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.


 
 

 

Maintenance versus repair … of our Airmen

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) — This commentary is not about aircraft, vehicles, or even any mechanical components. It’s about our Airmen and how we manage their care and development throughout their careers. The maintenance versus repair concept is borrowed from the maintenance community and speaks to how maintenance managers plan, coordinate and...
 
 
DT_pict1

354th Bulldogs improve in-flight sight

A-10C Thunderbolt II pilots of the 354th Fighter Squadron Bulldogs began flying with a new helmet mounted integrated targeting system. The Scorpion Helmet Mounted Cueing System provides pilots with the ability to rapidly cue se...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lynsie Nichols)

Your estimated wait time is…

Did you call the Enterprise Service Desk yesterday, but you’re still on hold today? The Communications Squadron will be uploading the Virtual Enterprise Service Desk application to computers base wide. 1st Lt. Brooke Leigh, ...
 

 

Face of Defense: Shooting victim seeks to inspire others

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON – An Army officer who was severely wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, last year is using his near-death experience to give others a new lease on life. “I believe I was given a second chance,” said 1st Lt. John Arroyo, who is recovering at Brooke Army...
 
 
AFAS_pict

AFAS steps up with education programs

Education can be a key to succeeding in life, especially for military members looking to make the Air Force a career. The costs associated with getting an education are on the rise, but the Air Force Aid Society can help take s...
 
 
Fuel_pict

Exchange offers full-service refueling to drivers with disabilities

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, with the support of U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, is adding a new system to gas stations on military installations worldwide to make it easier for drivers with dis...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin