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NEWS | Oct. 24, 2012

Transformation: Time to stress or remain resilient?

By Lt. Col. Danny Davis 628th Force Support Squadron commander

There is much discussion in the Department of Defense and the Air Force these days about transformation. Transformation or looking for new and innovative ways to conduct business is nothing new; it has always been around. In fact, for any institution to survive and stay relevant, it must continuously adapt its mission to an ever-changing world whether it is the military or your everyday business activity. The reason the word "transformation" has reappeared is because of DoD's challenge to find $450 billion throughout the next decade.

Effectively surviving transformation and remaining resilient are contingent upon each military member's ability to adapt.

Several years into World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill exclaimed to the British Parliament: 'Gentlemen, we have run out of money; now we have to think.' Due to the costs of fighting a World War, resources were scarce, so there was no other choice but to think of better, smarter, more efficient ways of conducting business.

Therefore with less manpower and money, the Air Force must find smart solutions to issues at every level of the organization from section to Headquarters and every level of each key process must be evaluated for efficiency. Yes, good military members are constantly looking for faster, smarter, cheaper, better ways of doing business, but that review takes place much more readily when budgets are cut and manpower is decreased; during those instances, there is no choice but to adapt because the organization's very survival depends on it.

The questions have often been debated: as we continue in transformation, are we at risk of becoming less effective as an institution? Are we in danger of losing our status as the world's greatest military? What happens when we have decreased our resources and cut manpower to the point that we have one Airman doing the work that two or three Airmen used to do? Will those young Airmen be able to adapt and remain resilient?

If you are an someone with a tremendous amount of responsibility and you feel overwhelmed at times, my advice to you would be to look for more effective ways to do your duty. Don't be afraid to speak up on how to reengineer; redesign or rebuild to meet the demands of the mission - that's what transformation is truly all about. The most prized possession in the Air Force arsenal is our Airmen and the innovative Airmen are the ones who soar and thrive in our environment, and in most cases generate the best ideas.

As you seek new ways of conducting the mission more efficiently, do not forget there is an IDEA program where you can submit your ideas and may receive a monetary award if you should find a tremendous savings for the Air Force.

But what happens to those who can't adjust to finding innovative ways of conducting business? Unfortunately, when one can't adapt, you may feel left behind and begin to withdraw from the crowd.

However, the good news is there are many resources for assistance depending on the issue you are trying to overcome.

Your wingman, chaplain, first sergeant, chief and unit commander are a few on the front lines. But don't forget about all the resources in the Airman and Family Readiness Center, which are available to assist you with remaining a resilient Airman or Sailor.

In addition to our Airman and Family Readiness Center; Fleet and Family Service Center for our Sailors; single-Sailor liberty program; the Single Airman Initiative Program, which specializes in programming events for our single Airmen are also available to serve you. Finally, remember a well-balanced lifestyle that encompasses Comprehensive Airman Fitness will aid with the stress of transformation and build resiliency.

Your force support squadron is charged with building a sense of community and energizing Airmen and Sailors, and they work tirelessly to accommodate your every need. If you have concerns that are not being met or you are having trouble remaining resilient with all of the transformation that is taking place in our military these days, please remind yourself that regardless of what may be hindering you from maintaining your resiliency, you can overcome it, and you have multiple places to seek assistance. The reason the United States armed forces has adapted to transformation and maintained its status as the world's greatest military is due to the quality of our most valuable resource - you - our Airmen and Sailors, so let us know how we can take care of you. But also remember that the military as an institution has transformed at every level many times throughout our history to stay relevant as the world's greatest military.