The Two Little Books that Could

“I think I can…I think I can…I know I can.” In this episode, I share some highlights from the recently updated “Air Force little blue and brown books.” These foundational publications are a must-read for every Airman, as they provide us insight into how we must hold ourselves and each other accountable to defined principles within the Profession of Arms.

These are some of the highlights I found interesting from the Air Force little blue and little brown book updates. I highly recommend all Airmen read these foundational publications in their entirety as they clearly and distinctly define both our conduct as individuals and as a team within the Profession of Arms.

A Profession of Arms: Our Core Values

  • Purpose – This revision extensively explains the Profession of Arms; Service Oaths for Enlisted, Officers and Civil Servants; Air Force Core Values, and the Code of Conduct.
  • “Understanding the Core Values is relatively easy. The true challenge is to live them. It is a commitment that never ends and one that always matters.” Actions speak louder than words!
  • Integrity First Sub-components: Honesty, Courage, Accountability, Humility
  • Service Before Sub-components Self: Duty, Loyalty, Respect
    • Respect must be embraced mutually by military and civilian personnel in all grades or positions and demonstrated in the everyday actions of all Airmen.
    • Airmen must practice self-care first to be able to serve others.
  • Excellence In All We Do Sub-components: Mission, Discipline, Teamwork
  • “The Why”
    • the Core Values tell us the price of admission to the Air Force itself
    • they point to what is universal and unchanging in the Profession of Arms.
    • they help us get a fix on the ethical climate of an organization.
    • They also serve as beacons vectoring us back to the path of professional conduct

The Enlisted Force Structure

  • Purpose – Provides a standard baseline to best meet mission requirements, while outlining foundational and occupational competencies Airmen should develop as they progress in rank and responsibility. It underscores the importance of character in each tier of the enlisted structure and clearly outlines standards Airmen must meet and enforce to advance a culture of trust, respect, and inclusion.
  • “A culture of respect and inclusion”
    • Value diversity and uphold equality
    • Intentionally build relationships
    • Actively share information
    • Give Airmen discretion when able
    • Facilitate whole-person growth
    • Professional communication
  • Wingman, Leader, Warrior – The individual perspective 
  • Followership, Leadership, Teamwork – The group perspective
  • Multi-capable Airmen – Mindset and Approach (Supports Agile Combat Employment concept)
  • Command Teams – Commander/Director, Senior Enlisted Leader, First Sergeant, Key Spouse
  • Airman Leadership Qualities (performance) and Air Force Foundational Competencies (development)
  • Mentor vs Coach – A mentor talks to you, and a coach talks with you.
  • Performance and Evaluation – “Overall, a competency-based evaluation system enables increased transparency and more direct feedback between Airmen and their supervisors. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to provide timely feedback on an Airman’s performance and act as a mentor or coach to assist them in maximizing their potential. It remains every Airman’s responsibility to take ownership of their individual actions and to actively work toward achieving specified goals and objectives both – personal and professional”