"Maintaining a productive work environment in which disputes are prevented or settled quickly and at the lowest possible organizational level is essential to the effective functioning of the Air Force and the accomplishment of its national security mission."

- DAFI 51-1201 Conflict Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution Workplace Disputes

One critical way to enhance mission readiness and ensure effective problem solving throughout the whole of Department of the Air Force is to equip Airmen and Guardians with the skills they need to leverage communication, conflict resolution and facilitation. A keystone population for the wellness of every squadron is our First Sergeants Community. Understanding this, the First Sergeants Academy championed inclusion of these vital skills in their in-residence course.


The NDR Program's support of the First Sergeant's Community depends on strong partnerships with the First Sergeant Academy and the Air Force Negotiations Center. The First Sergeant Academy is located at Maxwell Air Force Base – Gunter Annex, Montgomery, Alabama. Their curriculum consists of 190 hours and is divided into four weeks of study. When surveyed, students consider the ADR portion of their curriculum to be an effective training. And for good reason -- First sergeants serve as our front line defense to maintain good order and discipline, promote a healthy environment within the squadron and ensure mission readiness.

One important reason why ADR is so well received by FSA students is because of the people who provide this training. The Air Force Negotiations Center is committed to providing education, information, and training regarding dispute resolution, specifically how to use these skills in the workplace. Their mission is to "develop Total Force Airmen and Guardians with adaptive conflict transformation, negotiation and mediation skills..." 


The Air Force Negotiations Center targets its training for First Sergeants in key areas designed to help them help their Airmen and Guardians.  It begins with the foundations of negotiation, communication and the interest-bested process. This training is broken down into first lecture and then exercises to test processes and theories. Once this foundation is established, students are then educated on problem solving in a diverse environment. As skills are acquired, both lessons and exercise become more complex until students engage one another in full facilitation role plays and group debriefs where techniques are analyzed and critiques are provided. The goal of this training is not to make our First Sergeants experts upon graduation, but to apprise them of additional skills they may use to resolve conflicts they will face in their day to day work.

AFNC's Dispute Resolution First Sergeant Facilitation Course Materials

Additional Resources

Did You Know?

The resourceful First Sergeant team at Minot Air Force Base has developed a telephone app that is now being considered for wider application. As always, the resourceful First Sergeant Community is leading the way to problem solve and innovate!