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People: Our primary weapons system

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Sean Jones
  • 6th Force Support Squadron commander
A famed military analyst, Carl Builder, once wrote that the U.S. Air Force could be said to worship at the altar of technology. We rely on technologically advanced weapons systems to provide global vigilance, reach and power for America and her allies.

Indeed, these tools help guarantee full-spectrum dominance across the battle space and significantly enhance the Air Force's reputation as the most combat-capable air force on the planet. While these systems are impressive, they're not the most important weapons in our arsenal...people are.

Our people--service members and civilians--are what separate us from other military forces around the world. The talented men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are our primary weapons system for three reasons: they're educated, they're diverse and they're team-oriented.

Education is a key factor in the development of our people. While many militaries focus only on training their people to accomplish certain tasks, we also emphasize educating our force and developing critical thinkers and leaders throughout the ranks. Not only do we provide educational and professional development opportunities for our officers and civilians, but we offer ample opportunities for our enlisted force as well.

Our enlisted force--often referred to as the 'backbone' of our military, is the most educated enlisted force in the world. We understand that the Airmen we educate today will solve tomorrow's complex and wicked problems. It's not unusual for an enlisted member to possess an associate's, bachelor's, master's or even doctoral degree. Without a doubt, education is a force multiplier for our military.

Diversity is another element that distinguishes our people from those of other military forces around the globe. The phrase "strength through diversity" is manifested everyday in each of our branches. Men and women from different backgrounds, cultures, races and religions work together daily to accomplish the mission. We pride ourselves on creating an environment in which each individual is treated with dignity and environment that values diverse talents and diverse thinking. We realize that each individual brings something to the fight.

The third, and perhaps most important, reason people are our primary weapons system is the ability to operate effectively as a team. With an active duty and a reserve wing, two combatant commands and other teammates, MacDill Air Force Base is a great example of a diverse but synergistic team working to accomplish the mission. Every day we witness soldiers, sailors, Airmen, Marines, civilians and contractors working side by side engaged in myriad operations.

At the heart of those operations are people...our primary weapons system.