General shares command priorities

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Despite the current economic downturn, the Air Force is still hiring civilian workers, particularly in the acquisition and sustainment fields, according to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

"We are not tied directly to the ups and downs of the economy," said Gen. Donald Hoffman at the end of a two-day visit on Tuesday. "You don't just park your military for six months or a year while you work through issues with the economy. The job of national defense goes on."

The topic of job vacancies was just one of several priorities the general discussed during a town hall meeting and follow-up interview. One of his goals for what he calls his "immersion visit" to Robins was to emphasize the command's five priorities. Rolled out at the AFMC Senior Leaders Conference, which Robins hosted earlier this month, these priorities are:

· Reinvigorate AFMC's role in the nuclear enterprise;

· Implement effective and efficient integrated life-cycle management to support the warfighter;

· Support the Air Force by recruiting, training, and retaining a high-performing workforce;

· Nurture and protect the command's people and families;

· Be good stewards of government resources.

Several of General Hoffman's comments during his visit and observations about the air logistics center related to these priorities.

"These last two days I've had the opportunity to tour a lot of the back shops and see a lot of the activity going on at Robins, (and) I gained an overwhelming impression of just how huge the operation is here," he said. "Another impression is how strong the community support is for the mission here and for those who work at Robins."

General Hoffman also had appreciative observations of the Robins workforce.

"I am impressed with the professionalism of the workforce here and its dedication to getting the mission done effectively," he said.

The general said professionalism is vital in maintaining the confidence and trust of American citizens. He said it is important for government employees to respect resources paid for with tax dollars.

"Protect, conserve and consume resources as if they are your own," he said, adding that while consumption of resources is, of course, necessary, the command must be do so responsibly.

General Hoffman, who leads a workforce of about 74,000, said one of the greatest resources the Air Force has is its experienced personnel, and keeping them is a high priority.

"If a person has worked somewhere for 15 years, it takes 15 years to replace them - not one day," he said. "We want talented people to stay; we've invested in them."

General Hoffman said the Air Force also values workforce diversity.

"Diversity is so important in executing the mission and positively motivating people to serve," he said. "Diversity is strength. Embrace it."

A big believer in continuous improvement, the general said he isn't a fan of the catchphrase, "Do more with less." He said it's just as important in the workplace to decide what not to do as it is to decide what to do.

"All throughout our careers we're told what to do," he said. "Rarely are we told what we can let go of so we can focus somewhere else."

Safety is also one of the general's focus areas. He said leadership has to be assertive to the point of intrusiveness when it comes to safety.

"We can't get our mission done if we can't survive," he said.