Get on your soapbox

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Steve Goetsch
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs
As a senior non-commissioned officer, I am constantly trying to improve my leadership. If you ask anyone who works with me, they will tell you I spend an ample amount of time on my soapbox, almost to a fault. I was just on my soapbox again, but this time it was to fill out the 2010 Air Force Climate Assessment Survey.

There is that word...survey. It normally directs Airmen to the "delete" key, but I wanted to give a shameless plug for the survey because it is an important tool that Air Force senior leaders use to gauge perceptions on overall job satisfaction, resources and unit performance.

One of the main rules I have for myself and try to impart on my troops is you can't complain about stuff if you aren't willing to do what is necessary to change it. The survey is a great way to do that. Senior leadership will do the heavy lifting; all they want from you is your opinion. How could you pass that up?

Invitations to the biennial survey are being sent out right now to 590,000 active duty, reserve, Air National Guard and appropriated and non-appropriated civilians.

If you received your email invitation, and deleted it unintentionally, major commands will be sending out follow-up reminders, because it is important to get the maximum amount of responses. The online survey is open until Nov. 28.

Although it is not considered a "report card" for your commander, there are unit-specific questions that can provide valuable insight into issues facing an organization that are affecting the unit either in a negative or even a positive way.

It is important to note that a minimum of seven responses is required for a unit's information to be reported in an individual breakout. If there is less, it is rolled up into the next level, which means it might not show the unique impact that issue is having on the unit.

Today's Airmen are being asked to do incredible things every day. Frequent deployments, many times outside of the Airman's specialty, can cause stress and hardship to not only the Airman and his family, but the unit back at home station.

The mission is our existence. It is what we do, who we are, but that does not mean that we cannot find ways to fix problems or find alternative solutions so we can accomplish the mission more efficiently. The best way to do that is hear from the "boots on the ground."

I can almost guarantee that there are many Airmen out there who are thinking to themselves, "what difference would I make." That is the great thing about the survey. Every opinion counts, and if the respondents are honest and take the time to answer the questions correctly, there is going to be some form of impact.

It is very similar to exercising the right to vote. With hundreds of thousands of ballots cast, the individual impact might be trivialized, just like I feel voting is a duty, I also consider improving my unit a duty that I take seriously.

Regardless of the end result, the investment is minimal because the survey is anonymous, and according to the Air Force Manpower Agency, it has been taking participants about 25 minutes to complete.

So I ask that each Airman take a few moments out of their busy day and voice their opinion to their senior leaders, because they are listening. If you did not receive an email invitation to the survey, you can request one by contacting the survey office at