Eielson: Continuing the bold mission of making the best even better
By Lt. Col. Andrew Hansen , 18th Aggressor Squadron commander
/ Published August 24, 2009
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The mission of the 18th Aggressor Squadron is to know, teach and replicate the never-ending and ever-improving threat to our Nation's Combat Air Forces. The Blue Fox Aggressors support United States Pacific Command, by providing full-spectrum threat knowledge and replication to make the world's best Air Force even better. To be effective, each member of the Aggressor Team (every Iceman) must be on-board with this goal - to leave Eielson better than when we arrived!
As a new squadron commander, the first question I asked myself was; "What must we do, in the next two years, to keep the 18th the best at what we do?" The obvious, yet easily overlooked, truth is that today's best is only tomorrow's good or great. To stay the best we must continually improve individually and as a unit - we must get much better! We cannot accomplish this goal without the support and development of everyone at Eielson.
What must we do . . .? We must have a vision of the future - to know what the threats will look like 2, 5 and 10 years from now within air, space and cyberspace. We must then collectively develop a 10-year forecast, with near term goals to accomplish the tasks at-hand - remaining the best and staying ahead of all foreseeable threats. Likewise, we must know and implement well-recognized organizational and personal development tools.
1. Humility - as the great coach John Wooden said: "It is what we learn after we know it all that really counts." There is better "out there" - we must find and harness it!
2. Best Practices - look at what others (bases, unit, departments, individuals . . .) are doing better than we currently are and implement these methods, procedures and efficiencies. We must all, daily, fight the "we have always done it like this . . ." mentally lazy attitude!
3. Continuous Improvement - Getting and staying the best is a function of a million small (individually very minor) changes that we must stay alert to, take hold of and implement.
We at Eielson have both great challenges and fantastic opportunities. To be successful we must seize the opportunity of working with and being an integral part of the best. A realistic and very significant challenge (especially to families) is that we are again approaching the long dark winter. It is vital to our mission that all work harder than ever to make our home lives even better! We must understand the challenges of dependents and be creative in facing and mitigating these challenges (remembering and reminding - Spring WILL come).
Above all, keep in mind: If something is worth doing it is worth doing even better!