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News > Commentary - Straight Talk: If it ain't broke, you can still fix it
Straight Talk: If it ain't broke, you can still fix it

Posted 4/5/2012   Updated 4/5/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

4/5/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" used to be a popular saying, but it certainly isn't going to apply to business in the military anymore! Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave an interesting interview last week where he discussed the changes facing the U.S. military as we draw down deployments and face reduced budgets and manpower. To read the full article, go to www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=67782.

It's important to note that just because we have "always done it that way" doesn't have anything to do with whether or not "it" meets the mission of today.

Dempsey references the common checklist approach we use for much of our military training and encourages us to move beyond that. Instead of using a checklist that was developed for a past mission and incorporated a level of resources that no longer exist, we now need to do some critical thinking about what is needed for today's mission and train, plan and execute to the new need while accounting for today's level of resources.

This will be hard work! It will be much harder than just fixing things that are broken because it will require prioritization of so many missions and services that we rely on as military members.

As an installation, Hanscom is undergoing that critical thinking process now and our NCOs and equivalent civilian technical experts are leading the way. We are looking for creative ways to maximize our resources to provide services that are critical to accomplishing the Electronic Systems Center mission and to fill the personal and family needs that are unique to those serving our nation.

We know a few of our core competencies to ensure we maintain an exceptional force in the years to come include deployment readiness; fitness and health; core skill code expertise plus professional development; along with resiliency and coping skills for Airmen and their families who face unique challenges from so many transitions.

The current challenge facing us is to prioritize our energy and our resources to these core competencies and not allow "but we have always done it this way" to drive our workload.

I know we are up for the challenge!

On a related noted, I would like to say thank you to all the people who participated in the Caring for People forum on Tuesday to help develop our action plan for the year to come. We had an amazing group with fantastic ideas. Their energy and inputs will be a core component of our way ahead.

In addition, I hope to see many of our housing residents at my residents' town hall meeting on April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Minuteman Commons. Come up for Wing Night and stay for the town hall. We will have an information fair beforehand so there will be lots of information and giveaways available. We will also give a few short briefs to let you know about upcoming changes. Bring your questions and ideas. I can't wait to see you there!

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