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Winston Churchill once stated, “I never worry about action, but only inaction”. Today as US Air Force leaders shift focus back to the high-end fight and try to invigorate their service to achieve these goals many have realized that major capability gaps have been created. <Read More>

These gaps came after our nation undertook a two-decade long war on terror and had to deal with dwindling defense budgets that have allowed our peer adversaries to surpass us. Our national defense is now dependent on how efficiently our acquisition leaders can quickly address these capability gaps with little budget relief in sight.

Unfortunately, and in many cases, the needed relief has been stifled by a culture of “NO” and fear, preventing or slowing progress at the speed of relevance to meet this threat. Now, as the service must press forward to become more agile, it’s required to do so with these capability gaps, which ultimately limit mission agility and effectiveness. Action is necessary more than ever if our nation is to endure a potential near-peer conflict given their capabilities and capacity.

As Air Force leaders head out to execute the National Defense Strategy one must ask, how much innovation is necessary to achieve the desired combat effects and how long will the service have to wait for the innovation? However, innovation simply to innovate, when commercial solutions exist which address the current service’s needs, creates delays in fielding solutions and waste resources.

As technology improves exponentially every year, waiting or seeking the “next best thing” can quickly become an endless cycle, while solutions which would have solved most, if not all aspects of the original problems become obsolete. When this occurs, managers feel they are being good stewards for the taxpayer, and sometimes this is true. However, there is another aspect which often is not addressed. The Warfighters tasked to perform the daily difficult task of ensuring mission success are still left to navigate their environment with the capability gaps.

For the U.S. Air Force to be truly successful on this front we must, as Winston Churchill stated, be worried about inaction. Program managers and acquisition leaders have the difficult job to shift from a culture of risk adversity and fear, into a culture of action and results. Challenge your teams to set clear requirements, manageable goals, and firm milestones up front, and then MOVE OUT! Our national security depends on it.