Ready yourself

  • Published
  • By Col. Ethan Griffin
  • 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander
Ready yourself. The next threat, challenge, and opportunity surely come.

"Aim High...Fly, Fight, Win!"


"Willing and Able!"

Whatever your institution or unit charge, it belies the preparation of a foundation towards purposeful action. Airman, Soldier, Government Employee, Leader, Community Partner, Washingtonian, Fellow Patriot...whatever your brand, you have an important role to play in the unfolding drama of our day--have you readied yourself? Do you keep abreast of current events? Do you maintain "tactical proficiency" in your tradecraft? Do you read books which develop your critical thought? Are you progressing through your professional military education, or equivalent, to expand your horizons? Do you strive towards balance--mental, physical, spiritual, family, professional?

We have anticipated several defense threats in the months, years, and decades preceding. The 2015 National Security Strategy stated, "Violent extremism and an evolving terrorist threat raise a persistent risk of attacks on America and our allies. Escalating challenges to cybersecurity, aggression by Russia, the accelerating impacts of climate change....We must be clear-eyed about these challenges and recognize the United States has a unique capability to mobilize and lead the international community."

We stand witness to these, and certainly other, threats unfolding presently upon the international stage. Our service members, Airmen and Soldiers alike, defend our country daily against tyranny and terrorism, as recently reminded by our nation mourning the loss of eleven in a C-130J crash at Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan. We watch Russia extend their reach into the Crimea, test Ukrainian defenses, and deploy fighter aircraft to Syria.

Likewise, we encounter cyberthreats daily in foreign theaters and the homeland alike. The Air Force Chief Information Officer, Lt. Gen. William Bender, reminds us that, "21st century warfare has quickly extended beyond the traditional domains of air, space, land, and sea." Amongst other critical awareness efforts (e.g., National Energy Action Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month), our nation proclaims October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As service members, we use this month to ready ourselves in cyberspace by promoting education and prevention measures. 

We face less immediate, but perhaps more damaging challenges to our national hegemony. Our Joint Base Lewis-McChord leaders, such as Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, Commanding General, I Corps, are challenged with ensuring premier readiness amidst an increasingly resource-constrained environment. These leaders advocate on behalf of our service members, knowing that they alone directly feel the impact of resource-demand mismatches. When traditionally-provided services consolidate at enterprise levels, individual unit supervisors often bear the burden of maintaining commensurate readiness, training, and programs with less accessible or direct support.

At the 62nd Airlift Wing, Col. Leonard Kosinski and his team incorporate the search for opportunity into their unit vision, "The McChord Way...Excellence, Innovation, Respect." Flexibility and innovation remain the cultural bedrocks of our Air Force. At JBLM, we contend that challenges like resource-constraints can be opportunities for improved process, greater efficiency, and reassessment of legacy roles.  Our young service members increasingly recognize that more responsible national fiscal measures should remain a pillar underpinning our national strength and American global leadership.

So continually challenge your personal, unit, and institutional readiness. Quite simply, your life and our great Nation rely upon you. George Washington, Father of our Country and our State's namesake, knew well the value of readiness to national security.  In his first annual message to Congress on January 8, 1790, he advised, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."

Ready yourself.