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Adaptation a survival trait in modern days

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Lambert
  • 573rd Global Support Squadron
Sir Winston S. Churchill once said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

If this is, in fact, true, I humbly submit that the Air Force is striving for perfection. From the birth of our service in 1947, we've experienced phenomenal changes in our equipment, capabilities and ourselves.

Today, our senior leaders highlight the importance of recapitalizing our equipment in order to meet mission requirements on the battlefield of tomorrow. Additionally, we've recently seen significant downsizing in our force structure and are feeling those effects now as we adapt ourselves as a lighter and leaner force.

If those initiatives weren't significant enough, our enlisted core is presently experiencing major overhauls in performance reporting procedures. These are just a few examples of change that we're experiencing now and hopefully we'll continue to see more changes in the future. Why am I hopeful? Change makes us better.

For some, change is exciting, but for others, it can be extremely unsettling and many aren't capable of adapting to new situations. I argue that the men and women of the United States Air Force fall into the former category - you embrace change. I suppose that makes sense. Isn't this our culture?

Relating this to the unit level, we consistently face challenges that we've never seen before. Be it new mission sets, new procedures or operating with reduced manning on reduced budgets, we continually face changes, yet we continue to mold and shape ourselves to succeed in the face of change.

Molding ourselves, adapting ourselves - that's important. I consistently observe the members of my own unit, undeterred, who approach every problem with an attitude of "I'm going to fix this" vs. "Oh no, what do I do?"

Think about that for a moment. What a wonderful perspective. Young professionals adapting to the situation, often educating themselves and their wingmen along the way and making change happen. Some folks call that professional growth, others call it mission success. I believe Churchill would call it "perfect."

In September 2014, our Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Mark Welsh III, in his Air Force Update, spoke about this idea of consistent change surrounding our primary mission sets. He said, "We also understand and embrace the idea that we have to do those missions in three domains now and the way we accomplish them has to change constantly to keep up with expertise changing in those domains and the technology that enables it. We think big in this Air Force because our nation dreams big."

Roger that. We must adapt constantly in the execution of our unit-specific missions so that we can stay ahead of the fight. I challenge every leader at every level to encourage your Airmen to continue to take those challenges head-on, undeterred, because our nation dreams big--is big--and demands our best. In the spirit of Churchill, be perfect.