Rebuilding focuses on policies, processes, precision

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing commander
I had the opportunity to spend some time this past weekend with Lt. Col. Steve Ray, our former Training Group deputy commander who is currently the 20th Air Force deputy director of logistics. He was back in the area on Thanksgiving, and he shared with me their efforts on what 20th Air Force is doing to strengthen and rejuvenate our nation's nuclear enterprise. It's a critical effort and focused on what the Chief of Staff has termed our "back-to-basics approach in accountability, compliance, precision, and reliability." 

Here at Keesler, we share that focus. As you have heard me say, our "Rebuilding the Base" mission area is not just about the brick and mortar. In fact, most of our physical rebuilding has already been completed! Now is the time to rebuild our policies, our customer-oriented processes and the precision that made our Air Force great. 

Why should our rebuilding efforts focus on policies, processes, and precision? The answer is found in our desired results. 

After reviewing our self-inspections, staff assistance visits reports, and our metrics, we've found several areas that need improvement. One of these is in understanding and following policies. This is not unique to Keesler personnel. We've found that well-intentioned people around the Air Force have been inadvertently operating under rescinded or changed policies. When challenged by customers or inspectors, they've said they were not aware of the changes. Guess what? That's not the way our Air Force does its business! We need to be experts in the policies of our mission areas and stay current. I challenge all Keesler Airmen to "know the book" inside and out and be an expert in the policies that apply to your area to make sure we are best prepared to serve each other. 

Similarly, we need to make sure we are employing well-defined, documented, and efficient customer-oriented processes. This too is an area that we have to rebuild not only here at Keesler, but everywhere. Nobody likes red tape or rules that are always changing or are arbitrarily applied. Our great Air Force was built on disciplined procedures that clearly spelled out what rules to follow, and how to execute them. We are faithful to a proud heritage. In the Air Force I grew up in, Airmen followed their checklist and always looked for better ways to deliver to their customer. When you found that better way, you followed the process to change the checklist to ensure everyone benefited from the new and better way. The need for this discipline is no different today than it was when I first entered the ranks. I challenge every supervisor to help us rebuild and make disciplined processes the foundation of our daily operations. 

Finally, precision is what makes our Air Force stand out as the premier air, space, and cyberspace power in the world. In World War II, if we had to take out a target, we had to send an air armada to attack it. Now, with the precision of today's Air Force, our nation is rightfully proud that we can launch a single airplane to send a single weapon through a window to achieve the desired effect rather than having to send that huge air armada. Precision enables you to achieve repeatable, predictable desired effects. Regardless of what unit you serve in at Keesler, you can deliver with that same kind of precision. Our nation needs you too! 

We need you to know the policies, have the disciplined customer-orient processes and checklists, and deliver them precisely in order for us to achieve our mission successfully. The results will make us the best, and isn't that what our core values stand for? As we head into 2009, let's take ourselves, our base, and our Air Force to higher levels. Let's Rebuild with a focus on policies, processes, and precision!