Web site links, educates squadron commanders Published Jan. 18, 2008 By Carl Bergquist Air University Public Affairs MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- A Web site developed by Air University's Air Command and Staff College members here is now empowering commanders through a familiar concept -- communication. Known as the Commanders Connection, the site provides squadron commanders a safe environment to discuss issues -- sometimes sensitive in nature -- and receive advice on how to handle various situations for the benefit of the Air Force, said Lt. Col. Michael Hower, the chief of squadron commanders professional development at ACSC. Because there is no formal education method for squadron commanders, ACSC faculty identified a specific service need to better educate them. The faculty's goal was to develop a professional forum allowing commanders to exploit the ability to learn from discussions. This is a vital learning method of commanders, Colonel Hower said. "By keeping the discussions within the squadron commander community, we protect the trust the commanders have in the site," Colonel Hower said. "All the best practices are gathered from the discussions and presented in the 'knowledge' section. These practices are also published every other year by Air University Press in 'Guidelines for Commanders.'" All site members review each edition of "Guidelines for Commanders," the colonel said, and the text is also available on the Commanders Connection Web site. The forum saves time without having to "reinvent the wheel," and it is constantly undergoing changes to make it better, Colonel Hower said. For example, the faculty recently added the commander's toolbox, which provides a set of resources and links commanders can use for just about every issue. Maj. Tanya Kubinec, the executive officer to the vice commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said she is a big fan of the site because the information she receives helps keep her up on activities in the day-to-day Air Force. "One of my biggest issues is preparing for a command position in the Southwest Asia area of responsibility, and Commanders Connection provided guidelines for that task," she said. "I really think the site has a lot more potential than the benefits we have already received from it." The major said the site has helped bring her up-to-speed on issues her and other commanders face -- issues she didn't experience the last time she was a commander. She said she likes the ability to get on the site daily, even if for just a few minutes, and to check the "pulse of today's Air Force." A visit to the site at https://sqcc.maxwell.af.mil/homepage.htm reveals two sections: Discussion and knowledge. The discussion section is restricted to members, but the knowledge section is open to anyone logging on to the site. Since the site launched in May 2006, about 1,000 members have joined. The site is "a spectacular success," where for the first time, squadron commanders can receive instant advice on their issues in a protected forum, Colonel Hower said.