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Influence change in 2014

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Teresa Clapper
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing interim command chief
The year 2013 was filled with many unexpected situations. Many did not expect sequestration to become a reality. The impact of sequestration on our force was felt by us all, and we are still dealing with some of the aftershock.

Now just over a month into 2014, Force Management Programs are in full swing and many are asking--how are we going to keep doing everything we are currently doing? If you listen to our Air Force leaders, they are answering that question--we aren't. There are numerous things we will have to stop doing or change how we do them. This is an opportune time for Airmen to have an impact on how we operate in the future. Last year more than 11,000 cost reducing ideas were submitted during the "Every Dollar Counts" Campaign. That was in one month.

The challenge is to be part of the solution by doing things smarter in 2014. Each year thousands of Airmen PCS to a new base or change duty sections and here lies opportunity for change.

When I think about PCSing, I am reminded of what Col. Eric Beene, my 39th Air Base Wing commander in Turkey would often say, "Look for the Cricket." If you are a new Airman to Scott, I challenge you to "Look for the Cricket."

Let me explain. When you first hear a cricket, you go look for it because the noise drives you crazy. When you can't find it you go back to doing what it was you were doing. After a while you no longer hear the cricket, but it is still there.

Within your new duty section, look for the cricket until you find it. Is the process different than at your last assignment--is it better or less efficient? Are you performing work you never performed at base X? As you are running your inspection checklists, are the AFI and your processes the same? If not, why not? Are you completing a task that is no longer relevant? Ask the question "Why?" and elevate it up your chain of command see to if it is a task that needs not be done.

Now is the time to influence change, and now is the time to be part of the solution by doing things smarter. What change will you influence this year? Will it be as simple as not running a report that no one ever uses, or as complex as streamlining an entire process with multiple organizations? Find opportunities to improve the way we operate. Challenge the adage "because that is the way we have always done it."

I will leave you with this: In 1918 the first aeromedical evacuation happened when Airmen thought outside the box and strapped a downed pilot with a broken leg to the wing of their aircraft and flew him from Mascoutah, Ill., back to Scott Field. Fast forward almost 96 years ... today we have the capability to transport a wounded warrior from the frontlines to the United States in less than 24 hours.

Think about that for a moment, and then ask yourself what change can I influence this year?