AFSO 21 helps Airmen work smarter

Rodney J. McKinley
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Every day we see smart, motivated and brave Airmen striving to make a difference. With more than 24,000 Airmen from our total force deployed and those at home station focused on supporting the warfighter, our operations tempo is high and will remain that way into the future.

Added to our operations load are genuine concerns from our Airmen about balancing the mission with the impending drawdown of 40,000 Airmen. The reality is that our budget must focus on recapitalizing and modernizing our aging equipment for the future while at the same time, we do whatever it takes to win today’s War on Terror.

The demands of these realities make it more essential than ever for Airmen who are already contributing maximum effort to ensure their time and energy are being used wisely. From the smallest tasks to the most complex, we need to take a hard look at what we do and why we do it.

Air Force Smart Operations 21 gives us the tools we need to shed unneeded work and make sure every Airman’s efforts are focused on work that contributes directly to the mission. The proven principles of AFSO 21 allow us to evaluate every process we do against the value it brings to the mission of the organization. If there’s no value added by a task, we can’t afford to do it – it’s as simple as that.

We are committed to creating a culture within our Air Force that gives each Airman the power to improve processes they are involved with. From the newest Airman through our most senior officers, we all have a responsibility to elevate ideas that will make the quality of our work and those we supervise better and more relevant to today’s fight. Our front line leaders are key to our success. NCOs and junior officers who lead work groups must embrace AFSO 21 tools and use them in order for our Air Force to become more productive with our time, tools and talents.

We are at the beginning of the AFSO 21 journey, but I am excited about the strides we are making. Already success stories are flowing from around our Air Force of even the youngest Airmen using AFSO 21 principles to make things better.

From the flightline to the dining halls, from offices to back shops and hangars, Airmen around our Air Force are discovering that using AFSO 21 tools to make small changes in their processes can make big impacts in productivity. They are using AFSO 21 to make their operation safer, more reliable and more productive.

I encourage each of you to seek out Web sites, news articles and senior leader viewpoints about AFSO 21 and explore what it can do for you. Find out how it can help you improve the way you do business. Take advantage of the AFSO 21 training opportunities that are corning your way, and turn those opportunities into action. Our Air Force is counting on your persistence, ingenuity and skill to ensure that everything we do brings value to our service, and to the nation we serve.