SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The Airmen’s Council bested defending champions, 5/6 Council, during their debate at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. This bi-monthly debate pitted the private organizations on opposing sides, of the Air Force’s decision to extend maternity leave extension to 12 weeks.
The Airmen’s Council (Senior Airman Reina Nieto, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, Senior Airman Tyrelle Shepherd, 3rd Space Operations Squadron and Senior Airman Duane Fultz, 50th Operations Group) argued in favor of the extension while the 5/6 Council (Staff Sgt. Jacqulyn Rider, 50th Space Wing Chaplain’s Office, Staff Sgt. Francis Goodwin, 2 SOPS, Staff Sgt. Gregory Sambula, 21st Medical Squadron and Staff Sgt. Joshua Reinoso, 2 SOPS) were tasked to oppose it.
Master Sgt. Abifarin Scott, 2 SOPS, served as moderator, making clear before any arguments were presented, positions taken by each team member didn’t necessarily reflect their personal opinion on the topic.
“The intent of this debate is to be viewed as a professional development tool, using a time tested academic platform to study and dissect key issues affecting our force as a whole,” said Scott.
Nieto presented the Airmen’s Council’s opening key points supporting 12 weeks maternity leave.
“In maternity leave, a mother uses most of her time to physically recover, while developing a routine to care for her baby,” said Nieto
Sambula led the 5/6 council argument asking while an extra six weeks does strengthen families, what effect does it have on the Air Force family and mission? He argued increasing maternity leave to 12 weeks would decrease productivity by over-tasking coworkers, thus lowering morale in the shop.
“Secretary Carter is using the extension to increase retention for active-duty and reserve females, but who says by giving this extension it will increase retention? It may have the opposite effect,” said Sambula.
“It sounds a bit insensitive doesn’t it?” Fultz asked as he countered Sambula’s argument. “To want our mothers to have less time off while they step up and take the most important job.”
Fultz pointed out that mothers burned their own leave in the old system in order to adjust to their new lifestyle. He also mentioned an infant’s health is put in great risk when placed in a child care center at just a month old.
Rider countered all of Fultz’s arguments, and summed up her argument pointing out fathers only get 10 days paternity leave.
Shepherd presented the Airmen’s Council’s final rebuttal while Reinoso provided the closing rebuttal for the 5/6 council.
Col. Anthony Mastalir, 50 SW vice commander, Lt. Col. Rickie Bannister, 50 SW Inspector General’s Office, Chief Master Sgt. Pete Smith, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, logistical plans MAJCOM functional manager and Senior Master Sgt. Allen Le Vie, 50 OG first sergeant made the debate panel.
As the judges determined a winner, both teams fielded questions and feedback from audience members regarding maternity leave, also providing feedback to the teams.
“Facts are great, but when you are up there we can’t check your facts. It is about how well you sell yourself and you knowing what you are talking about is going to win any debate,” said Bannister.
Mastalir concluded the event by thanking the teams for participating.
“These debates are not just about issues, it is also about professional development. Individuals don’t just lend credence to the importance of the issues by attending, it also shows they are interested in evolving their thinking on these topics,” said Mastalir.
Scott said he hopes to hold a debate every two to three months and there is an opportunity to branch out beyond professional councils.
“Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50 SW command chief and wing leaders are behind this in order to continue this for our professional development ideas,” said Scott.
For more information, or to participate in the next debate, call Scott at 567-2476.