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May Chief's Perspective

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert McNeal, the 169th Security Forces Squadron superintendent at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, Jan. 3, 2019.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert McNeal, the 169th Security Forces Squadron superintendent at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, Jan. 3, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Self-examination and dedication to continuous improvement are foundational to success in life. Do you check yourself regularly and evaluate your service commitment? Do you welcome a fellow Wingman correcting you when needed? Let’s talk about accountability because it is at the heart of everything we do as individuals and Airmen every day. I have come to believe that our level of success depends directly on how we hold ourselves personally accountable.

I found two good definitions for accountability-

1. An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

2. Taking or being assigned responsibility for something that you have done or something you are supposed to do. 

In the military we are disciplined from basic training to meet standards that seem impractical to the general public. Learning our military history, customs and courtesies, and drill and ceremony teaches us that we are held to strict standards. These standards are exclusive to the military and we have to hold ourselves accountable to meet them. General Ronald Fogleman, our 15th Chief of Staff once said, “We are not engaged in just another job; we are practitioners of the Profession of Arms. We are entrusted with the security of our nation, the protection of our citizens and the preservation of its way of life.”

If we don’t hold ourselves and each other accountable then we create an environment where failure to enforce standards in small things grow into larger problems. I’m a firm believer that the best discipline is self-discipline! You can easily see the expectations of accountability in the Air Force Core Values: Integrity First-holding you accountable do the right thing even when no one is looking, Service Before Self- putting the mission above your personal desires, and Excellence in All We Do- being passionate about continuous improvement.  

In Security Forces, the use of deadly force to protect Air Force personnel and resources is among our serious responsibilities as Defenders. Accountability is an absolute necessity for good order and discipline, which is vital to mission accomplishment. We have volunteered to defend our country and are expected to be accountable to our leaders and the public. In short, lack of accountability is not an option. “Accountability is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable” (Moliere). 

As outlined in AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, leaders must appropriately recognize and reward those individuals whose military conduct and duty performance clearly exceed established standards. If you do not meet an expectation or standard, admit your fault and make sure you develop a plan to meet all expectations and standards moving forward. Those actions will demonstrate to your leaders that you understand accountability. We expect accountability of you and want you to demand it of yourselves and others.

In closing, personal accountability is an expression of integrity that is expected of all Airmen. Our service gives us clear expectations on what we should do to meet and expectantly exceed standards. I am so proud to be a member of this wing and serve with all of you! I see examples of accountability on display every day demonstrated in the missions performed at home and all around the world. The pride is evident and well deserved.