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View from the Top: balanced scorecard spells out command's vision

  • Published
  • By Gen. William R. Looney III
  • Commander, Air Education and Training Command
One Command...One Strategy! Just over two years ago, I challenged my senior leaders to embrace this goal. At that time I set in motion the Balanced Scorecard process - a management tool for our near-term strategy of recruiting, training and educating.

The BSC strategy map articulates AETC leadership's vision of where we want to lead the command. The map is more than just a "pen-to-paper" exercise - objectives on the map address unique challenges facing the command and help identify issues that hinder mission success. The balanced set of objectives ensures our customers' needs are being met through our internal processes while supporting the needs of our own people. When everyone begins executing the strategy map we all win.

In September 2006, I asked my strategy management team to cascade strategy maps to every AETC wing. The last wing strategy map was completed last month and we now have 20 strategy maps in all. I sincerely appreciate the outstanding support from all our organizations and their participation in this important process.

Now that we've completed our cascading efforts, maintaining two-way communication becomes even more crucial. At the headquarters, we communicate our vision and assess progress across the command through bimonthly strategy review teleconferences. In return, subordinate units must identify obstacles that need to be removed by the headquarters to improve performance.

There's a risk that communication, through the strategy map, will become one-way or top down. If wings are reluctant to highlight issues that block mission accomplishment, we at the headquarters will never be able to remove those obstacles or reassess performance goals. Similarly, good ideas that increase productivity or eliminate inefficiencies will never see the light of day.

While it's taken two years to reach this milestone along our strategic journey, we have not yet realized the full potential of our efforts. Our next step is to evolve the BSC into the resource and continuous process improvement (Air Force Smart Operations 21) arenas. Sir Winston Churchill said it best during the darkest hours of the Battle of Britain: "Gentlemen, we are out of resources; therefore, we must think."

We are currently facing the same type of challenges he faced in that critical time. Our budgets are decreasing and we must recapitalize our air, space, cyberspace and training assets while continuing to fight the Global War on Terror. We must heed Churchill's advice and think -- we must continue to improve and streamline our processes to ensure AETC remains the First Command.

You are crucial to these initiatives.  Everyone in AETC plays an important role as we recruit, train and educate. I encourage you to participate in our strategy process by sharing good ideas that will increase productivity or eliminate inefficiencies.

Together, we'll continue developing America's Airmen today...for tomorrow.