Responsibility & accountability: our duty
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander
/ Published June 12, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Change is something that we have become accustomed to in the Air Force over the past few years. One large change that has happened at the top of our Air Force is the resignations of two of our leaders. I want to spend some time today and discuss two issues that these resignations have brought to the surface: responsibility and accountability.
All of us have different responsibilities within the 45th Space Wing that enable us to assure access to the high frontier and support global operations. Yet one thing that is not different is that each of us is responsible for performing according to the appropriate standards for our position, without exception. That doesn't mean, however, that we should not take the time to examine and change standards where needed; it needs to be done in a formal and well-thought out manner, though, as our AFSO21 efforts shows. Until there is a new standard, however, the standard is the standard. Period.
Ensuring that we enforce the standards as well as changing them where appropriate requires each of us to be accountable for our actions and those for whom we are responsible. When we see something that is not being done correctly we need to take the time and energy to put the process or person back on the correct path. We have an obligation to each other, to the Airmen we serve with, and to our nation, to do what is expected, which is to hold ourselves accountable to high standards while defending the United States.
As I reflect on all the great work we have been doing here at the 45 SW, we have played the primary role in Air Force Space Command's 59 successful launches in a row. I know that we have a wing of responsible, professional, and accountable Airmen and civilians. We will continue to perform exceptionally while recognizing that as an organization made up of people, mistakes will be made from time to time. Rather than look at them as problems, we need to look at them as opportunities to improve both ourselves and how we do our mission.
Looking ahead at the mission we will continue to do, General Kehler's words are suitable: "In our business, the most useless thing is to look back at the launch pad when you are launching into space; it is interesting, but it is irrelevant." So, let's continue to move forward and make ourselves more responsible and accountable today than when we were yesterday. The bar is high. Our dedication, professionalism and standards are even higher. Go Sharks!