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Why so many standards?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Doug Evans
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing First Sergeant

Why do Airmen need so many standards? Why must they read them, save them to their computers, file them, print them, post them and even bother to enforce these standards? 


A technical standard (e.g. Air Force Standard) is an established norm or requirement.  It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes and practices.  It might seem as if there are too many standards in the Air Force. There is the Air Force Flight Standards, the Weight Standard, the Physical Fitness Standard, and don't forget about the all-time favorite, the Uniform Standard.  Why on earth are so many standards required? 


Let's see... why we might need standards? According to a Washington Times article dated Feb. 4, "Air Force nuclear units have failed two inspections in the past three months, providing fresh evidence that the military service that jarred the world in 2007 by mistakenly transporting live nuclear weapons across the United States continues to suffer lapses in its management of intercontinental ballistic missiles." Has the Air Force become complacent in following its own standards? 


Standards, to me, are the metrics or guidelines that show us how things should be done and how well they should be done -- Be sure to torque the rotor blade to 120-foot pounds; wear weapons to the dining facilities on Kandahar; wear reflective belts after dusk.  Make no mistake, every day the men and women of the Air Force put their lives on the line to protect and serve by following standards.  Many standards are written because someone was either gotten injured or a life was lost.  Many standards are written to keep individuals safe and to clarify the correct way to accomplish specific tasks. 


The new 16th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy recently visited Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Oct. 5, and said, "We can stay the same or we can continue to improve ourselves. The U.S. military will always continue to improve."  In order for the Air Force to improve, Airmen must have a goal in mind, a target at which to aim their sight.


The third Air Force core value reads "Excellence in All We Do."  Airmen must not only believe this but take it to heart and start living it in all they do.  It doesn't provide an option of when to give 100 percent, but demands the best of everyone in everything they do and to maintain the standards, whatever the standards may be.  Develop a passion for continuous improvement and not only meet the standard, but exceed the standard each and every day.  Each person who walks into their workplace, whether on a flight line in Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, or the 62nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, must always follow and enforce the standards for that location.


In conclusion, the Air Force needs standards.  These standards have been created to help maintain good order and discipline.  We would not have any metrics or goals.  It would be like going up a creek without a paddle. 


The Air Force has the responsibility of protecting and safeguarding aircraft, weapons, and weapons systems with the utmost seriousness.  There are lives on the line and the men and women of the Air Force need to be kept out of harm's way. 


Everyone is encouraged to relentlessly seek, demand and embrace "excellence in all we do."  Our country, our leaders, and our calling demand this dedication from each of us to follow the standards.