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News > Commentary - Looking ahead to 2011
Looking ahead to 2011

Posted 1/5/2011   Updated 1/5/2011 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Michael Hornitschek
375th Air Mobility Wing Commander

1/5/2011 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- It's good to be back with you after an enjoyable break with family and friends. There's nothing like a little time away with loved ones to recharge the batteries and bring a renewed dedication to the mission. I trust your holiday season was enjoyable as well and that you are ready to dig into a busy and important new year!

The beginning of a new year brings a certain sense of optimism and hope that we can tackle any challenge that may arise. It's a time to leave the past behind us and forge ahead in supporting our nation with its many missions around the globe, whether it's fighting terrorism in Afghanistan or bringing aid to those who are suffering from natural disasters.

Looking toward our year ahead, we have on our radar the Compliance Inspection slated for August, which is an assessment mandated by law of mission areas that are critical to the health and performance of a unit. Failure to comply with established directives in these areas could result in significant legal liabilities, penalties, or significant mission impact.

Inspectors from higher headquarters evaluate not only what we do, but how well we do it, and they dig deep into our compliance with regulations and directives. The months leading up to our inspection will be spent on ensuring our processes reflect on paper the way we know our mission is being executed in real time--with reliability and efficiency. If there are areas for improvement, now is the time to annotate and document a way forward with solutions and implement new policies.

Nearly simultaneously, the wing will also be undergoing the Cyber Compliance Readiness Inspection, which is administered by the Defense Information Systems Agency. They'll be performing a detailed inspection of the security posture of the command and control systems for Air Mobility Command--maintained by the 375th Communications Support Squadron and 375th Communications Squadron. In addition, a Health Services Inspection will assess how well the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron performs their peacetime and wartime missions.

The following month, the wing will also undergo an Aircrew Standardization Evaluation Visit, which is an inspection to validate our core operational missions of airlift and aeromedical evacuation. This is an extremely important look at how we document, fly and execute the missions safely and effectively. The ASEV will focus on how we conduct aircrew training, evaluate their mission readiness and ensure operational compliance with Air Force regulations.

We will be hosting several Staff Assistance Visits over the upcoming months ... not so we can look good on paper, but to ensure that we are meeting, and exceeding, the intent of the inspection program and our operational conduct. Our goal should be to shine with outstanding results as we validate why we are Air Mobility Command's Showcase Wing.

Also on our radar for 2011 is the need to continue to build our relationships and missions with both the 126th Air Refueling Wing (ANG) and the 932nd Airlift Wing (Reserve) under the "Total Force Integration" concept. We are experiencing real-world deployments with our partners at this time for DV and aeromedical airlift as well as aerial refueling operations. All indications are that things are going smoothly and we continue to partner to provide America with many options for combat support.

Along with TFI partnering, we will be looking forward to adding an additional mission set for the C-21 family as the schoolhouse transfers from Keesler AFB to Scott this Spring. This will mean that Scott AFB will be the only formal training location for the C-21 mission. This is all about maximizing our resources in the Air Force and we'll be focused on making it a smooth transition.

As we look ahead to what lies in store for us, we are ever mindful of the need to tighten our belts and reduce waste, conserve our resources, and look for ways to streamline our processes. This is nothing new, for our military services have found themselves in similar situations before. Sometimes we don't operate in entirely ideal circumstances, but what makes the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsmen outstanding are the ways in which they accomplish the mission with what they have and many times with creative "outside-the-box" thinking.

The potential for flat or declining resources is one reason why I'm 100 percent involved and leading the charge to incorporate AFSO21 efforts into every aspect of our mission! AFSO21 will ensure mission effectiveness while reducing or eliminating wasteful processes that prevent our Airmen from accomplishing more great things. We need to make process improvements an every-day occurrence and I want our Airmen to understand the importance of what it can do for them in their own sections.

As we focus on this area, it will improve customer relationships and help keep us on time, on target, and on budget. Other areas that I've addressed regularly will be the continued effort to develop our Airmen through various programs and initiatives. We have many opportunities for growth here, and 2011 should be a year where each person understands what their contribution to the mission means for our warfighters and one where they experience personal and professional growth. That won't just happen on its own--it takes dedicated supervisors and a vested interest in the mission to achieve that kind of success. But it can, and should happen, right here at Scott AFB.

Right now we are all busy preparing end-of-year award packages, and I just ask that we take the time to ensure our well-rounded Airmen and teams are being recognized for the incredible work they do. If there are areas in which we feel we may be falling short, let's chart a course for 2011 that will increase our competitive edge. I don't say this to focus solely on awards, but rather to ensure our Airmen are developing appropriately and taking on the right amount of responsibilities for their ranks.

We have much to do this coming year and several initiatives yet to be announced and implemented, but all in good time. We will continue to assess our health and progress in all areas our missions, as well as in our personal lives. We will continue to stress the importance of building a strong foundation of health and wellness to ensure resilient Airmen and to become better Wingmen to those around us. As we stay focused on these areas and look forward with optimistic attitudes, I have no doubt that 2011 will be a banner year for Enabling Combat Power!

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