Commentary

January 9, 2014

Stepping Forward

Commentary by Lt. Col. Chad Nichols
7th Logistics Readiness Squadron

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Recently I came across an interesting quote from Admiral Togo Heihachiro, Commander of the Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Tsushima in 1905: “If your sword is too short, take one step forward.” Given the environment of reduced budgets, fiscal challenges and potential manpower shortages facing the Air Force, this quote struck me as relevant to how Airmen should approach these challenges. We must attack them with leadership, communication and commitment to mission.

Some may interpret this quote as merely “doing more with less” or “doing the same with less.” Senior leadership has clearly said they do not expect us to “do more with less” so how is this quote relevant today? I would contend stepping forward with a sword that is too short is simply recognizing the importance of the mission and remaining committed to it despite the challenges. It is finding innovative ways to maximize resources, removing waste from processes and most importantly making sure we are all carrying our respective weight as we execute our daily tasks.

We must instill leadership in every Airman as we attack these challenges. That includes clearly communicating expectations for junior enlisted Airmen with respect to exceeding standards in duty performance, living the Air Force core values, and understanding the Air Force culture does not stop at the front gate. Airmen are held to a higher standard on and off duty and we must understand that living to a higher standard is not a burden that hinders us, but rather a welcomed responsibility unique to the profession of arms.

Additionally, we must empower our NCOs, specifically first line supervisors, to consistently hold their assigned Airmen accountable to the standards set by the Enlisted Force Structure and the Air Force core values. Finally, senior NCOs and officers must lead by example, enforce standards and serve the Airmen under their command. The goal is that all Airmen will be empowered to lead their peers and subordinates through any challenge thus ensuring our ability to provide air power now and in the future.

Communication is critical in this process. We must routinely communicate the Air Force core values and the Air Force culture to our peers and subordinates to ensure we do not deviate from standards.

As we experience resource shortfalls, we must communicate those shortfalls to senior leaders to ensure they have a clear understanding of the impacts they have on the mission. However, before we say “we can’t,” we must learn to pursue innovative options and exhaust every resource to execute our daily duties, because despite resource challenges, failure is not an option in ensuring national security.

The old ways of doing business may no longer be applicable and we must be willing to develop new innovative tactics, techniques and procedures. We must start to truly think outside the box and empower all Airmen to be creative and communicate their ideas to improve processes. As the force gets smaller we must understand that every Airman’s contribution has a greater impact on the mission. Conversely, any deviation from standards will have an even greater negative impact on the mission. Therefore, it is imperative that we remain committed to the excellence and give 100 percent each and every day.

The current resource challenges are daunting but they are not impossible to overcome. Attacking these challenges will not be easy; they would not be called challenges if they were. Throughout the history of our service there are many examples of great Airmen overcoming challenges in combat and in peacetime. We must leverage our past successes as we face these challenges. If our swords have been reduced in size during the fight, we must be willing to step forward and attack these challenges with leadership, communication and a commitment to mission.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Arizona Airmen memorialize fallen Iraqi fighter pilot

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing honored the life and memory of Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sideeq Hasan during a memorial service here July 7. Hasan died June 24 after his F-16 Fighting Fa...
 
 

Deployed A-10s take to the skies

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) An aircraft maintainer assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron inspects the oil levels of an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft engine during a theater security package deployment to Lask Air Base, Poland, July 13. The U.S. and Polish air forces will conduct training aimed at...
 
 

Airmen leverage TFI concept

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thirty-eight service members, including individuals from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal section, participated in a Battlefield Forensics training course here at the end of June. Together, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD program manager and Joshua Nason, General Dynamics Information Technology ...
 

 

Celebration and education; Equal Opportunity

  In 1948, Ester Blake became the first enlisted female in the U.S. Air Force, pictures were still black and white, and families gathered around radios for the evening news. Since then, the U.S. Air Force has gone through many changes. The Davis-Monthan Equal Opportunity office specializes in making sure that everyone is treated equally...
 
 
DoD

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

  WASHINGTON – The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of...
 
 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>