Air Force to radically reduce instructions

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced the Air Force will seek to significantly reduce unnecessary Air Force instructions over the next 24 months in order to allow greater flexibility and mission focus.

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In a room full of new Air Force fellows at the National Defense University, Wilson said the 1,300 official instructions are often outdated and inconsistent, breeding cynicism when Airmen feel they cannot possibly follow every written rule.

“There are more AFIs than we need,” she said. “Let’s not tell Airmen how to do everything. Let’s tell them what to do and let them surprise us with their ingenuity.”

“Secretary Wilson and I trust our Airmen will make the right decision, based on the values, training and experience the Air Force has provided them,” said Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff. “By reducing the number of Air Force directives we are trusting our Airmen and pushing down decision authority to commanders.”

The way ahead — restore readiness

The effort will start with the 40 percent of instructions that are out of date and those identified by Airmen as top priorities.

“The first step will target immediate rescission,” Wilson said. “We want to significantly reduce the number of publications, and make sure the remaining ones are current and relevant.”

Airmen can visit the Airmen Powered by Innovation portal  to provide input on which publications should be prioritized for review.

The second phase will be a review of all other directive publications issued by Headquarters Air Force. These publications contain more than 130,000 compliance items at the wing level.

Publications should add value, set policy and describe best practices, she said. They should also give authority to the lowest practical level to waive instructions when experience and good judgement suggest that is the best course.

Airmen will have the opportunity to be part of an Air Force survey within the next several weeks. The survey will ask for feedback on the most important instructions to rescind or revise.