Joint Base Charleston


This is stupid … and it’s all your fault

By Capt. Michael Busse | 16th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing | September 26, 2012

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Much like a groundskeeper understands the intricacies of their golf course, it is you, the Airman, who knows and appreciates the intricacies of your office. You are responsible for watering the grass, maintaining the greens, shaping the tee boxes and even removing gophers. Yes indeed, you are to the Air Force as Bill Murray is to "Caddyshack" ... somewhat.

With classic 1980s movie references out of the way, let's get to the point. We have all uttered those three words found in the title of this article ... "This is stupid. Why do we do things this way?"

As a large organization, the Air Force has a way of clinging to antiquated processes. Your goal, your duty, is to rid your shop of these cumbersome processes that detract from the mission. With impending budgetary constraints along with the possibility of reduced manpower, your innovative ideas and initiative are paramount to effectively accomplishing our mission.

Consider the following questions: Can we do this quicker? Can we do this cheaper? Can we do this safer? Can we do this more effectively? Does your solution positively impact the mission or does it save time?

Not all ideas will be perfect, but they will trigger solutions as others analyze and implement them.

Some ideas may be adopted in part, or in full. Some may be adopted as a conglomerate, helping other career fields. However, the basic brainstorming and constant "how can we fix this" mentality should always influence your processes. Rid yourself of the "that's how it's always been done" mindset and formulate modern ideas. We are all leaders and innovators, regardless of rank, duty title or time in service. Your superiors, subordinates and fellow Joint Base Charleston members are relying on your initiative. So the next time you say "this is stupid," your duty is to fix it.

So how do you do this? First, identify inefficient processes that need improvement or need to be eliminated.

Now, apply your experiences and expertise to develop a solution and an implementation plan. This is where you can be creative. With an instinctive tech-based culture, many Airmen are already adept at manipulating smartphone and tablet applications. Now is the time to harness that technology in the workplace. Any improvements using a tech-based methodology can be submitted through the 437th Airlift Wing's Technological Innovation Group, available through Global Reach on your computer at Whether you are from the 437th AW or the 628th Air Base Wing, your ideas, submitted through the TIG, will be transitioned to industry standards, permitting you and your co-workers to work more efficiently. Anything non-tech related should be routed through your respective leadership.

New ideas and processes, all vetted through the TIG, are considered by the 437th AW vice commander for implementation. Results thus far have saved JB Charleston more than $600,000 and most ideas have come from young Airmen below the rank of staff sergeant.

So, if you've read this far and think you don't have a voice, you're wrong. Exercise your talents and utilize your personality to shape the future of JB Charleston and potentially introduce Air Force-wide changes. There has never been a more suitable and appropriate time for your innovative ideas. Our mission depends on it!

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