Today I would like to tell you about the 12th CMSAF Eric W. Benken and his goals and issue’s for today’s Air Force, and how his goals affect the readiness of our enlisted force. Chief Benken was inducted as CMSAF on November 5, 1996, by General Fogelman after a distinguished 26 year career. He visit’s 54 countries addressing issues for the enlisted force that he intern addresses to Congress. Chief Benken’s goals are one’s that affect the readiness of the enlisted force.
He stated that “We need to keep up with, and move into the 21st century by learning to abide by Core Values, and keeping up with quality of life issues.” Let us begin by talking about Core Values.
Core Values may seem like they don’t or shouldn’t apply to some people for whatever reason. We should abide by them because, it’s the foundation of our service. We should live by them, believe in them, and instill them into our troops.
The first Core Value is integrity, which is being honest with yourself at all times, even when nobody is looking. Military personnel with integrity will always do what is right, and not just out of fear of being caught, but because they know it’s wrong. The second Core Value is service before self, is putting your needs and wants aside to get the mission accomplished. Your needs may conflict with the interest of the government, but our job is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We must be ready at a moment’s notice. Last, but definitely still important, is excellence in all we do. America’s trust the military to protect out national security and interests, and especially each other’s son’s, daughters, husband’s, and wives, fighting for our country. If we fall short of 100% in excellence, the mission is in jeopardy, and people’s lives are in danger, which affects the AF’s readiness? For Chief Benken’s second important issue, let us move on to quality of life issues.
There are three main quality of life issues that the enlisted force is concerned about: compensation & benefits, health care, and housing issues. Our benefits are the #1 quality of life issue which impacts our standard of living. Chief Benken hopes to meet the civilian sector’s increasing pay in accordance with inflation as funding allows. One increase that was made was the Family Separation allowance from $75.00 to $100.00. When it comes to money, it may be small steps, but it is still better than nothing. Next is health care, which is the #2 non-pay priority of the enlisted force. Tricare and Health and Wellness centers were started to assist in the drawdowns to reach out to the largest percentage of military personnel still fighting for our country. As far as housing goes, we see improvements going on everyday. Dorms are going to single room occupancy, with more privacy, and we no longer have central latrines. Base housing 35 year old plus houses is being renovated. According to Chied Benken, these issues are ” Our most pressing, urgent quality of life, military construction requirement right now, going into the 21st century.”
If we are not upholding our Core of Values, then why have a structured, disciplined military? If nobody cares about our quality of life issues, and we chose to leave the military for the civilian sector because we can find a better job, then we have a problem. That’s why Chief Benken’s goals are important, to keep up our quality of life standards, which keeps our mind on the job, and improves the Air Force’s readiness capabilities. If our mind is not on our job, and we’re only giving 99.9%, that is not good enough for our enlisted core, and it’s not good enough for the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Eric W. Benken.