Climate assessment drives change

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- During the recent installation climate assessment, we asked 16th Special Operations Wing personnel to comment on how well we’re taking care of our wingmen and our families.
Focus areas included morale, job environment, recognition, leadership and peer relationships. We also asked for comments on zero-tolerance concerns, such as sexual harassment and discrimination.
I appreciate the honest, and often candid, responses. There were 1,287 written comments, and I read each one.
The good news: your comments suggest we’re doing a pretty good job taking care of each other.
The rest of the story: pretty good isn’t good enough for America’s only special operations wing. We’ve got some work to do – together.
I provided the group and squadron commanders and wing staff agency chiefs a copy of the report. Written comments were disseminated to appropriate command echelons. Your top five concerns were leadership, mentoring/feedback, deployment planning, commander and first sergeant visibility and zero-tolerance violations.
A top concern was the lack of stability in planning for deployments. I agree. We need to cut the turbulence associated with short notice, line-of-sight tasking.
We will also ensure those who are eligible to deploy do so on an equal basis – married and single, staff and line personnel.
Together we will standardize and adopt routine deployment and redeployment windows. We will move away from the current practice of flowing people to and from overseas locations on an ad hoc basis.
After a period of transition, we will adopt 90-day deployments for routine unit-level rotations. Senior leaders and staffs will deploy for 120 days. When you come home, I’m committed to increasing the amount of time you have to spend with your loved ones. I assure you, change is coming. Commanders, first sergeants, and supervisors need to be more active in the daily lives of their Airmen. Feedback isn’t optional. Whether delivered formally or informally, feedback remains critical to mission success today and tomorrow. Sit down with your Airmen, listen, learn and mentor.
Seek one-on-one and one-on-many leadership opportunities. Invest your time and energy in developing the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders. Catch a glimpse of the future. Look into the eyes of your Airmen, and grow the Air Force of 2020 today.
Your comments indicated zero-tolerance violations remain of significant concern. Some within our ranks selfishly venture into the “no-fly zone.” If you sexually harass, discriminate or show favoritism toward another Airman, you enter the no-fly zone. I will hold you personally responsible for weakening bonds of trust needed to fight and win.
Don’t accept or condone such behavior. If you witness it, you have a duty to report it. Decide now. Take best care of your wingman every day of your career and stay out of the no-fly zone. If our standards are too high, let me know. I’ll be happy to help expedite your departure from our Air Force.
Be assured I read your positive comments, too. Thank you for affirming the best within our ranks, leaders who deserve recognition for taking best care of their wingmen and families.
Your list included supervisors, first sergeants and commanders as well as your peers. I’m happy to report these leaders were recognized – each in their own appropriate way.
What did you collectively say about job satisfaction? Many wonderful things, but perhaps one Airman said it best, “I love what I do, and I’m told that I do it well.” Now that’s the kind of climate the men and women of America’s only special operations wing truly de-serve. Make it so, Air Commandos … “Any Time, Any Place.”