Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Notre Dame NROTC Hosts 19th Annual Naval Leadership Weekend Seminar

From Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs Office

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (NNS) -- The University of Notre Dame Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) hosted their 19th annual Naval Leadership Weekend to discuss issues critical to their roles as future leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps here, Feb. 21-24.

More than 125 midshipmen and staff members from nearly 30 universities across the country attended this year's leadership event. From New Hampshire to Los Angeles and Washington to Florida, the midshipmen came to Notre Dame discuss and hear speakers address this year's theme: "Military Leadership and Contemporary Issues."

"For 19 years, midshipmen from across the country have traveled to the University of Notre Dame to participate in this leadership and ethics in the military seminar and to discuss the same issues with their peers," said Capt. Michael B. Ryan, commanding officer and professor of Naval Science for the Notre Dame NROTC unit.

"This year we were excited to once again include a panel of distinguished civilian academic minds for a discussion on 'Cyber and Kinetic Warfare'," said Ryan. "As we did last year, leadership and ethics in the military continues to be just as important today as it ever was and we were proud and excited to host this annual event again and welcome the midshipmen and exceptional speakers to the conference. We believe the Naval Leadership Weekend is extremely valuable in the professional development of each midshipman as they look to become an officer in the Navy and Marine Corps."

Ryan also said the event provided an opportunity for midshipmen to step outside their university classrooms and to hear from successful leaders, in both military and civilian communities, providing them with the tools and information for successful development as naval officers.

The three-day seminar began on Friday as the midshipmen had the opportunity to hear from and talk to Adm. John M. Richardson, director, Naval Reactors. Richardson spoke to them about character and what that means to Navy and Marine officers.

"The 19th annual Notre Dame Leadership Weekend was the best yet!" said Richardson. "The weekend is an excellent opportunity for young leaders to come together to talk about leadership in our Navy. As I see it, this weekend changes your "leadership DNA" - through lectures and candid, face-to-face, peer discussions - that will be felt for another 19 years, when these officers are in Command of our ships, submarines, squadrons, and teams. After meeting and talking to these young leaders, I am confident the future of our Navy and nation were clearly here - and they are ready to take the helm."

"All the speakers, I think, helped show the midshipmen what new challenges and new issues there will be in the Navy and Marine Corps when they are commissioned as ensigns and 1st lieutenants," said Lt. Sarah Smith, assistant professor of Naval Science, who was also the advisor to the Notre Dame midshipmen in setting up the seminar. "I think it was also especially gratifying to all the midshipmen that will be seeking positions in the nuclear field to meet Admiral Richardson, who will have to approve them for the Navy's nuclear program."

The midshipman also attended symposiums by retired Marine Corps Sgt. Major Bradley E. Trudell, who talked to them about "The Purpose" of serving in the military and leading men and women in the Navy and Marine Corps. Friday afternoon the midshipmen had the chance to listen to Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder, chief of Naval Research, who spoke to them on how the Office of Naval Research is supplying advanced Naval technologies to the warfighter.

"We try to come up with themes each year and try to get speakers to talk on those themes from all Navy officer communities and other branches of the military," said Smith. "We look for people who want to come here and are interested in talking with the midshipmen."

Smith said Friday also saw a return of a special activity for the midshipmen, The Midshipmen Ethical Decision Game. During this more than an hour session, four case studies on ethics are given to the midshipmen and they decide how they would handle it and what they would do.

"I think this weekend was fantastic," said Midshipman 1st Class Kelly Flyn, 21, from Franktown, Colo., and a senior at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. "It really gave all of us the opportunity to see extremely successful leaders in the Navy, Marine Corps and other branches of the military talk about their experiences and the difficult things we are about to face and how to face them and be as successful as well."

On Saturday, the midshipmen had the opportunity to listen to United States Air Force Col. Frank Rossi, professor of Aerospace Studies at Notre Dame; retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff, adjunct professor, Reilly center for Science, Technology and Values at Notre Dame; and Navy Capt. David E. Haidvogel, chief of staff for Commander, Strike Force Training Pacific.

Rossi spoke about cross cultural competencies. Latiff discussed ethics and weapons technology in the 21st century. Haidvogel talked about the success the midshipmen can achieve as a junior officer.

Rossi advised the midshipmen to develop cross cultural relationships with other branches of the Armed Forces and not to be afraid to take a joint command.

"I've been very lucky and very blessed," said Rossi, who has served at several joint commands including United States Pacific Command on Camp H. M. Smith in Halawa Heights, Hawaii. "But one of my favorite definitions of luck is where preparation means opportunities. And what I offer to you is, you are going to be lots and lots of opportunities to increase your cultural awareness either within your service or within the military or within federal service. I want you to be prepared to take advantage of those opportunities."

Latiff reminded the midshipmen that leadership will be one of the most important skills that the midshipmen develop in their military careers.

"You'll be challenged with leading a force that is and likely will remain the most technically advanced in the world," said Latiff. "However Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are people, not machines. And not with-standing the highly technical nature of our service leadership requires that there is more than an expertise in science and technology. It requires an understanding of people and that can only be achieved by the study of humans and human nature."

Saturday afternoon also presented a panel discussion on "Cyber vs. Kinetic Warfare" or the ethical and legal implication of cyber warfare.

"We use the panel discussion with civilian academic doctorates to get the midshipmen talking to civilians and get them to think a little outside the box of the military," said Smith.

Midshipman 2nd Class Max Brown, 27, from Bolton, Mass., and a junior at Notre Dame and who helped set up the leadership weekend said one of the great things about the weekend is that is brings everyone together to hear different perspectives.

"I think many times there's compartmentalization of what conversations we having in the military," said Brown. "But one of the great things about the NROTC program is being at a university where there is a lot of diversity and perspective."

The seminar concluded with a dinner at Notre Dame's Club Naimoli above the Fighting Irish basketball court. At the dinner, retired Vice Adm. John M. Bird, senior vice president of military affairs at USAA, gave the keynote address. Many of the midshipmen felt the weekend provided a lot of insight on beginning to build a successful way ahead for these future Navy and Marine Corps officers.

"I think I have a better sense of understanding of leadership and not just in the normal terms like how to lead sailors, but how to build your character that we can apply now in our units back home and then take out into the fleet," said Midshipman 2nd Class Sarah Beadle, 21, from Little Rock, Ark., and a junior at the University of Florida.

Midshipman 2nd Class Sarah Bell, 20, from Petaluma, Calif., and a junior at the University of California-Davis said she will take away how the flag officers and senior enlisted talked with the midshipmen and encouraged them.

"Seeing flag officers and a sergeant major in the Marine Corps just talk to us and tell us what they expect of their leaders has been extremely beneficial because they've been-there-done-that and I think it's helpful for us who are trying to figure out what we want to do and what kind of leader we want to be to know what our leaders will be expecting of us," said Bell.

The University of Notre Dame and the United States Navy share a history steeped in tradition. At the onset of World War II, the university lost much of its enrollment to young men joining the military. Like many colleges during the early years of the war, Notre Dame started to face severe financial difficulties. Fortunately for the university, the Navy selected Notre Dame as a training location for its officer candidates. From 1942 to 1946, over 10,000 Notre Dame students were commissioned as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps as the Navy kept Notre Dame alive.

Today the NROTC program is overseen by Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, commander, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. The NROTC program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values. Those ideals and values are the backbone of all NROTC midshipmen as they work toward becoming college graduates and commission as Navy and Marine Corps officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

Mewbourne and his NSTC staff oversee 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes NROTC at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) on Naval Station Newport, R.I.; Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, at Great Lakes, Ill.; and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

18th Air Force Commander: 'Offer Value Through Competence'

by Ed Shannon
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

2/26/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- "No commander will ignore competence ," the commander of the Air Mobility Command's only Numbered Air Force told the command' s public affairs professionals, Jan. 30.

Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew, 18th Air Force commander and former Director of Public Affairs for the Air Force, shared his perspectives about the future of the Air Force, the importance of communication, and effective leadership to more than two dozen participant s during a 45-minute Defense Connect Online video call.

"You 've got to establish your competence," said McDew, who added that demonstrating value to leaders represents one of the best ways to do that. "Sit down at your desk. Think through the boss' problem sets, and solve them before they even know they need to be solved," he said.

McDew peppered the discussion with personal anecdotes reflecting the importance of seeking and capitalizing on the opportunities that life presents. Maj. Michael Meridith, who serves as McDew's public affairs officer, said the general 's comments reflect a philosophy that places a premium on "bold, innovative" approaches to life's challenges.

"One of the things that those who participated appreciated - and something those of us who have the opportunity to work for Lieutenant General McDew certainly do appreciate - is the broad perspective he brings," Meridith said. "In him, you have a military leader whose diverse experiences fuel some really unique ways of looking at a problem, analyzing it from a lot of different points, and reachin g innovative solutions that might not ever have occurred to others."

McDew also believes the various challenges faced by today's Air Force also represent targets of opportunity for Airmen to become actively engaged in the problem-solving process, he said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Senior Statesman Panel focuses on leadership

by Kimberly Woodruff
Tinker Public Affairs

2/24/2014 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- Leadership in war and peacetime was the focus of a Feb. 12 Senior Statesman Leadership Panel, sponsored by the Logistics Officers Association and Air Force Association.

The panel consisted of Col. Jay Bickley, 552nd Air Control Wing commander; retired Col. Chuck DeBellevue, Vietnam War ace; Col. Linda Hurry, deputy commander for Maintenance with the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex; and Col. John Kubinec, Air Force Sustainment Center vice commander. Retired Brig. Gen. Ben Robinson, former 552nd ACW commander, was the moderator.

Panel members discussed topics from deployment drawdowns to the military budget.
"Cost effective readiness is key as we position and set ourselves up for success as we transition out of war," Colonel Kubinec said.

They all agreed that military leaders need to make sure the troops have equipment and the support they need, as well as the training to get the job done.

"People are still motivated and we need to make sure they believe what we're doing is important and they are making a difference and that they are appreciated," Colonel Bickley said.

Colonel Hurry said the key is to build strong networks and trust, being there for one another and streamlining processes. "The No. 1 thing we need to do is listen," she said. "Create an environment where our people are empowered and let them try things. This is how we do more with less...it is a team effort."

Colonel DeBellevue challenged attendees to "lead from the front."

"Empower your people," he said. "Tell them what you want done and get out of the way. You know what they can do and you push them."

Colonel Kubinec spoke of the current high operations tempo and the toll it has taken on Airmen and their families. He urged everyone to be sure to reach out to the families because deployments are impacting them.

Panel members said personnel costs are the biggest chunk of the budget, so it is an obvious area to focus on. Under current Air Force force reduction measures, 25,000 military will be leaving either voluntarily or non-voluntarily by January 2015.

"The same characteristics that we have in the military are the same characteristics companies are looking for in their employees: discipline, focus, leadership and teamwork," said Colonel Hurry.

She urged leaders to help their Airmen who may be affected by these cuts to write resumes and said the best way to support them is to give them honest and realistic feedback.

"What we owe our people is brutal honesty," Colonel Bickley said. He said the Airmen want and deserve feedback and leaders owe them the truth. "It may be tough to give that bottom third of our Airmen feedback," he said, "but if we don't, they won't be prepared. So talk with the Airmen."

The panel agreed that the Air Force is a team sport and it takes everyone to make the mission happen.

"Do your best job. Don't worry where you work--just do your best job," said Colonel Hurry.

Colonel DeBellevue said everyone plays an important role in the Air Force's success, though some jobs seem "better" than others. "It is important to remember at some point we are all the most important part of the team," he said.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

MLK on leadership: Of current relevance

By Brig. Gen. Al Jamerson, Headquarters U.S. Air Force / Published February 21, 2014

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had many personas depending on one's perspective: a minister, activist, hero, troublemaker -- even communist.

But as you look back on his legacy, I believe even his staunchest opponents would probably agree that he was a leader -- a man with an absolute belief in the strategy of non-violence, and the supreme conviction that all men and women deserved to be treated with respect and dignity.

In the book, Martin Luther King Jr., on Leadership: Inspiration and Wisdom for Challenging Times, Donald T. Phillips presented a review of King’s leadership principles and applied those principles to the challenges leaders face today.

Two of King’s leadership traits in particular caught my attention: He encouraged creativity and innovation; and involved everyone through alliance, teamwork, and diversity.

King believed in a non-violent civil rights movement in spite of tough opposition from many who advocated fighting fire with fire. He knew African Americans would lose a violent struggle, so he and the other civil rights leaders adopted innovative approaches to accomplish their mission.

In 1942, the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, created an integration strategy of sending black and white riders to the south on buses. Their efforts failed and many of the riders were jailed.

In the 1960s, CORE resurrected the idea and asked for King's support. He saw this as a chance to push his non-violence approach.

The idea worked with varied success as some of the Freedom Riders were killed, but it brought the national attention they needed to push civil rights into a large national debate. King's creative and innovative leadership ultimately paved the way for future civil rights victories.

King recognized that the good ideas of others passionate about a cause could shape an organization's drive to meet current and future challenges. That same push for creativity and innovation is what drives military success today.

Early air and space attempts resulted in numerous failures and anomalies before the technologies matured, but the persistent creativity and innovation of our past aerospace visionaries ultimately produced the world's greatest Air Force.

Today's leaders have the same responsibility to encourage and cultivate those same traits within their organizations, thus motivating their workforces to institute change needed for future success.

As a young leader, King had success galvanizing his portion of the civil rights movement, but he was viewed as a turf-builder by ‘established’ civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

King knew there was no time for competition between groups because the stakes were too high. He began to build an alliance of organizations working towards the same goal, but he did not just work with African American organizations -- he also sought cooperation from various political, social, economic, cultural, intellectual and religious groups.

King developed a broad-based, diverse alliance to help pull off perhaps the biggest social revolution in American history.

As leaders, our job is not to implement social revolution, but to seek organizational improvements in these times of dynamic change and shrinking resources. By encouraging alliance, teamwork, and diversity, leaders can create four problem-solving advantages that King recognized and employed: banding individuals together to create energy, enthusiasm, and courage; people gaining more strength and power in formal organizations; using groups to make major changes; and using alliances to help with networking.

You only need to look at how the Defense Department is approaching its most pervasive problem, sexual assault, to see King’s philosophy in action.

DOD's sexual assault prevention transition strategy brings together all services and multidisciplinary groups to identify problems and create and implement solutions to address sexual assault challenges across the DOD enterprise.

Like King, DOD leaders realized they could not address a major societal issue within individual service cultures ... it had to install a foundational approach that all members of the profession of arms could embrace as part of a new culture of prevention, respect and compliance. In short, the strategy encourages a diverse alliance brought together as a network to create change that improves organizational health and readiness.

King said, "All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem."

As leaders continue to combat complex problems like sexual assault, they will invariably uncover other issues that need to be addressed.

By studying and applying the leadership traits and experiences of Dr. King, leaders will affect positive change with a few of the most powerful tools known to mankind: creativity, innovation, alliance, teamwork and diversity.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Exceptional teen earns title 'Youth of the Year'

by Senior Airman Olivia Bumpers
23d Wing Public Affairs

2/10/2014 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- One teen's devotion to mentoring others and willingness to help others in the local community recently allowed him to receive the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a military youth here.

In January 2014, Jeffrey Fleming was named Moody Youth of the Year, which is a part of the Boys and Girls Club of America program. Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a teen can attain in the association. At the end of February, he will travel to Atlanta to compete at the state level for the title of 'Military Youth of the Year'.

Choosing the Youth of the Year is a yearlong process. Judges recognize outstanding contributions that each teen does for their family, school and local community. They also look at how they overcome personal challenges and obstacles.

"His dedication and commitment to serving others is everything that is asked for when choosing the Youth of the Year," said Dion Bass, 23d Force Support Squadron Youth Sports and Fitness director. "He is well spoken and respectful, and he tends to stand out from the rest."

Fleming's list of achievements and contributions include everything from volunteering regularly at the Youth Center to involving himself in the Passport to Manhood self-development group for young male teens. He is also currently the president of the Moody Liberty Keystone Club, a teen leadership group, all while working a part-time job.

He is also involved in the Toastmasters club, a communication and leadership group, where he was named best speaker.

"My main goal is to better myself," said Fleming. "While I'm improving myself, I want to help others do the same.

"I love to mentor younger teens because in a way, I see a little bit of myself in them," he added. "The more I see them succeed, the better it makes me feel."

Fleming added that growing up with a parent in the military was extremely stressful and he hopes to use his experience to help other military children deal with issues that normal children don't go through.

"My biggest problem was fitting in at school and keeping friends," said Fleming. "I would meet people everywhere I went but had to leave them one to two years later."

In addition to fitting in at each school, Fleming also mentioned that he had identity problems as he grew up. He said that the support he received from his family and friends helped him get through tough obstacles.

Though adjusting to life as a military teen was hard for Fleming, he mentioned moving to Moody was his easiest transition. He added that the Youth Center is one of his favorite centers he has been involved with out of all his locations.

"This may sound cheesy but the staff, advisors, and the kids push me to do better," said Fleming. "I don't think I would have gotten this far without their support."

Fleming added that his parents, U.S. Air Force retired Master Sgt. Michael Fleming and Shirley Fleming, were his biggest motivators.

"My parents taught me to never settle for less," said Fleming. "I try to excel in anything I'm doing whether I'm at work, school or volunteering."

While continuing to excel in his obligations, Fleming's hard work didn't go unnoticed. He earned the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally scholarship that will pay 90 percent of his schooling.

Fleming plans to attend Valdosta State University to pursue a business degree after he graduates high school in May.

Although winning Youth of the Year at the national level would be a great accomplishment, Fleming said that his main focus is school and continuing to work with younger youth at the center.

Guard, Reserve Aimen graduate JBER's first SNCO leadership development course

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

2/11/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 477th Fighter Group graduated its first Senior Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Development class here Jan. 26.

Ten SNCO's from the Alaska Air Guard's 176th Wing and eight from the Air Force Reserve 477th FG attended this two-day course. The class provided the senior noncommissioned officers the opportunity to explore in depth communication, trust, teamwork, and current Air Force Reserve leadership issues and initiatives.

"This course serves as a refresher for the NCO Academy as well as the SNCO Academy," said Tech. Sgt. Heidi Venable, 477th FG Education and Training NCOIC. "Because reservists have the ability to do PME by correspondence it is nice for supervisors to have an opportunity for in-person hands-on training as well as a chance to interact with their peers experiencing similar leadership challenges."

This course uses lecture as well as discussion and experiential learning techniques to convey topic techniques followed with an analysis and feedback discussion. Attendees conducted a personalized assessment of their own leadership abilities and skills.

The 477th FG will be hosting a NCO Leadership Development Course in April, any Staff or Tech. Sgt. interested in attending the class can register by contacting the 477th FG Education and Training Office at 907-551-4750

Social fitness: Cultivate healthy relationships with family, friends

by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

2/11/2014 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Airmen work hard every day to get the mission accomplished, but sometimes, they inadvertently neglect maintaining healthy relationships with their family and friends.

There are many studies showing that social isolation is a significant health risk factor. In fact, the negative health risks of social isolation has been shown to be comparable to the health risks of smoking, having high blood pressure, being obese or not getting enough physical activity.

Quoting John Donne, an English poet, satirist and lawyer, the Fairchild Community Support Coordinator, Dawn Altmaier, said, "No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

She wants Airmen to understand they're not alone.

"Prisoners of war during the Vietnam War used a tap code to talk to with each other," Altmaier said. "These service members new isolation would play tricks on them, so creating a tap code allowed them to communicate with each other so that they'd know they weren't alone."

In the same way prisoners of wars of the past maintained their social fitness in much less than desirable conditions, Airmen today have a multitude of avenues to seek assistance.

"When we isolate ourselves from the world, our brains as humans go negative," said Altmaier. "Having that social support network keeps reality in check. Knowing that others have gone through similar situations and can help is very important. We are not on an island entirely of ourselves -- we are social creatures."

Positive social connections provide Airmen with a certain boost to their mental and physical health, but also a support network to call on when needed. The social pillar emphasizes these connections, pointing the way to connecting with families and coworkers as part of one's overall resilience.

"When you know you have a network of support, that makes situations seem less daunting because together we're stronger," Altmaier said. "A single tree in the wind will break, but together many trees in a forest are stronger. We're the same way. We're stronger facing challenges together as a team. A lot of that has to do with our diversity and learning from other's experiences. Most things we experience are not unique to us, so the more people you let in, the more people able to help you through whatever challenges you are facing."

The word "social" can be defined as pertaining to, devoted to or characterized by friendly companionship or relations. "Fitness" is the condition of being physically in shape and healthy or the quality suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.

"Life is not static," said Krystal Shiver, an Air Force Reserve Command Airman and family readiness specialist. "Relationships and situations never stay the same. We must be cognizant of the impact social fitness has on mission readiness. Relationships with our family, with our friends, among our coworkers and in our communities all affect our ability to be mission ready. If we commit ourselves to staying focused on what really matters, it is easier to overcome unusual challenges and even enhance our resiliency as a total force."

Networking with others, becoming a mentor to a child and spending time visiting with the elderly are examples of positive social interactions that can cause change.

"We work with kids all the time and know how important it is for them to have role models in their lives," said Cassie Hendrickson, a Fairchild Youth Programs training and curriculum specialist. "Kids learn through models and observations, so if we expect kids to be physically active and they see us taking care of ourselves, then they'll want to take care of each other."

Volunteering at places such as the Youth Center affords Airmen an opportunity to build their social fitness by new and interesting means.

"Our kids really look up to those in uniform," Hendrickson said. "Airmen are very good role models and so we're always happy for volunteers."

Creating these connections is important, but if that's not enough, the Air Force recognizes and values the importance of help seeking behaviors. There are many resources available to Airmen on base including the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the Chapel, Military Family Life Consultants and the Key Spouse Program.

"We do several events such as Right Start where we put Airmen in contact with on and off base helping agencies and work with families and spouses teaching them about the Air Force mission, said Master Sgt. Laurie Simons, the 92nd Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center superintendent. "To me it's a great thing as a military member, that we're able to help Airmen and their spouses get out, socialize and do something, especially while their loved one is away or deployed."

Altmaier said people express care for themselves and others when they practice their core values, both the Air Force's and their own, and by exhibiting empathy and respect in what's said and done.

"It's important to get to know the people you work with," Altmaier said. "Also, understand that the values right for you may not be right for someone else, so don't force your views on others. It's all about diversity and recognizing the significance different backgrounds, values and beliefs bring to the table. We need to be open. You don't have to agree, but have to respect others. This all feeds into our social fitness because diversity gives us more options to the many situations we are facing as an Air Force."

[Editor's note: The Air Force Space Command Public Affairs and Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs contributed to this article and is part two of a four part feature series highlighting the Comprehensive Airman Fitness program at Fairchild.]

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Air Force launches enhanced professional development site

Sspecial From
Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development

2/11/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.  -- The Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development recently made available a new tool to assist civilians with their professional development.

The Civilian Development Resource Center is an online clearinghouse providing access to development roadmaps and learning programs and thousands of no-cost courses, books, videos, job aids, simulations, articles and much more.

Formerly known as the Supervisor Resource Center, the site offers easier navigation and a broader array of resources that support professional development for non-supervisory and supervisory career tracks.

The Eaker Center's Future Learning and Civilian Education Division designed the CDRC site to help users quickly target customizable learning programs that focus on their individual development needs. Additionally, students can access courses required for some professional certifications. These assets can be accessed anytime and anywhere, thus providing flexibility and protecting Airmen's valuable time.

"The civilian workforce is one of the Air Force's greatest assets," said Russell Frasz, director, directorate of Airman Force Development. "Continuously developing oneself is a personal responsibility for all Airmen. The Civilian Development Resource Center plays a key role in maintaining Air Force's innovative and competitive edge by assisting personnel to develop their professional competencies in an efficient and cost-conscious manner."

The site incorporates flexible learning programs that can be tailored to each individual's development pathway and includes building blocks that are typical of a civilian's career, such as "New Employee," "Developing to Journeyman Employee," "Experienced Employee," "New Supervisor" and "Experienced Supervisor."

To help users focus on the most beneficial areas for development, an assessment tool is available on the site that provides feedback and identifies the skills development needed to improve performance. In addition to the career tracks listed above, topical learning programs are also available and are aligned with the Air Force institutional competencies. A monthly newsletter highlights selected courses, books and learning tips spotlighting various learning programs focused on competency.

The CDRC is a self-paced development tool available on demand to meet the needs of current and future Air Force leaders. It is accessible via the Air Force Portal main page under the Career and Training tab.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

AFGSC commander visits MAFB, promotes force improvement

by Capt. Jeff M. Nagan
Minot Air Force Base public Affairs

2/11/2014 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The commander of Air Force Global Strike Command toured Minot Air Force Base, Feb. 3-7, meeting with Airmen of all ranks and familiarizing himself with the mission during his first visit since taking command in October of 2013.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson and his wife, Nancy, arrived at Minot immediately following Nuclear Surety Inspections of the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing, which also recently completed a Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection.

"There were pretty spectacular results for both the NSI and NORI," Wilson said. "We had a joint oversight team of independent outside agencies looking at how we do business. Across the board, both wings, the 91st and the 5th, just did a terrific job. Team Minot crushed it."

Wilson's visit also comes just weeks after reports of a test compromise at Malmstrom AFB.

"This was not a mission problem; this was an integrity problem amongst a small group of people that didn't uphold our core values," Wilson said. "A small number violated that integrity, and it caused us all to take a deep, hard look at how we do business. So we are."

Wilson's visit served as an opportunity to communicate to Airmen and community leaders about the Force Improvement Program, an AFGSC initiative to identify potential improvement areas and generate "grass root" solutions, Wilson said. The program involves four teams of experts from the operations, maintenance, security and mission support specialties going to each base to meet with their peers and work with them to identify challenges in their respective mission areas. Their recommended solutions will go directly to Wilson.

"The focus is on young company grade officers and [noncommissioned officers] who are in the business doing the job - they understand it better than anybody," Wilson said. "Let's take their ideas, let's look at it, and let's act upon those things."

The team's findings will be part of comprehensive plan on efforts aimed at improving the force, Wilson said.

"The only filter is me," Wilson said. "It's coming from those four groups, and it's coming direct to me. Those things that I can solve, I'm going to solve. Those that I can't, I'm taking to our Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force. Those that they can't solve, we are taking to the Secretary of Defense."

The goal is to make lasting changes to make the Air Force better for the future, added Wilson.

"Over the last five years since standing up Air Force Global Strike Command, we have focused on this enterprise," Wilson said. "Those that came before have done some tremendous things for our Air Force and nation. We are on a journey, and we are going to continue that journey."

During Wilson's visit, he also highlighted four focus areas, aimed at improving each AFGSC base, not only impacting operations but also morale and education, he added.

"We're going to continue to focus on making sure we have a safe, secure and effective nuclear force," Wilson said. "Air Force Global Strike Command has two legs of the nuclear triad, the bomber and ICBM legs. We are going to make sure we are organized, equipped and trained to be able to do that to a high standard. We cannot take our eye off that ball. It's too important for our nation."

Every day, more than 1,000 of the 25,000 Airmen within AFGSC are deployed, Wilson said. It is critical that they are prepared, trained and equipped to perform that mission. However, the mission also depends on continuing to strengthen and empower the team, he added.

"We are going to continue the efforts of those before us," Wilson said. "We have reinvigorated, we strengthened, and now we are going to broaden and deepen our understanding of the culture as well as empowering those young Airmen and NCOs to do their job, making sure they understand they are part of an elite team of professionals."

Wilson's last focus area revolves around "shaping the future." This requires balancing the fiscal challenges of today with the need to modernize the Air Force inventory and ensure a trained and ready force, Wilson said. Equally important is a need to be able to effectively articulate that to policy makers within the Pentagon and Congress, he added.

Team Minot, which includes not only both wings, but also the community, is crucial to continuing MAFB's success, Wilson added. However, he said he leaves here knowing the mission remains in solid, capable hands.

"What I've seen here in this last week has given me a lot of optimism to see the people doing the mission, across the spectrum," Wilson said. "We have some unbelievably dedicated, smart, committed, Airmen passionate about their business doing some terrific work, 24/7/365."

Guard, Reserve Airmen graduate JBER's first SNCO leadership development course

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

2/11/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- The 477th Fighter Group graduated its first Senior Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Development class here Jan. 26.

Ten SNCO's from the Alaska Air Guard's 176th Wing and eight from the Air Force Reserve 477th Fighter Group attended this two day course. The class provided the senior noncommissioned officers the opportunity to explore in depth communication, trust, teamwork, and current Air Force Reserve leadership issues and initiatives.

"This course serves as a refresher for the NCO Academy as well as the SNCO Academy," said Tech. Sgt. Heidi Venable, 477th FG Education and Training NCOIC. "Because Reservists have the ability to do PME by correspondence it is nice for supervisors to have an opportunity for in person hands on training as well as a chance to interact with their peers experiencing similar leadership challenges."

This course uses lecture as well as discussion and experiential learning techniques to convey topic techniques followed with an analysis and feedback discussion. Attendees conducted a personalized assessment of their own leadership abilities and skills.

The 477th Fighter Group will be hosting a NCO Leadership Development Course in April, any Staff or Tech. Sgt. interested in attending the class can register by contacting the 477th Fighter Group Education and Training Office at 907-551-4750.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Being an effective leader includes taking care of four people

Commentary by Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Wieser
773d Civil Engineer Squadron

2/10/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- I have read many articles on leadership throughout my 15 years in the Air Force and have adopted many great traits from all of them. One particular detail common to many of the articles is taking care of your people. I believe this is an extremely important principle, but would like to expand on the matter by focusing on four "people" and how to care for each.

Take care of your subordinates

In order to take care of your people, you must know your people. I believe this starts with getting to know your subordinates. Where they are from, how many siblings they have, what their favorite sports teams and music genres are, etc. Knowing your people shows you care and will help develop synergy in your section.

Take care of your peers

We preach this every day in our Air Force ¬¬- make sure you have a wingman. However, if you are a master sergeant and one of your fellow master sergeants is having issues with his or her section, do you offer to help or do you show how great your section is in comparison? We are all human beings and we all want to do well. Teamwork means we are all on the same team and need to take care of each other.

Take care of your leaders

I feel this is often overlooked. Our leaders take orders from higher authorities, just like us, and we need to have empathy to transform their vision. If you don't like their decisions, it is still your job to carry out their vision and move forward without undermining their authority or causing morale issues. Remember, leaders can have bad days too so don't be afraid to ask, "How is your day going? You look stressed. Is there anything I can do?"

Take care of yourself

This is by far the most important. By taking care of yourself physically, mentally, technically and spiritually, you can truly walk the walk. If you can take care of yourself, and practice what you preach, you will become a transformational leader who can continue to meet every challenge in the current fiscal environment and make our Air Force run like a well-oiled machine.

It is very difficult to take care of all four of these people groups 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You must find balance in life. Bottom line: If you have self-awareness, you can become a great leader by learning from the mistakes and successes of your subordinates, peers and leaders. Most importantly, as you have heard before, if you don't learn from your past, history is bound to repeat itself. To be an effective leader, you need to learn from your own mistakes. The next time you self-reflect, ask yourself how you are doing taking care of your people.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

People + Pride = Performance: Insight from the CSAF

by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/6/2014 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- "I really believe if you are an Air Force and you recruit the best people in the country, which we do, and you train them better than anyone else and you put them with people who make them proud of what they do, how well they do it and what they represent, then you get a performance you can never get any other way," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. "The formula is simple, people plus pride equals performance."

The general and his wife, Betty, visited JBLM Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 to thank Airmen and their families for their service and address current Air Force challenges, and along the way had a chance to witness the people, pride and performance that make up Team McChord.

"It is really helpful for us to get out and see what you are all doing and how you are doing it. To talk to the Airmen and to get an idea of what concerns you have," Welsh said.

During their visit, they learned about everything from JBLM's joint basing structure and the collaboration with Ft. Lewis, the Total Force partnerships, the prime nuclear airlift force to the base's continuing effort to ensure a culture of dignity and respect.

The highlight of the day came when more than 1,800 Airmen, civilians and spouses came together in Hangar 3 to listen to Welsh share his thoughts and answer questions from the audience.

Welsh started his All Call off by thanking not only his wife for all her support throughout his career, but all family members who support the Air Force. And of course, he brought a huge message of appreciation for the members of Team McChord and the capability they provide in defense of the nation.

"We have talked to everybody that our Airmen serve around the world, every combatant commander, people in other countries, our allies and our coalition partners and let me tell you what they say about you," Welsh said. "They say that you guys rock; they love what you do and they love how well you do it, they want more of our mission and they want more of you. So I want to say 'thanks' for how well you represent our Air Force, our country, your own unit and each other because you really should be proud of how you do that job."

He went on to apologize to civilians for a rough 2013 -- for furloughs, for government shutdown - and thanked them for their dedication and hard work. He reminded those in attendance of the importance of civilian Airmen and recognized Danny Pope, a 62nd Airlift Wing maintenance squadron member, who's been at McChord for more than 40 years.

"Danny is a behind the scenes civilian who makes things work and for the last four decades he has been taking care of you and the base," Welsh said. "He is the fabric of our Air Force, he is the kind of guy you want to go to work with and someone I would consider the world's best teammate."

The general than went on to remind the audience the importance of every single Airman.

"I don't care how long you have been in, how many stripes you have or how many jobs you get, when you are a supervisor you need to tell other Airmen how important they are while at the same time remembering that you are the most important person in the Air Force and you deserve to be treated that way," he said. "Everybody in this room has a role to play in our Air Force, it is a critically important role and the sooner we remind ourselves that each of us is critically important, we will treat each other and better take care of each other."

The general went on to discuss how important it is for all of us to think about that because the bottom line for us is performance. He stated our job is to fight and win wars but we are smart enough to know if we don't take care of our people we won't get the performance required to do that.

Welsh went on to discuss what he considers the keys to success going forward - common sense, communication and caring.

"We have to realize that if our AFI's, policy letters and rules we are following do not align with common sense, then they are wrong. We have to change that and you can start right here," Welsh said.

The second key he discussed was "being better communicators."

He asked if anyone knew the reason why tuition assistance was cut-off last year and only one person out of the more than 1,800 raised their hand.

"We have to fix this as an Air Force and we have to get better at this," said Welsh. "Our people deserve answers and we are trying to share them but they are just not getting to you. If you can let me know what works, then I will let you know we will try it."

His final key to success for the Air Force future is caring, "we have to care more."

"I have already told you I am working with the best people on earth and you have the best families supporting you but even with that support we will never care about each other enough," Welsh said.

He went on to mention the many challenges facing the Air Force right now, from force management to sexual harassment.

"I believe the only solution to those things is not another Air Force program... it is caring more about each other," said Welsh. "It's understanding who the person next to you really is, what they think, how they feel, what affects them and how you can impact their life in a positive way."

"If you don't know the story of your Airmen, you can't lead them. It is really simple; learn their stories as the more we know about each other, the better we can take care of each other," he said. "The better we take care of each other, the less of all this other stuff we deal with and the more we focus on our job. That's who we are and that's the Air Force we want to be."

For more information on the general or Mrs. Welsh, check out the following resources:

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Guard members from four states learn strategic planning

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Sgt. Edward Eagerton
Alaska National Guard

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (2/4/14) - As the adage goes, "you cannot teach an old dog new tricks," but that is exactly what the Army Communities of Excellence Strategic Execution Course is designed to do.
Last month, about 30 Guard members from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho and Montana attended a five-day course to learn how to develop a strategic plan and communicate it to all levels of their organizations.

"They're training the next generation of leaders," said Maj. Chad Daniels, a performance assessment officer with the Business Transformation Office, National Guard Bureau. "It really is a culture change. With the fiscal environment being the way it is and money going away, we have to look at the way we're doing things; we have to look at how to do our processes more efficiently."

The senior and mid-level leaders who attended the Strategic Execution course used the case study of a private-sector company as an example of a failing business model. During the class, they were taught a set of tools to analyze that business model and develop a strategic plan to affect positive change for the company.

Through analyzing where an organization is, and figuring out where they want to go, the students were then challenged to prioritize what steps to take and how to communicate that plan to their organization.
One of the challenges in communicating this vision is that the National Guard is mostly made up of traditional Guard members who drill for one weekend a month and two weeks a year during their annual training.

Outside of drill weekends and annual training, Guard members typically pursue careers and education within the civilian sector. During National Guard training, their individual missions and training revolve around maintaining proficiency in their skill sets. So how would a traditional Guard Soldier or Airman understand the larger picture of an organization without the continuity of doing their service-related job every day?

"There needs to be involvement, and not just from the headquarters or senior leadership, but from throughout the entire organization," said Army Col. Jeff Ireland, the chief of staff for the Montana National Guard. "If we can get the employees excited and show them that what we're doing is going to help us help them, then there's going to be success."

Leadership and those tasked with redesigning the future are an often changing and evolutionary element of the military. By involving all levels of the organization in the strategic planning process, the collective vision of an organization gains a sense of continuity that could not exist without a solid communication in place to instill those core values.

"I can take this process of strategic planning and apply it to my foxhole right now," said Maj. Tim Brower, assistant professor of military science at the University of Anchorage Alaska Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Alaska Army National Guard. "By doing that, it's going to make the ROTC program better. It will be nested with the guidance that I receive from higher levels of command, and in turn, will be conveyed to the next generation of leaders."

Monday, February 03, 2014

People: Our legacy

by 2nd Lt. Meredith Hein
24th Air Force Public Affairs

1/31/2014 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- "Leadership is a gift. It is given by those who follow."

This statement, given by Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, then the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander and now the Air Force Chief of Staff, to the cadets of the United States Air Force Academy in 2011, puts into words the philosophy Chief Master Sgt. Alfred Herring has been following throughout his 30 year career in the Air Force.

After nine ranks and 13 assignments, 24th Air Force's second command chief master sergeant is retiring. One thing has remained constant throughout his time in the Air Force, however, and that is the importance of people.

"People are our legacy," said Herring. "We need to invest in people. That's what has the biggest impact for me. If I was able to invest in one Airman and make a change for the better, then I feel like I've done my job."

With social media and email taking the place of day-to-day conversations, Herring says he made it point to go out to where Airmen worked and speak to them on a personal level every day.

"Whether you're a supervisor of five or a supervisor of one, find someone every day and have a conversation with them about anything that will help them be great or help them be great in the Air Force," said Herring. I challenge everyone to have face-to-face conversations. We need analog leadership in this digital world."

Though many individuals, supervisors and others, made an impression on Herring as an Airman, he cited two who impacted him as a leader.

"Sergeant Kathy Carlton taught me the basics about being an Airman," said Herring. "Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Sullens taught me how to be a chief--by example."

People, Herring noted, are also what made every one of his assignments great.

"People make a place, and when you leave, you don't miss an Air Force institution or a location. You miss the people. And that is why I never had a bad assignment in the Air Force," said Herring.

Enlisting in the Air Force in 1984, Herring has seen a lot of changes since his time as an airman basic at Lackland Air Force Base. He noted particularly that it is a much smaller Air Force than the one he entered, but that the quality of the Airmen serving has only increased.

"When I joined in 1984, there were probably 700,000 Active Duty Airmen alone. Now, there's 698,000 total force Airmen--Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian. I've seen that a quality force doesn't always come in large numbers," said Herring. "We're continuing to do the same mission and more, and do things more creatively."

Herring noted the benefits of knowing everyone else's job and how it benefits the efficiency of the Air Force mission.

"If every Airman in a shop--officer, enlisted and civilian--knew every task and could do every job, I'd go back to that," he said. "There would be no single points of failure that way, because everyone would be able to help each other out and check each other."

Herring began his Air Force career as a "supply guy" in logistics, with a background in materiel management. He moved on to become a group superintendent and ultimately a command chief.

"My favorite job I've had has to be supply," said Herring. "But at the end of the day, the job that gave me the greatest satisfaction was the one that allowed me to influence and help people, and that was command chief."

The greatest benefits of being a chief, Herring said, stem from talking to people. "Every day, I get to talk to Airmen about their lives, challenges, frustrations and interests. Every day."

Each of these interactions, he says, has contributed to his long and oftentimes challenging journey, but Herring says he wouldn't change anything.

"Changing any of those assignments or experiences would change where I am now," Herring said. "I wouldn't change a thing about it."

Every assignment, job and rank, says Herring, has been a valuable experience and contributed to who he is today. The challenges of attaining senior noncommissioned officer ranks in particular have been rewarding experiences.

"Every rank has been a good rank. Thirty years ago, I was an airman basic with no stripes. Now, I'm a chief. I wouldn't trade any of those stripes. It's all been special," said Herring.

As an airman basic, Herring recalls the misery of the first day of Basic Military Training, waiting at the airport in San Antonio, riding the bus to Lackland Air Force Base and eating a meal of what he believed to be cold chicken in the early hours of the morning.

He contrasts this time with the final day of BMT, as he walked down the bomb run on graduation day.

"The sense of accomplishment and pride that you accomplished something greater than yourself--that was the best memory," he said.

Herring has carried this pride throughout his 30-year career, and hopes to pass on some simple advice to this next generation of Airmen: "There are no new lessons in leadership--only ones we've forgotten. The very basic one is know your job and do your job. The rest will take care of itself."