Set the bar high

Lt. Col. Thomas Johnson
86th Operations Support Squadron commander

I have recently taken command of an incredibly talented unit, and am
honored to be challenged with making it better. As with the Air Force
and America as a whole, the unit I serve with draws much of its
strength from diversity.

Not only is the 86 OSS comprised of a multitude of Air Force specialty
codes, but it also benefits from civilian and host nation personnel
that are very good at what they do. That doesn’t mean that we have no
room for improvement. One privilege of command is to reward those
over-achievers that conquer all tasks put before them. This is the fun
part of the job.

Our country and service also calls on commanders to weed out those that
do not measure up. Simply put, today’s Air Force cannot afford
mediocrity. Our generation is in the midst of a Global War on Terror,
overcoming tremendous challenges to confront enemies that pride
themselves on hit-and-run tactics that are cowardly at best.

In the fiscally constrained environment of today’s military, leaders can ill-afford to retain those that settle for average.

With end strengths, force shaping, and a highly technical service,
supervisors at all levels must establish a climate of excellence:
demanding more from themselves, their peers, and subordinates.

Only by setting the highest standard can we hone today’s force and
tomorrow’s leaders into the well-oiled war fighting machine that we
absolutely need.  Airmen will clear any bar you set for them, so
set it high. If expectations are set so low that no one has to strive
to clear them, then we are likely retaining underperformers in critical
positions. Underperformers are rarely the weapon of choice.

Don’t allow yourself or your peers to slide into the small minority of
Airmen that believe they can min-run their 20 year career and collect a
retirement check for the rest of their days. I say step up leaders;
challenge your troops. Inspire your Airmen to achieve, and when
required, jettison those that cannot be led.

The alternative is not an option. Set the bar high and the vast
majority of your folks will surprise you. So whether the endeavor
before you is an exercise, inspection, or combat task, set the bar

Our founding fathers, families, allies and friends deserve nothing
less. Regardless of whether I see you across the flight line, the
formation, the foxhole, or even on the fields of friendly strife, I
promise you I will do my best to clear the bar; and expect nothing less
from you in return.