Change equals opportunity

  • Published
  • By Maj Donald Bartholomew
  • 97th Security Forces Squadron
We all find ourselves at a point in our Air Force careers where we will see change. If you choose to make it so, those changes will be for the better. Leaders within the Air Force will guide us toward establishing and maintaining combat readiness necessities to meet our mission's needs while ensuring national security objectives are met. The decisions necessary to make that successful will require changes in areas that will affect us as Airmen. Although some may see changes as burdensome, I see these as venues for opportunity that can lead to success for both the Air Force and the Airmen that serve it.

The mission of the Air Force is not going away. As adjustments to the enlisted and officer ranks occur, the needs of the mission will not. This means many of us will receive opportunities to serve and lead in roles earlier and more often than what might have been possible just a few years ago. There will be more positions where an NCO slot will be filled by junior NCOs and it will become increasingly common for Airmen to train others instead of an NCO.

I know of an instructor pilot who reached his training certification several years before he initially expected. I myself am a product of a force-shaping board as a lieutenant and then again as part of a reduction-in-force a few years later. Cuts to my year group and other changes afforded me an opportunity to be a squadron commander before I pinned on the rank of major. I have no doubts that many more opportunities to excel will follow for all service members in the years to come.

What will you do with that opportunity? If a senior airman was put in a leadership position and took advantage of that opportunity, there would not only be benefits to that role, but experience would lead to even more opportunities later as an NCO. Conversely, if the opportunity is squandered, it is likely that future opportunities will no longer exist or at least be greatly inhibited.

Now, I don't profess to know where all of these opportunities will come from or what they will be, but I liken some of the future AF changes to changes we make in our own lives. Did you ever want a new car or perhaps a bigger one as your family is growing? Your needs in one area will be by sacrificing other areas.

Change is for the better, I just hope I do my part to facilitate and make the most of the opportunities. I challenge everyone to do the same so that we may maintain what is unquestionably the world's greatest Air Force.