Are we still a disciplined military fighting force?
By Master Sgt. Robert Rogers, 2nd Space Warning Squadron
/ Published June 25, 2012
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - -- Are we still a disciplined military fighting force or a just another organization with really great benefits?
According to Google, discipline is defined as, "the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."
The definition of the word military is defined as, "of, relating to or characteristic of Soldiers or armed forces."
Commanders, chiefs, first sergeants and supervisors, do your units meet both of these definitions? If not, why? We all like to think of ourselves as serving in the military, love and respect our nation, and certainly love our benefits.
Which of the two above mentioned definitions have we gone soft on, discipline or military? My guess would have to be discipline. I have been a first sergeant for five very different units during my time as a "shirt," and one thing I have noticed is a disciplined unit is better functioning and a more effective unit with higher morale.
Yes, discipline and morale go hand-in-hand. So, if your unit is one of the undisciplined units on base, how do you turn it around?
I can tell you it starts at the top. The quickest way to get a unit on the straight and narrow or disciplined track is to get back to the basics and enforce the standards already in place, ALL OF THEM.
How does your unit or shop comply with dress & appearance, addressing superiors, timelines and holding people accountable? This may sound like small stuff, but it is more critical to good order and discipline of a unit or shop than you realize.
If the leaders of an organization are undisciplined, the Airmen under them will most certainly be undisciplined. Leaders who don't follow and enforce standards are also doomed to have subordinates that are undisciplined and troublesome.
It was brought to my attention by a retired master sergeant in my unit yesterday, that I violated a standard when I referred to the senior master sergeant as "senior". Even though I meant it with the utmost respect, I still violated a standard and I will have to thank him tomorrow morning for the correction.
What are some effective ways of ensuring discipline in a unit? I was recently asked by one of the supervisors in my unit, how I would correct an Airman with discipline problems if I were his supervisor. My response to him was correct his discipline issue on his personal time, after normal duty hours or even Saturday at 7 a.m. I told him normal duty hours Monday-Friday are too busy to deal with discipline issues in the work place.
Nothing gets an Airman back on track like correcting them on their own personal time. It is amazing how that corrects the issue, but leaders have to hold people accountable and follow through. I also told that same supervisor that, "being a good supervisor meant doing what is necessary to get your Airman back on track and will sometimes take your own personal time but is still very necessary."
So leaders, I ask again, "is your unit a disciplined fighting force or just another organization with great benefits?"
If you're just another organization, I pray you are shown the importance of discipline and how critical it is to the effective functioning of a truly military organization. Bottom line, as leaders, discipline is our responsibility. If we want to be recognized by the public and our sister services as an equally disciplined military fighting force, then we have to start acting like it. Otherwise we are just another ordinary organization with really great benefits.