459th ARW leaders hold strategic alignment, set path for high-end readiness

  • Published
  • By Maj. Tim Smith
  • 459th Air Refueling Wing

The 459th Air Refueling Wing’s leadership team met recently for a wing strategic alignment to discuss and plan the way ahead for its members to prepare and maintain capability in the future high-end fight.

Leadership plans to begin with furthering wing Airman understanding of the U.S. National Defense Strategy and how the wing’s current strategic priorities are the wing-level mechanism to support the NDS and its goals. Furthermore, the leaders are charged with ensuring the Airmen also understand higher headquarters priorities. The 459th ARW Commander, Col. Greg Buchanan, said squadron leaders at the strategic alignment proved they clearly understand what’s needed.

“I was proud to learn how individual squadrons are using innovative ideas to get after preparation and readiness in the case of a peer-adversary fight,” said Col. Buchanan.

The wing’s strategic alignment showed unit leaders that while squadrons have independent missions with different training and operational requirements, they can still fulfill the same components of wing and command priorities in their own paths, and they can even incorporate best practices from other units.

 “My senior leadership team said that they were most interested in learning about what other units were doing and taking tips and ideas that they were using for possible implementation,” said Lt. Col. Danah Autry, 459th Maintenance Group Deputy Commander. She said maintenance group leadership will be more deliberate in messaging to the unit for training.

The 459th ARW Vice Commander, Col. Janette Thode, said we start with our first priority, which is to create an environment where airmen can thrive. That’s done via good management of resources, money, and training, she said. “We’ve got to improve pay and travel, and our workplace culture,” said Thode.

Wing first sergeants are on the frontline of workplace culture. They help Airmen successfully manage their military service, and are key to improving unit morale and stability. They talk to the Airmen and can convey what Airmen say they need to effectively carry out their tasks and responsibilities in their units.

“The First Sergeants role in the outcome of the Strategic Alignment is to carry forward with helping produce the combat ready force and ensure Airman are capable of competing in the high end fight,” said Master Sgt. Alicia Lofton, 459th Air Refueling Wing First Sergeant. “A First Sergeant’s responsibility is to know their units people, people are their business, but they’re also charged with understanding and knowing the wing’s mission and operation, and staying attuned to members needs to help them be combat mission ready.”

Along with Airmen understanding their role in the current strategy, leadership across the board will ensure the wing’s strategic priorities are the lens through which they plan future training initiatives and exercises to promote total synchronization of effort and focus toward preparation for the future high-end fight.