Commentary Search

Applying Air Force Core Values to daily operations

By Lt. Col. Davis Maulding 2nd Comptroller Squadron commander

Many of you may have seen the recent enlisted perspective e-mail from our Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force on core values. In this e-mail Chief Master Sgt. James Roy explains how integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do play an integral role in our lives as Airmen day-in and day-out. They provide a basic standard for our thoughts, words, and actions and are an interwoven thread within all of us.

While we all know the Air Force Core Values and their meaning, do we apply them to our daily operations and actually fall back on them? I would say we do. However, we may have to tailor their overarching meaning to our specific duties and tasks based on our environment and how we do business. The Air Force financial management career field is currently undergoing its biggest change in Air Force history. The FM transformation has essentially realigned all financial document processing from the base level comptroller squadrons to the AF Financial Services Center at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. This realignment has caused hurdles throughout the career field. Almost every comptroller squadron has been hit with force reductions to help consolidate; budget cuts to manage within each wing and unfortunately, like many other career fields, an increase in ops-tempo and expectations.

In my change of command speech last July, I used the core values as the foundation upon which I built three additional pillars of interest. With Barksdale's upcoming processing cutover to the Financial Services Center in January, I felt it critical to get the men and women of the 2nd Comptroller Squadron moving in the right direction. While the three pillars I added can be associated with one or more of the Air Force Core Values, they each have specific ties to the way we do business in the comptroller squadron and how we will have to work hand-in-hand with the team stationed at the Financial Services Center to ensure success.

First, I described the need to focus on attention to detail. As financial managers, we are responsible for accurately processing military and travel pay documents for the men and woman of Team Barksdale, it is imperative that we process those documents with the upmost accuracy. With the new processing coming next month, it is critical that we check, recheck and if needed recheck documents to ensure we've done our job right here before we transmit to South Dakota for processing and payment.

Second, I explained the need for us to focus on communication. As financial managers and Airmen in general, we must communicate, both up and down the chain of command as well as laterally across it. We cannot change the way we do business without three dimensional communications. With all the change on the horizon, if we identify a broken process and fail to communicate that with our supervisor, as well as our peers, we have the potential to negatively impact a fellow Airman's pay.

Last, I stressed the need for us to focus on accountability. We must be accountable to our customers, our co-workers, our subordinates and just as importantly to ourselves. We owe it to our customers to process documents as quickly as possible, but to maintain attention to detail which results in accurate document processing. We have checklists to follow and we cannot take shortcuts - our customer's pay depends on it.

There's no doubt that our Air Force Core Values are an integral part of how we, as Airmen, perform the mission every day. However, I would add that sometimes it may benefit us to tailor the values more specifically to our functional missions. For 2 CPTS, attention to detail, communication and accountability will be keys to our success and allow us to provide better service to our customers and progress in our financial management transformational journey.