Adaptive, Resilient Airmen

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Norton
  • EADS Commander
At the end of January, I had the privilege of attending the CSAF's Commanders Call for all active, Guard and reserve wing commanders. We should all consider ourselves fortunate to belong to an organization blessed with inspired leaders like General Mark Welsh. Last summer, CSAF published "America's Air Force: A Call to the Future" , which describes "how the Air Force needs to look and act as we move towards a dynamic future." The strategic vectors in "A Call to the Future" are being fleshed out in a "Strategic Master Plan" due out next month. These strategic vectors from the CSAF are very relevant to us at EADS and we will align our own strategic plan to these documents.

"The Air Force's ability to continue to adapt and respond faster than our potential adversaries is the greatest challenge we face over the next 30 years."

There is nowhere this statement is more applicable than in our mission. We have demonstrated an admirable capacity to adapt to post-9/11 challenges, but the threat environment continues to evolve rapidly with both new and resurgent adversaries (e.g. Islamic State, Russia) and new technologies (e.g. unmanned aircraft, social media, 3D printing). The following video, shown at the CSAF CC Call (as well as at my February Commander's Call), drives home the point about the challenge of rapid changes in our operating environment:

Our best hope of meeting these challenges is you, our adaptive, resilient Airmen. The CSAF's strategy states "Though we are often viewed as the service most associated with technology, we know that the ability to recruit and retain exceptional Airmen is the cornerstone of our business." In other words, it's more about the people than the technology. So true. We are stepping up our recruiting efforts to fill our ranks with the most capable and adaptive Airmen and civilians we can attract. However, unleashing the potential of those Airmen means that we are constantly reinforcing and improving our organization and its climate...doubling down on our strengths such as recognizing excellence in primary duties, promoting professional development, mentoring, listening and responding to ideas and concerns. "We must commit to changing those things that stand between us and our ability to rapidly adapt. We owe our Airmen and our nation an institution the can unlock our potential to thrive in the environment ahead."

EADS is not just a learning organization, it's a caring organization, which supports the development of adaptive, resilient Airmen. I applaud all the recent initiatives to continually improve our unit resiliency. The new Unit Climate Council will serve as an important forum for leaders throughout the Sector to discuss and elevate ideas, obstacles and concerns to the command level. I'm particularly excited about the resiliency training sessions that MSgt Mills will be leading following his completion of Master Resiliency Training in January.

During the CSAF's Commanders Call, we spent four hours in an excellent presentation by an Air Force colonel named Jeff Smith called "Enhancing Human Cognition" https. This content will be incorporated throughout Air Force training and education. The concepts are applicable to being both more adaptive and more resilient. Take a look.

Congratulations... our 2014 Annual Awards winners, recognized at January's banquet:  Capt.  Brad Dunford, Master Sgt. Amy Taylor, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Kent, Sr. Airman Kathleen Bielecki, Master Sgt.  Thomas Whiteman and Mr. Kris Dorfman.
A special congratulation goes to Master Sgt. Taylor, who has been named the NY ANG's SNCO of the Year, and Staff Sgt. Burns, the state's Outstanding Honor Guard Manager of the Year.