Do you have faith in the system?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robin Johnson
  • United States Air Force Honor Guard
Major corporations pay thousands of dollars a year to identify shortcomings in organizational structure and personnel development. If they fail to do so they may lose their competitive edge. In the Air Force, if we fail to do so we risk our freedoms. If you've ever taken a moment to study "The Little Blue Book," United States Air Force Core Values, then you know Airmen are guided by some pretty high standards. The core values -- Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do -- are a road map to success for our personal and professional lives. It's a quick read, and if you're brave enough to assign a point value to the core value behaviors you'll gain insight into how you measure up.
The Air Force is undergoing transformation, one that includes force shaping, force development, force reduction and reorganization. And if these things weren't enough, we're bold enough to make uniform changes and introduce Air Force Smart Operations 21, a tool to allow even our newest Airmen to evaluate tasks for purpose and relevancy.
Centered on all of this change is the continual deployment and support for operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and any number of other significant events. If there was ever a time, we need to recommit ourselves to the core value behavior under "Service before Self: Faith in the System," that time is now.
"To lose faith in the system is to adopt the view that you know better than those above you in the chain of command what should or should not be done. In other words, to lose faith in the system is to place self before service."
You may be wondering why this is important. It's simple. Faith in the system has a direct correlation to attitude and mission accomplishment. When you understand the Air Force vision and the responsibility of your role, you are more clearly able to streamline and focus your efforts. Members serving in 1947 didn't have a crystal ball to see into the future. However, it's clear they maintained faith in the system, owned their processes and accepted accountability for development, planning, and execution. For every decade after, our great service has led us through change and challenges - overcoming them with great success. Change ensures we are investing in the right things, particularly those issues impacting readiness and our fight for freedom.
Faith in the system is not about blind loyalty but the commitment to something greater than ourselves. The successful legacy of the Air Force - now in its 60th year - was built on the professional commitment of Airmen with a profound faith in the system to deliver mission success.
So I ask you, how high is your faith in the system? Does your attitude propel you to seek clarification of changes or ignore them? Does your work ethic support others or do you only do the minimum required? Are you challenging yourself to be prepared for every opportunity or are you making excuses not to step up? Are you a team advocate or do you spend your time undermining team efforts? Regardless of our rank, roles, and specific responsibilities, we are all in this together. Keep the faith in our Great Air Force. It will lead to future success!