Do your best with the rest
By Col. Joseph Prue, 821st Air Base Group commander
/ Published January 22, 2014
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland --
Just like post-World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and Desert Storm, our military finds itself in the midst of another force reduction situation across the entire Department of Defense including officers, enlisted and civil service personnel. To meet the sequestration mandated budget cuts, the Air Force will be implementing a number of voluntary and involuntary programs to reduce our force by approximately 25,000 personnel while still maintaining our combat effectiveness for the future.
As to be expected, personnel pondering voluntary separation from service will have to make some tough decisions and discuss the pros and cons of such a decision with family members. Topics that typically enter into these discussions include the current state of the economy, immediate and extended family locations, continuing education opportunities, and financial stability to name a few.
Amongst these quantifiable topics, however, there tends to be the unspoken topic of perception related to voluntarily/involuntary separation from our military. Some who chose voluntary separation may feel as though they are letting down fellow brothers-in-arms; after all, the military prides itself on teamwork and camaraderie. Some who are chosen for involuntary separation may feel as though the military no longer values their commitment and contributions to military service. In my opinion both perceptions couldn't be further from the truth.
First and foremost, our military is comprised of volunteers who made the decision to give their life when necessary in defense of our nation. Such an act of volunteerism places all members of our military in a unique category since only a micro-percentage of Americans volunteer for military service. For this fact alone, no military member should concern themselves with a negative perception of voluntarily or involuntarily separating from the service -- we are in rare company compared to other professions.
For those who chose to voluntarily separate and may be concerned that they are letting down fellow brothers-in-arms, I would submit that you will be missed, but by the very design of our military our strength centers around the ability for any branch of service to continue combat effectiveness in the midst of personnel reductions. Likewise, each military service member entered into service to defend our nation and in turn better themselves as a member of society. Infusing military core values into our society's workforce via service personnel is critical in building a stronger nation for the future.
For those chosen for involuntary separation and who may feel the military no longer values their commitment and contributions to the military I would submit that it is based on your past and present day commitment and contributions that our military is strong enough to take such personnel cuts and continue to provide combat effectiveness world-wide on any medium. From day one of your military service you have shown commitment and have provided contributions that will forever impact you, your family, your community and most of all your nation -- you are invaluable.
For those who endure the force reduction efforts and continue to serve our military get ready for tougher challenges in the future. Reductions in personnel and equipment coupled with increased military operations worldwide will surely challenge your endurance. The concept of "Do more with less" has become an old cliché. More appropriately, you will be asked to "Do your best with the rest," with the rest being what remains after sequestration cuts and your best is what has always been expected. For those who may separate voluntarily, take into consideration your ability to keep our military the best in the world when making your decision.