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Air Force succeeds through preparedness

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As I started to think about what I would write in this article, I constantly came back to the outstanding daily accomplishments that continually occur on this base and how proud I am to be a part of this wing. As Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, has stated, "we are performing miracles everyday." 

Since I took command of 2ROPS about four months ago, I have personally witnessed three successful launches; the first Delta IV, the first launch out of the Western Range Operations Control Center, and the historic, first target-interceptor Missile Defense Agency launch (FTG-02). I highlight these three events not because I am the range commander, but because it takes the entire wing's effort and a tremendous amount of planning to have a successful launch. It is quite remarkable considering we have squadrons with over 20-30 percent of their Airmen deployed. I believe these "miracles" are not by happenstance but rather due to the concerted effort and dedication put forth by each and every Airman. As everyone is aware, the Air Force is getting smaller but by no means are we less capable. 

In order to continue along our path, we must place our emphasis on upfront planning to eliminate waste and mistakes on the back end. The saying, "People don't plan to fail they fail to plan," will become increasingly more relevant in the future with our limited manpower, resources and money. The good news ... I believe we are up to the challenge. 

Although I've mentioned the great planning examples regarding the launches above, there is always room for improvement. As most of the base is aware, Vandenberg recently had a medical day on Oct. 28 to alleviate overdue medical requirements for over 600 Airmen across various squadrons on base. Why was this important to accomplish? For those that easily forget; we are fighting a Global War on Terror. The enemy isn't taking the day off or waiting for us to catch up on our medical requirements so that we can deploy to defeat them. For this reason, we must maximize the number of eligible folks ready for deployment, which means every Airman must be medically ready to go to war. Could we have avoided this situation? I say yes. I believe there was poor planning on every individual that was overdue. Did you know there are approximately  50-60 appointments missed each month? Over the course of a year that is over 700 appointments missed. We could have had every member who showed up on the overdue list completed within 10 months. This would have incurred no weekend work and attained the same result without the pain ... if there was proper planning. Instead, we created a burden on the 30th Medical Group to have their folks come in on a weekend to support this effort thereby taking time away from their families. 

I'm sure there are many situations you can think of that you've encountered at your job which could have been alleviated by taking the time to plan and then implement. Anyone come across a "Hot Tasker" lately? I often wonder after looking at these so called hot taskers, what is actually hot about this task? Do you think the same thing? I believe most hot taskers are not hot at all. A hot tasker usually means a lack of planning on someone's part that now has made the task hot. The result is usually a poor response to the task. If you're lucky, the task will come back again at a later date; or even worse, the input and comment, or lack thereof, results in a less then excellent outcome being implemented. Either outcome is not optimal. 

So remember to use the famous six Ps. Proper Planning Prevents P#%@ Poor Performance. Let's continue this wing's journey of excellence.