Cannon Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Commentary - Protect the environment - it's everyone's duty
 
Photos 
Protect the environment – it’s everyone’s duty
Leaders are responsible for our professional and cultural environments. Over the past few weeks, the Air Force has begun to alter course regarding standards relating to our environment. There are many time-honored traditions and symbols that the Air Force has carried on as part of “tradition” that do not reflect the values of today’s diverse team at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Senior Airman Alexxis Pons Abascal)
Download HiRes
Protect the environment - it's everyone's duty

Posted 12/18/2012   Updated 12/18/2012 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Paul J. Henderson II
27th Special Operations Wing Command Chief


12/18/2012 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.  -- Many leaders will never walk past a piece of trash without picking it up. That simple gesture does a couple of things. For one, it protects our physical environment, which benefits everyone and we all should do our part to protect our environment. It also reflects personal excellence and demonstrates that the individual will not walk past a problem, but chooses to correct the situation instead. That is a leader.

Leaders are also responsible for our professional and cultural environments. Over the past few weeks, the Air Force has begun to alter course regarding standards relating to our environment. There are many time-honored traditions and symbols that the Air Force has carried on as part of "tradition" that do not reflect the values of today's diverse team.

This culture has been attributed to a "fighter mentality" but I would argue that it is a much broader issue than that. Many things that have not been appropriate for a truly professional environment have been perpetuated or purposefully overlooked by organizations across the Air Force and not just in fighter squadrons.

At this point in our history, it is not a matter of pointing fingers at individuals or organizations, but more about communicating what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in today's Air Force and thus effecting change. Change is what is required.

If you truly subscribe to our core values, then you would agree it is not acceptable to promote a racist or sexist environment in the workplace. All Airmen must be made aware of the negative impact that inappropriate jokes or the public display of unprofessional material can have on individuals, the team and our critical mission.

Anything that promotes individuals as sexual objects or degrades a particular sex, race, or ethnic group is not appropriate - ever. It poisons the working environment, limits the potential of our highly-skilled individuals and reduces our combat capability. Even publicly displayed slogans and jokes that are not discriminatory can be inappropriate and reflect poorly on a unit as a whole. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure our personal areas and work centers remain professional at all times without exception.

It is not possible to list every activity and display that may be considered inappropriate. However, there are two simple questions that you can ask yourself to determine whether individual actions or displays are appropriate. First, "Does this reflect the values of my service, command or unit?" Second, "Would I be proud to showcase this behavior or item to visitors that drop in to learn about my mission?"

The ultimate test is not whether it bothers the individuals in your respective work center. Just because no one voices opposition does not make it alright. The ultimate test is how you and your work center reflect the values of our Air Force.

Airmen at all levels must do their part to promote and ensure a professional environment. That means taking care of issues when they arise - don't just pass by a problem. An unprofessional environment is a breeding ground for unprofessional behavior and counteracts good order and discipline.

Leaders at all levels must take accountability for their areas of responsibility, communicate what is acceptable and not acceptable and hold their personnel accountable if they refuse to comply. Change is what is required and it's the right thing to do!



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Cannon AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabTelephone Directory
Quick Reference Phone Book
tabPopular Links
Chief's Corner
LATA EA Update
Wind Energy Development
AADD
Cannon Clinic
Helping Agencies
Base Services
Construction
Hometown News Release
Contact Us
blank area
 
tabInformational Links

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act