Why is hot water hot?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marcus Snoddy
  • 39th Air Base Wing command chief
This may seem like a very simple question and I'm sure you're probably asking yourself, "Chief, why are you asking such an obviously simple, maybe even stupid question? Everyone knows that hot water is hot because it's been heated!" Keep reading, grasshopper, and I'll share my answer with you shortly.

As you ponder my first question, and the possible reasons behind it, let me ask you a second, yet equally important question: Why is the night dark?

Before you start screaming about how ridiculous this question is, or accuse me of insulting your intelligence, bear with me a little bit longer. Ok, here it comes, my last question. Can you tell me what continuity and compliance have in common with my first two questions?

Continuity and compliance are two of the most critical components of our daily tasks. Without a continual focus on the continuity and compliance of our programs and procedures, we couldn't successfully carry out our mission-related tasks. The wing would be unable to carry out its mission: To support and protect U.S. and NATO assets and people throughout Turkey while providing a full spectrum of capabilities to the warfighter.

According to hyperdictionary.com, continuity is a noun meaning it can be a person, place, thing or, in some cases, an idea. I prefer to think of continuity as a thing because I see it as an almost physical being that lives and breathes within our units. If continuity is alive within the 39th Air Base Wing, we're able to expertly capture our successes and failures and share them with our successors when they arrive. Because continuity resides in every binder, sits on every shelf and attends every roll call, staff meeting or get-together, we can overcome high-turner of our personnel. However, continuity can't do it alone. In order to truly defeat high turnover, continuity must be combined with its partner, compliance.

Compliance is defined as "acting according to certain accepted standards." Without technical orders, Air Force Instructions and higher-headquarter polices and the expectation that every Airman follow them, there would be confusion, disorder and inconsistencies throughout our Air Force. If we didn't have compliance in our continuity programs, they wouldn't have any value to our successors and, over a period of time, would actually create broken and ineffective programs. In essence, continuity is the "Yin" to compliance's "Yang." Both feed from each other and support each other.

By understanding the relationship between continuity and compliance you should be able to answer my earlier questions. But just in case you can't let me give you my answers. Hot water is hot because cold water exists and nights are dark because the days are bright. If you lived in a world where there was no cold water would hot water really be hot? By the same token, if you lived in a world where the days were always bright, would nighttime hold any meaning for you? Hmmm, I wonder.