Commentary

August 30, 2013

What do you mean, ‘Back to basics?

Lt. Col. David Fazenbaker
10th Airlift Squadron commander

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Last September, in his first speech as the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III advocated a back-to-basics approach for the Air Force. He noted that the missions of the Air Force have not changed over time, but rather, the terms by which we identify the missions have changed.

Welsh outlined that, from a strategic view, in order for us to continue to do what the Air Force does best, we will have to work around budgetary pressures. In recent months, we have seen those budgetary concerns come to fruition, most notably in the form of sequestration. We have felt the impact, at varying levels, of losing our civilian workforce for 20 percent of their pay periods.

In order to continue operations, we identified the minimum requirements to accomplish our mission. We’ve found that we must go back to basics.

So what does that actually mean?

To me, it means looking at every task I accomplish – every meeting and every process – then asking myself a simple question.

Why?

Why do I accomplish that task? Why is this meeting important? Why is a particular process done a certain way? Is it required by an Air Force instruction? Is it something your predecessor did, so you feel you have to also?

Understanding why we do things is the basis for identifying new processes and new ideas to improve the way we accomplish our mission.

The budgetary limitations Welsh spoke of are upon us and they will continue over the foreseeable future. As it always has been, it is our job to be good stewards of the resources we have. This is not about finding ways to do more with less; it is actually about finding ways to do less with less.

We do less by finding the tasks that are essential in our jobs and by amending existing processes or developing new ones to meet our requirements. We find these opportunities for improvement by continuing to be who we are and experts in what we do.

If you’re an expert in your career field, continue to be that expert. If you’re just starting your Air Force career, strive to be that expert. Learn your job and how to do it the best you can. Ask the “why” questions. Go back to basics and continue to make a difference.




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


 
 

 

Challenge yourself: Never give up, never quit

I once read that newly created cells in our bodies do one of two things: they either begin to decay or they become more vital. These cells choose their path based on what we demand of them. If we are sedentary, our brains signal our cells to decay; but if we exercise, our cells get...
 
 

Gaining Altitude — Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community Have you ever tried to change your character?  It’s easier to change a behavior, like drinking less soda, than to change a character trait, like using sarcasm to respond to others. Why is it so difficult? One author puts it this...
 
 

Never underestimate your impact

Every day I visit our great Airmen and every day I come across more than one that underestimates their impact to the mission. There’s the one-stripe maintainer, “just repaneling an aircraft,” for the next day’s flight, or the young personalist, “just issuing another identification card,” or the defender, “just guarding the gate.” The list could...
 

 

‘We’re all in this together’ — A senior NCO’s five constants

Service in the Air Force today means different things for different people. Depending on your unique circumstances, such as family dynamics, job or upbringing, how you navigate through those dynamics can have a significant impact on your time serving and significantly help you prepare for the day you no longer will wear the uniform, whether...
 
 

Gaining Altitude — Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community Facebook and Twitter allow us to communicate whatever we want, whenever we want.  We tend to respond to any issue that frustrates us and tugs at our emotional heart strings. One thing that our posts and blogs typically lack is civility....
 
 

Separated but not alone

As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about was, “how am I going to manage taking care of...
 




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>