Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Excellence in all we do

by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Ashley
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

6/5/2013 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, recently visited Airmen assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, touring various work centers and conducting an all-call to remind them that what they do is critically important to the nation.

The general said one of the main focuses of his trip was to get eyes on the wing commander's current priorities. He explained that every wing commander has different areas of concern and added that certain issues do not get enough visibility, making it essential for major command leadership to come visit.

The 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron was one such wing commander priority, and Kowalski said LRS had set a standard that was important for him to observe.

"We looked at how they (5th LRS) had done improvements to up-armored humvees that saved the wing a whole lot of money," Kowalski said. "More importantly, the 5th LRS now has the highest in-commission rate for up-armored humvees in Air Force Global Strike Command."

The general added that saving money is a top priority for the Air Force, especially given the Department of Defense's tight fiscal situation. Budget restraints have led to a smaller allotment of flying hours for pilots Air Force-wide, and Minot has not gone untouched by these adjustments.

In addition, 522 civilian employees working at Minot are scheduled to be affected by furloughs this year, but Kowalski said by prioritizing tasks and working as a team, Minot would have no trouble continuing to support the mission and ensure readiness during the furlough process. Despite these changes, he said Minot was not only meeting mission requirements but exceeding them.

"I just gave the Castle Trophy to the 5th BW commander, so I think that says it all," Kowalski asserted. "The 5th BW is doing well, has done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future."

However, the general did emphasize the need for Airmen to use the Strike Now initiative to find innovative means of accomplishing the same amounts of work with less funding. Strike Now is a tool that allows Airmen and their supervisors to double-check for previously suggested solutions to their problems and bypass working through issues that have already been resolved.

"There's a fair amount of work that goes into the implementation of an idea," Kowalski said, in reference to the fact that Airmen and supervisors often lack the time in their day to complete such a process. "I've put it on the headquarters to use this database to find ways so we can always be better."

He also clarified a key aspect of the program is that the only person who could say no to an idea is the AFGSC commander and as such, he is able to have a final say on what should and should not be put into practice.

"Every idea that is being disapproved has to be briefed to me before it can be sent out," Kowalski explained.

He went on to praise Minot's continued success as a base, whether during inspections or exercises. He said this is due in no small part to it being such a closely linked community, and said the base reflects well on the Air Force core value of service before self.

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