Revitalizing the Squadron: Progress and Next Steps

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Bulson
  • 821st Support Squadron
As most Airmen are aware, the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, announced an effort to revitalize the squadron as the core fighting unit in the Air Force.

As Goldfein described it “the squadron is the beating heart of the United States Air Force; our most essential team.”

What responsibility do we have as leaders to help enact this change?
Peeling back additional duties and beefing up the command support staff isn’t the key goal behind revitalizing the squadron. It’s about rebuilding a sense of pride and accomplishment in every unit in knowing that we are directly responsible for developing our Airmen, creating an effective team, and constantly improving our readiness as we execute our respective missions.

While creating and maintaining that environment does fall to all levels of squadron leadership in their day-to-day activities, there are also opportunities for individuals to share their ideas on how to improve the squadron Air Force wide.

After Goldfein announced his first focus area, he established a Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons team, headed by Brig. Gen. Stephen Davis, Air Force Manpower, Organization and Resources director. This team has already visited 12 bases and interviewed over 1,000 Airmen to look at how different organizations support their squadrons in accomplishing their missions. As they visit another 12 bases before the end of August, their goal is to identify best practices that empower and better prepare our squadron leadership teams.

However, since the majority of Airmen won’t get a chance to provide face-to-face input to the team, a crowdsourcing, idea website has also been established to enable direct feedback from the field.

The idea is for Airmen to offer their insight on identified challenges through online voting, commenting, and sharing, with the most popular ideas being brought back to Davis. The Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons Idea Site can be found at

Reviewing the ideas and comments on this site reminded me that our people are very passionate about expressing their thoughts on two of the current challenges: core mission focus and squadron identity, and heritage and pride.

Airmen are submitting hundreds of votes and comments on everything from Air Force Instructions and evaluation and awards programs to adopting Operational Camouflage Pattern uniforms or bringing back patches and squadron ball caps. I would encourage you to visit the site and offer your thoughts to help give the Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons team a more representative view of the issues and potential solutions to make our squadrons better.

Goldfein has set his eye on our squadrons, identified some problems and aligned resources in less than 10 months.

We each need to do the same at the squadron level; come up with our own focus areas, be innovative to get us to our goals and work as a team to make our units better. The past year at Thule Air Base, Greenland, has been a wonderful experience. I’m proud to have seen a collection of Airmen come together from various functional backgrounds to build a cohesive team that is dedicated to a focused mission. I’ll strive to replicate this feeling of pride, mission accomplishment and camaraderie in my future squadrons, knowing that our strength at the unit level will build a stronger Air Force for the future.