Joint Base Andrews


Chief's Corner - Team Andrews and Team Resiliency

By Chief Master Sergeant Branford Edmonds Jr. | 11th Security Forces Group superintendent | July 08, 2011

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- So you have worked hard ... sacrificed long hours, even given more than a few CI Saturdays and Sundays. Your family and loved ones may have expressed concern that you were not spending enough quality time with them as of late. The huge 2011 Joint Service Open House event sandwiched between Compliance Inspection preparation and the CI itself, served with a side order of blistering ops tempo and no-fail missions has finally taken its toll.

As this article is being distributed this morning, the Inspector General's verdict is also being publicly delivered to us. For some it is or will be highly anticipated, well deserved and great news indeed...for others, not so much. However, all can say the feeling of being tired and worn down is an understatement. So what do we do now? Well among a number of things that must be done, one of them is to regroup our teams and demonstrate our capacity for strong resiliency. This is an important subject that has been explained by our wing leadership on several occasions and now the time has come to make it an action item.

Resilience is the ability to recover rapidly from illness, change, misfortune, and in our case "being hard charged." Furthermore, it is that special quality that enables the regaining of original shape or position after being bent, stretched, compressed and stressed. We must drive beyond mere individual resiliency and accomplish what I consider an even larger feat, which is "team resiliency."

Team resiliency is when the team as a whole can bounce back after being tested, challenged, wounded or diminished in one way or another. As a team, we have faced a huge gauntlet of challenges that make us a prime candidate to benefit from the endurable effects of resiliency.

I feel that the same degree of leadership intensity applied to taking care of the mission, should also be applied to taking care of our people and helping them to be resilient. With no adverse intent, many leaders revert to a hands-off, laissez-faire approach when it pertains to ensuring people get the recharging they need. They simply leave it up to each individual to fill their own recuperation squares, thus allowing team resiliency to be obtained through pure happenchance.

Because of my own personal life experiences, of the sort that I would not wish upon anyone, I consider myself to be a technical expert in the art of being resilient. My tragic experience four years ago taught me first-hand the value of a team resiliency plan. In the aftermath of that experience, it was my Security Forces team that reached out and directed actions to guarantee a successful resiliency process for me. So yes, I can say with authority that a strong team resiliency plan will be far more impacting than the traditional "see you when you get back" routine.

Today we can start our team resiliency efforts by celebrating and being proud of the accomplishments recognized by the inspectors during today's CI out-briefing. At this point, some must focus on areas needing improvements and continue pressing forward to attain and ultimately exceed the standard, others must now maintain the high marks already achieved. No matter your specific outcome or what category you now reside, we all know how hard we worked and can admit we stand today in a better compliance position than we were in times past.

Now let us regain our strength and refuel our engines. Leaders - please recognize the needs of your people and actively manage their recuperation process. Ensure time-off, use-or-lose leave, and other rehabilitative tools are effectively utilized. In some cases, you should direct recharge opportunities to better facilitate your team's resiliency process. Please make your team's resiliency process a deliberate accomplishment and not just a condition that occurs through the passage of time.

As I write this article, we are hard set on collision courses with the next big challenges to Team Andrews. We should be aggressive in taking care of each other ... before, during, and after the monumental events that unfold at this installation. Through leader-driven resiliency efforts, Team Andrews will continue to meet and overcome the challenges of the future.