General officer exemplifies “Being What is Possible”

  • Published
  • By Michele Donaldson

Expect the unexpected. Nowhere is that notion more important than in the Department of Defense.

When a need arises quickly due to a new tasking, mobilization, contingency operation, specialized or technical requirements, or an unexpected vacancy in a critical position, Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentees (IMAs) stand ready to fill the gap. IMAs serve in active duty, rather than in reserve units, to provide seamless coverage where needed. 

These Reservists leverage their civilian skills and serve as Citizen Airmen, exemplifying “being what is possible” when it comes to meeting Air Force mission objectives.

Maj. Gen. Mark V. Slominski has made a career of successfully, “being what is possible.”  On April 19, he became the first core Civil Engineer officer in the 76-year history of the U.S. Air Force Reserve to be promoted to Major General.

Slominski currently serves as the Mobilization Assistant (MA) to Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command.  As MA, Slominski and leads key missions and assists the Commander to achieve strategic objectives.

A prime example of this took place from Aug. 2023 through Feb. 2024, when the holds on Congressional confirmations associated with general officers created a gap in key leadership within AFMC.

Though not typical for a Reservist to fill such a gap, Slominski was asked to perform the duties as the AFMC Acting Deputy Commander for six months.    

“I saw the job as an opportunity to continue forward momentum for the command and make things better,” he said. “I think we gave the new deputy the best possible starting point.”

As Acting Deputy Commander, Slominski supported all 89,000 military, civilians and contractors who execute AFMC’s broad and impactful mission, which includes a $72 billion budget, across the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. This includes research, development, test, acquisition, life cycle management, sustainment and foreign military sales for weapon systems and infrastructure across the world.

“If it’s a weapons system that the U.S. manufactures or fields, AFMC has a role in the success of the system, regardless of whose emblem is painted on the side of it,” said Slominski.

During his promotion ceremony, he touched on this experience while also describing three core philosophies he embodied during his career.

“The core philosophies are built upon the foundational Core Values of the Air Force, operationalizing each.”  Slominski said. “The first is ‘Lead as You’d Like To Be Led,’ the Golden Rule of leadership. The second is ‘Serve with Thanks,’ with clear differentiation to its opposite effect of serving with angst. And finally, ‘Be What is Possible.’”

For each philosophy, Slominski engaged the audience while describing immersive experiences he’d had throughout a 30-year career that ultimately brought the three philosophies to the forefront of his leadership style.

Since his commissioning through ROTC in 1994, Slominski has served in various active duty, Traditional Reserve and IMA Reserve positions both in AFMC and elsewhere throughout his career. In recent years, he served as Mobilization Assistant to the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center commander, where he concurrently spent two years leading teams who design and construct infrastructure for all Air Force and Space Force installations around the globe. 

“Every day is a learning laboratory if you choose it to be,” he said. “Where possible, we must recognize that every engagement and every chance to work with people or on a program is an opportunity to learn from the way we and others handle the situation.”

Slominski lives near Seattle, and in his civilian capacity works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is presently the Chief of Engineering and Construction for an Integrated Program Management Office that supports infrastructure for a strategic weapon system. 

When asked why he serves, Slominski responded that he wanted to be successful in something important that wasn’t all about profit.

“I worked in a company for a few years, but was drawn back to civil service,” he said. “I found contributing to something bigger than the bottom line was most important to me.”

When not supporting DoD missions, Slominski enjoys time with family and is an avid musician. He focuses his time on and off duty building up others to ensure their success so they, too, can “be what is possible.”