AF leadership changes bring challenges, opportunities

  • Published
  • By Col. Kenneth Todorov
  • 23rd Wing Commander
With the recent resignation of the Secretary of the Air Force and Air Force Chief of Staff, our service enters a difficult but critical point in its history. It is extremely important that all Airmen know why these changes are taking place and how they fit into the evolving situation. 

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates identified long-term, systemic problems in the Air Force's handling of its nuclear mission. While we can all speculate about other possible causes, the changes were made and they have a definite impact on the men and women of the 23rd Wing. 

While these are difficult times, they also provide an opportunity for us to take a close look at every mission the Air Force conducts. This goes well beyond the nuclear mission and the bases that perform these duties. 

As the Air Combat Command Commander Gen. John Corley rightly suggested, each of us must assure a complete and total focus on every aspect and detail of our activities...every task, every time. 

Our profession of arms is challenging and demanding, and the expectations that are put on us are high. With these leadership changes, however, our wing's priorities have not changed. I still expect that our wing is developing and growing leaders, making sure our Airmen are always prepared to deploy and that, when deployed, we are ready to fight and win our nation's battles. 

And as we now begin the final approach to the Unit Compliance Inspection in August, I need the wing's leaders to ensure absolute adherence to our procedures, policies, instructions, technical orders and laws. 

We have all heard many stories about negative findings during recent inspections at other bases, and some may be quick to point out that those things couldn't happen here at Moody. Think again. Here are a few items that have been observed in just the past few weeks: 

- Airmen ignoring proper procedures for a foreign object/debris check when entering the flight line
- Numerous alarm activations and unsecure building notifications
- Too many communication security violations and reports of surveys filed
- Airmen speeding and talking on cell phones while driving on Bemiss Road
- Airmen still receiving DUIs
- Aircraft safety mishaps 

And when you look at your duty sections, are there things being done that don't meet standards? Whether it's indicative of a larger problem or lack of attention to detail doesn't matter. If it's wrong, it's up to each of us to ensure it is being corrected. 

Being focused and paying attention to the details is essential in preparing this wing for combat. No one should think that this doesn't pertain to them, or they don't have time to do this. If you are not training and preparing your Airmen according to the standards, it's wrong and unacceptable. 

Just as General Corley has said, I charge each of you to take time to think about these topics. Come up with a way to communicate these ideas with your Airmen and co-workers and execute a plan that delivers effective, accountable performance with precise and lasting effects. 

I challenge each of you to set and enforce standards that reflect who we are as Airmen, the best of our Air Force and this wing. I need each of you to be invested, responsible and accountable. This is about our culture as an Air Force, and it's up to all Airmen to set that culture. 

Never forget that we are a nation at war, and our wing has a vital mission to perform for this great nation. I am constantly amazed by the work you perform on a daily basis and am certainly proud of this wing's accomplishments. But do I think there is room for improvement in how we operate? Absolutely. 

To accomplish this, I challenge every Flying Tiger: Make this personal, roll up your sleeves and be leaders.