The Air Force is Not Designed to Produce Good Leaders

The Air Force is Not Designed to Produce Good Leaders
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Being in a leadership position does not make you a leader. Unfortunately, the Air Force officer system sees it differently. We talk a good game, but the system — to include education, command screening and evaluation of commanders — is seriously lacking. Why? I think the real reason is that leadership just doesn't matter in the officer system. There's no accountability and no consequences.

Some people still make fun of the total force. Say what you will, the Guard has it right in at least one regard: Its leaders must sleep in the bed they've made. There are few “quick win, slash-n-burn, airman-crushing” leaders in the Guard because they are forced to think longer-term about the care and sustainment of their airmen and units. When command climate surveys come in, leadership teams pore over them to assess what they can do better. You want evidence that it works? Look at the retention rates in the active Guard.

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