Back to basics leadership expectations

  • Published
  • By Col. Glenn Rousseau
  • 62nd Operations Group commander
The "Back to Basics" campaign has been used by the Air Force to encourage all Airmen to resist compromising unit and field discipline amid increased operations tempo. The idea was to ensure that we continue to get the job done in the right way. As a result of "Back to Basics," the Air Force has successfully reinvigorated its nuclear enterprise, strengthened the acquisitions program, experienced the safest flying year ever, and effectively projected air power across the globe, including Overseas Contingency Operations in two separate theatres of war. This is no small feat and can be attributed to the courageous leadership of our Airmen.

For all supervisors, this is a reminder of our duty to ensure a continued path down "Back to Basics." As a supervisor, we have a leadership responsibility to mentor, guide, teach, discipline, and care for all of our troops. Mistakes, no matter the scope, have always highlighted the importance of the supervisor's role and the far-reaching impact when this role is not properly filled. Leadership is a "full-contact sport" on and off duty and demands constant communication between us and those we supervise.

It is essential for every officer, senior NCO, and NCO to enforce accepted military standards of behavior. This is true whether or not you are in a formal command or supervisory position. By virtue of being an officer or NCO, our rank puts us in a position of leadership. History has proven that mission effectiveness is directly related to good order and discipline. We have an obligation to act when witnessing unprofessional or damaging behavior. When deficiencies are discovered, we are expected to make "on-the-spot" corrections and enforce the standards even if observed in other units. If necessary, the behavior should be reported through the appropriate chain of command.

Discipline is fundamental to the success in everything we do. Leaders at all levels are expected to enforce the basics of discipline, mentor as necessary, and show that we care about more than just technical expertise. As we focus on "Back to Basics," every supervisor needs to invest the appropriate time and energy to courageously lead their Airmen. Each one of us is a vital part to the "Culture of Excellence" the Air Force is known for.