Leaders change, standards and challenges do not

  • Published
  • By By Gen. Roger A. Brady
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander
This was a difficult week for our Air Force. On Thursday, 5 June, our Secretary and Chief of Staff tendered their resignations to the Secretary of Defense.

Secretary Mike Wynne and General Buzz Moseley are men of honor and integrity. Their resignations resulted from failures in a critical mission area, one in which perfection is the minimum acceptable standard. While the reasons for these errors occurred over many years, their accepting accountability for our mistakes teaches us all a powerful lesson in leadership.

On Monday, June 9, the Secretary of Defense recommended to the President to designate Mr. Michael Donley as acting Air Force Secretary effective 21 June. He also nominated Mr. Donley as permanent Air Force Secretary and Gen Norton Schwartz as Air Force Chief of Staff. While our leadership is changing, our standards and challenges have not.

We remain the most feared and respected Air Force on the planet. Our priorities remain the same. We still must: --win today's fight...here, in the CENTCOM AOR, and throughout the world; --take care of our Airmen...we must be more prepared, better trained and educated, and have strong, well-supported families for the challenges ahead; --prepare for tomorrow...we must field the systems that will allow us to prevail tomorrow, and build the partnerships that will ensure stability and the success of future coalitions.

We must ask ourselves every day, "What needs to be better?" Then we need to set about making it better. We must see problems in their infancy, not walk by them--the Airman or officer who forgets to render appropriate courtesies or has an unprofessional appearance, dorm conditions that are allowed to deteriorate and with them our morale and focus on excellence, deviations in operations and maintenance that seem individually insignificant but erode our effectiveness and the margin of safety we require.

We are the world's most respected air, space and cyber force because our forbearers made it so. The next generation of Airmen will only wear that mantle if we uphold the standards they set for us. We better get at it.