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Discipline: Little things really do matter

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- As you probably know, this month's Year of Leadership theme, as articulated by Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, Air Force Space Command, is a trait all military services depend on more than any other. And that's discipline.

Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All We Do may be the three core values of the Air Force, but discipline is at the core for all three of those.

In the Air Force, and particularly here at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS, we all need to have a high sense of personal discipline. Our jobs - and the lives of thousands of Americans in harm's way - demand that level of discipline.

And that discipline begins with you. And me.

We probably all know people who think discipline is something "they can turn on and off." In my experience, that's the wrong route to take.

Gen. George Patton, a leader well known for discipline, had this to say: "It is absurd to believe that soldiers who cannot be made to wear the proper uniform can be induced to move forward in battle. You cannot be disciplined in great things and undisciplined in small things. Brave undisciplined men have no chance against the discipline and valor of other men."

He's right. "Little things" do count.

Being disciplined is habit forming... and character shaping. It's doing the right thing when no one is looking. It's playing by the rules. It's taking corrective action when that action is due; and it's adopting a "measure twice, cut once" mentality in everything we do.

It is up to commanders and supervisors to not only enforce discipline, but to also lead by personal example to ensure compliance by all and to reinforce the highest standards of the United States Air Force.

Without discipline, we lose focus. Lose focus, and we miss mission accomplishment. Miss mission accomplishment and we lose the war. And that's not going to happen.
I am counting on you, and more importantly, so is your Air Force and nation. Go Sharks!