Commentary

January 10, 2014

Stepping Forward

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.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 18, 2014

Express fuel pumps to shut down July 21 & 22 The AAFES Express gasoline station will undergo vapor testing next week, which requires the pumps to be turned off to complete the process.†The fuel pumps will be shut down 8-11 a.m., July 21, and 7 a.m.-1 p.m., July 22. For more information, call (661) 258-1078,...
 
 

Exchange celebrates 119 years with 5 percent MILITARY STAR card discount

July 25, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service marks a historic milestone, celebrating 119 years of serving Soldiers, Airmen and their families. July 25, 1895, General Order No. 46 established the exchange on military installations, directing post commanders to set up an exchange at every post. Since then, the Exchange has supported U.S. troops...
 
 

Focus on deliberate self-development

I am an American Airman. I am a warrior. I have answered my nation’s call. These words should resonate with each of us who have the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform. Each time I recite our creed, I feel a sense of pride. I hope every Airman reading this shares my sentiment. Each...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Edwards says goodbye to Weavers

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Outgoing commander of the 412th Maintenance Group, Col. Robby Weaver (right) receives his retirement pin from his wife Susan during Weaverís retirement ceremony July 10. Weaver and his wif...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Got a ticket? What now?

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber 412th Security Forces Squadron defenders pull over a vehicle for speeding. Many drivers have experienced the sinking feeling that accompanies the flashing lights and siren of a police vehic...
 
 

Annual duck blind drawing set for Aug. 9

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the annual duck blind drawing scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Rod and Gun Activity, Bldg. 210. Base hunting permits may be submitted to drawing officials from 9 a.m. until the actual drawing begins, which will be at approximately 10 a.m. Duck blind reservations are required for all base affiliated...
 




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>