The United States Air Force became its own branch of the military on September 18, 1947. Just like with any branch of the military the Air Force is important to the U.S national security and deterrence from hostile endeavors. The United States Air Force is a large organization and has a total force of active, guard, reserve, and civilian personal. Today the branch has over 300,000 active duty Airman. Those active duty personnel consist of both enlisted and officers.
Working as an active duty member is just like working at a full-time civilian job except Airman (capital ‘A” Airman meaning everyone in the branch regardless of rank) are held to a higher standard than civilians. Every rank is accountable for their actions and is responsible for meeting ethical and performance standards. Professionalism is also a big pillar in this organization’s structure. Since professionalism is a requirement in this line of service, it is part of all Airman, and also what they aspire to perfect. The enlisted Airmen are the blood and backbone of the Air Force. They are the ones that do the grunt work and are the gears that keep the Air Force turning. The officers also work hard, and they are the leaders in this organization. They are essential in making sure the mission is given and completed every single day. Since it’s birth, the United States Air Force has proved itself to be the world’s greatest Air Force. This is due to the men and women who have come before and sacrificed their lives for this country’s freedom. This standard is also held by the men and women who continue to service today. Every Airman, past or present, is bound by the Air Force’s mission, vision, and core values. These three components are what make Airmen of the United States Air Force achieve higher standards and goals than the majority of the civilian populace. Under extreme organizational Quality Assurance Division, the Air Force is a well maintained machine that continues without any rivals in Air, Space, and Cyber Space. Positions held by individuals with over 20 years of service keep these traditions and standards without waiver or failure.
The United States Air Force is designed as a hierarchy. According to dictionary.com a hierarchy is “any system of persons or things ranked one above another.” That means there is the highest ranking person on the top all the way down to the lowest ranking on the bottom. The key leaders in this organization play a big role in making sure America’s national security is not jeopardized. The highest ranking individuals within this branch of service is the Commander in Chief (also known as the President), Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Chief of Staff. Each one of these leaders are important key leaders that influence life in the Air Force everyday. However, it is the personal who actually wear the uniform and service 24/7, 365 days a year that are truly the key leaders of the Air Force. The highest ranking individual at each Air Force base is someone called the wing commander. They are basically the boss of the whole base and usually hold the rank of either a Colonial or a Brigadier General. They are responsible for many things that happen throughout the base but they are mostly responsible for making sure the mission is being executed. Below the wing commander is the group commanders. The group commanders at a base are responsible for several different squadrons within their group. They are the middle man between the wing commander and the squadron commanders. They also report directly to the wing commander. Below the group commanders are the squadron commanders. A squadron commander is responsible for setting the expectations for the squadron. The key leaders within the enlisted force structure contains the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO). Senior Non-Commissioned Officers are important key leaders because they are the ones who have been serving a while and have a lot of knowledge to pass on. They direct and mentor others and help Non-Commissioned Officers and junior enlisted airman learn and grow. This is important because these Non-Commissioned Officers and junior enlisted Airman are the future of the Air Force. They need someone to set them on the right path so as their careers grow they can be set up for success. Next, we have the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). NCOs play an important role in the Air Force because they are the direct supervision of the junior enlisted Airman. They make sure the Airmen are being taken care of personally. Many people go through a lot while they are serving, especially the young and new Airman that have just joined. NCOs are able to be someone that these Airmen can go to when they are struggling because it is someone they know they can trust. Having someone who cares about your well being will go a long way in the Air Force, especially when the suicide rates are at an all time high.
The mission of the United States Air Force is “to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace.” Mission statements are important because they give a clear direction of what a company or organization intends to accomplish and also what their unique purpose is (Ireland, Hitt, 1992). Every single member in the Air Force purses the mission with excellence and integrity. Without the mission Airman would not have a purpose and a reason for what they are doing in their everyday operations. Everybody supports the mission in their own way. First, it is important to know that this mission was set up by the higher leaders within this organization a while ago (President, Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force, and the Chief of Staff). By giving this organization a mission they are essentially giving everyone the “what” of what the Air Force is all about. This is an important role because this is what every Airman has to learn and live by while they serve in the United States Air Force. Wing commanders tie into this mission because they have to make sure that their wing’s mission is following the overall mission of the Air Force (since every wing has their own personal mission). If it is not, then there would be no reason for them to continue their daily operations. The same thing goes for the group and squadron commanders. They have to make sure their people are executing the mission so that this country’s national security does not get jeopardized. Lastly, the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and the Non-Commissioned Officers tie into the Air Force mission because they are the ones making sure their Airman are prepared for service at all times. They hold Airman accountable and they make sure everyone is getting to work so that the mission can be accomplished every single day.
When it comes to an organization’s vision, this is where they are providing the desired state of their organization in the future (Kirkpatrick, 2017). According to the official United States Air Force website, the vision is “The World’s Greatest Air Force-Powered by Airman, Fueled by Innovation. Through shared values, key capabilities and upholding our Airman’s Creed, we continue to achieve our mission and aim high in all we do.” Through this vision the Air Force is able to empower and inspire Airman to reach the highest level of devotion to the job while they are serving in the world’s greatest Air Force. Not only that but it challenges and motivates them to be the best they can be so that the mission is always being met. It is also the Air Force’s promise to this country that all members of the United States Air Force are here to protect them. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force plays a big role in the Air Force Vision. He/she is the one who continually communicates that vision to the members that serve. If the vision was to ever change or be improved, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force would be the one who would release that to the public. Each wing commander also has their own vision for their wing on top of the Air Force vision, just like with the mission statement. It is important that they make this vision known (along with the Air Force vision) to those under them so that everyone is on the same page with things. By doing that they are able to satisfy the mission and build unity between their wing. Lastly, the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers make sure that the junior enlisted Airman live out the vision in their daily lives so that each one of them knows they can accomplish big things in the Air Force if they just put their minds to it. If Airman have a vision to look at early on in their career, then they have something to motivate them as the career continues to grow.
Last up is the Air Force core values which are integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. These values are more than just the minimum standards and expectations everyone has to live by. These values are important because they define the true identify of the United States Air Force. Every member of the Air Force has to commit to living out these values while they are on duty and while they are off duty. While on duty these values remind everyone what it takes to get the mission done. While off duty they remind everyone that they are still committed to the Air Force and this nation even when they aren’t in uniform. The nation trusts the military with their lives so to build that trust Airman must show that their actions are constant with the Air Force core values. The first value is integrity first. This means to do what is right even when no one is looking. One way to do this is to be honest at all times. Even when someone messes up it is better to tell the truth and be upfront about it instead of lying and trying to hide it. Next, we have service before self. This means that the duties of the Air Force come before any personal desires. The mission always has to be accomplished and sometimes members of the Air Force have to sacrifice their personal lives for that to happen. The last core value is excellence in all we do. This means that members of the Air Force are always striving to live up to the Air Force standard. It also means that they are constantly looking at ways to improve themselves both professionally and personally so that they can better the Air Force and their career. Every key leader in the Air Force needs to live up to these core values. There is not one person who is exempt from them. Every single person has a responsibility to themselves and to this nation to live out these core values. They are the common bond between all Airman who are currently serving and all those who have served in the past. However, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned officers play the biggest role when it comes to the Air Force core values. This is because they are the ones who make sure that new Airman that come in know these core values and also hold them to the standard. If Airman aren’t aware of what it means to live these core values out early in their career they are being set up for failure. The Airman are the future of the Air Force because they are the ones who are still going to be around long after these higher ranking individuals.
The structure of the United States Air Force is pretty straightforward. There are leaders all the way at the top like the Commander in Chief all the way down to the Non-Commissioned officers. Chain of Command is super important within the military and they utilize that so members aren’t going straight to someone that has no business helping them. It is best to handle situations at the lowest level possible. Within the rank in the Air Force there are many members that are key leaders to this organization who live out the Air Force mission, vision, and core values. All three of these components are important to a flawless, adhesive family. Whether someone is active duty, guard, reserve or a civilian they all play a huge part in keeping this nation safe. They do that by making sure the mission is being accomplished while demonstrating the Air Force core values. This is why people who are serving are held to a higher standard than the regular population because every day they are sacrificing their lives to fight the war on terrorism. Members of the United States Air Force need to be prepared at all times for situations or conflicts that may happen in the future. With having a solid mission, vision, and core values members of the Air Force are set up for success.
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