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Setting the tone

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Across the Air Force, I have recently noticed that "making do" with less, is quickly becoming the norm. With more cuts projected in coming years, we need to prepare to increase dependability and accountability now.

This dependability will be based on what leadership sets as the standard and, in turn, how first-line supervisors not only meet, but exceed, these standards.

I recall a unit change of command a few years ago where the squadron commander stated he would expect a few Airmen to "fall-out" of formation during the actual event, and stressed that we needed to have standby Airmen to fill-in the gaps. The event began and, within the first five minutes, two people had fallen-out. By the end of the event, we had to use five of our six standbys.

After the event, the chief mentioned that, by having standbys ready, we allowed the fall-outs to occur. Perhaps because there were standbys, the need to properly prepare those Airmen to prevent fall outs wasn't there...setting the tone.

In contrast, at a recent retreat formation, the attendance was so small that there was barely enough people to constitute a formation, let alone have any standby Airmen. One could say this formation was representative of our current Air Force--we no longer have the resources to support "standbys." We have increasingly embraced this reality of doing more with less and now we need to set a new tone to prepare our people for leaner times ahead.

The dependability exhibited by our Airmen at all levels is based on what leaders identify as the standard and how Airmen at every level not only epitomize, but exceed, those standards. We must communicate the importance of preparation, performance and support to each other. We need to be so effective at our primary duties that we have the capacity to support the person next to us when needed.

As Airmen, we all need to set high standards, exceed expectations and be accountable to ourselves, to the Air Force and to our country.

As leaders, we need to set the tone for excellence!