earn a minimum of 50 points (including membership) for a satisfactory year of federal service.

This defines a “good year”.

key reference:{aaa01f1184b23bc5204459599a780c2efd1a71f819cd2b338cab4b7a2f8e97d4}2036-2254V1.pdf

What is form 40A?

How do OPRs work? Where do you find them?

In work.

-At the end of each training day, write bullet statements on the back of your orders or 40A describing your accomplishments. Provide your supervisor with a copy for your record. This will become input for the OPR/EPR.

-Accomplishments in your civilian profession may be used for an OPR, IF they are pertinent to military skills and leadership

Who do you ask for help and what will you get from them?

Ask the BIMMA or the senior reservist

How much civilian leave do you get?

15 days

UTAPS: Mark an IDT as complete

UTAPS is terrible software. I wasted a half hour today going through the source code to figure out how to mark an IDT as complete.

I have no idea how folks who don’t understand web codes can navigate this system.

Why not include a button? Really?