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.


 
 

 

New paradigm aims to ‘zeroize’ sexual assault

Why does the U.S. Air Force need a Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Is it really a problem? Isn’t sexual assault more prevalent outside the military? Where do these statistics come from anyway? Is it realistic to aim for zero assaults? Thankfully, these outrageous questions represent the vestiges of a retreating mindset. A new paradigm aims...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week of 29 Aug

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - Labor Day is a holiday that is held in honor of working people but we must see work as more than something we do to earn a paycheck.  Work is honorable because God establishes Himself as the very first worker...
 
 
Untitled-1

Leadership Lessons: Do you know our Air Force Heritage?

U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez The United States Air Force was founded by the aviators who learned their tradecraft in World War I, like Capt. Frederick Libby who became the first American ace. America...
 

 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- In the late 1920s, in a Supreme Court decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes justified sterilizing a young girl.  He stated, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from...
 
 
U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter

15 seconds: A rude awakening

U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter Airmen and their families hit the road every summer to travel and enjoy a little relaxation. When making travel arrangements that involve driving long distances, be sure...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

Who are you living for, or in other words who is writing your life’s story?  Do you call the shots in life or is there someone bigger?  The famed writer Wendell Berry says, “the significance – and ultimate quality – of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which...
 




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>