Beyond the buzz(word)

Chief Master Sergeant Anthony W. Green

Chief Master Sergeant Anthony W. Green is the Command Chief Master Sergeant, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Chief Green serves as the principal advisor to the commander on matters of welfare, readiness, morale and effective deployment of more than 2,800 enlisted members of the combined C-5 and C-17 wing, providing worldwide movement of high priority personnel and cargo. Dover Air Force is home to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, the Department of Defense’s largest aerial port and Mobility Command Museum.


Have you ever heard someone say something over and over until it loses its meaning? Instead of embracing its true meaning, you get hung up on the buzzword. In fact, names for meaningful concepts can often become cliché. Eye-rolling sighs follow. “Oh, here we go again ... ” Understandably, it’s not the ADLS, Green DOT – you name it – that makes us excited to do the business that we do so well. Over the last few years, there have been a few new buzzwords that have infiltrated our military lingo. 

Although not a new concept, we have embraced “resilience” in our Air Force; however, if you are hanging out on the flight line, the mention of resilience training would more than likely prompt an eye roll. “Resilience” has become a buzzword - but the meaning behind it is so important! It is more than just a Wingman Day or a Comprehensive Airman Fitness program. It is more than just a block in First Term Airmen’s or a Professional Development Course. As Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright explains, without Airmen who can recover from difficulties, who are able to work through difficult times, we would not be the world’s best Air Force.

“Innovation” is also sweeping across our Air Force, and although we are discovering new, better and faster ways to get our mission accomplished, many Airmen feel the push for “innovation” has been fueled by lack of resources and a need for new ways to do more with less. Additionally, some fear that if you sit around thinking about how to do something differently, then you’re not working.  Some even feel their ideas are not impactful enough to really make it, or no one would listen, anyway; however, this isn’t the case. The Air Force, MAJCOM and base levels have incorporated Spark Tanks to ignite our creative minds, which will give all Airmen an avenue to think and dream big about new ways to solve problems. We have seen 3D printing ideas around base coming to fruition and a standup of innovation cells throughout the Air Force. The Air Force allocated $64 million in innovation funds for 2018.  Simply put, our team is putting the money into YOUR ideas and suggestions. Don’t miss out; don’t let your idea slip away! Dover now has its own innovation cell, so get involved, be part of the solution and help make things better for those who will come after you.    

For some of us older Airmen, “readiness” is not a new term, but it may not bring back the fondest of memories: long days in chem-gear and breathing through a gas mask while practicing all sorts of scenarios. Over the last few years, this type of training has been reinvigorated and expanded upon with our ATSO Barn training and recent exercises. Although some of us may have become numbed to the term “readiness” after hearing it so often, we need to avoid becoming desensitized to the significance of these terms at all costs. To be READY is absolutely necessary in the times we currently live in. The simple fact is, we have become very good at fighting violent extremist terrorism.  Now, we face a different front: a near-peer adversary that could force us to fight in a contested environment.  Readiness training is what postures us for just that.

Bottom line is, we often have things that become so commonplace that they lose their effectiveness.  This is where complacency creeps in, and we degrade our ability as a team to be the professional force that we raised our hands to be.  As Airmen, we need to get past the buzzwords and realize that concepts like “resiliency,” “innovation,” and “readiness” are more than buzzwords – they’re things that we need to embrace in order to face new and different challenges.  So the next time you feel an eye-roll coming on, fight to change your response, challenge the status quo and seize the moment. We are the greatest Air Force, so take these opportunities, and run with it. This is your Air Force, and together, we will thrive.