Ownership: Units, processes, self

  • Published
  • By Capt. John-Paul P. Adrian
  • 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron
Ownership is at the core of a majority of our successes and failures - in the military, professional careers and our personal lives.  Ownership remains at the core of these ebbs and flows. 

Ownership is the state or fact of possessing something as your own.  It is personal to an individual, has attachment and meaning. In the military, ownership takes on a further element - the choice to adopt something as your own; it means caring enough about it to associate it with yourself directly and putting in the extra investments of time and effort to make it better for everyone else in the unit and the installation. 

We may find ourselves in a unit or job that does not fit our personality.  We may find ourselves as a cog in a broken or overly bureaucratic process.  We may find ourselves in a situation where we know the "easy way out" and can see how to access it without anyone the wiser.  We may find ourselves in one of these scenarios throughout our careers and lives.  It is easy to be discontent, complain and separate ourselves from the situation because it's not us that caused the issue; it's "them."  The "them" means being any other individual but "us."

There are lots of examples of Airmen (active-duty, civilians, contractors and family) choosing ownership each day and making a difference through this choice.  Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing are owning their mission as members of fly-away security details every day. These Airmen are flying into dangerous airfields while simultaneously providing feedback to their unit and training centers about new procedures and tactics for use in-field, thereby looking out for future Airmen traveling to these locations and developing standard operating procedures. 

Airmen are looking out for their unit members everyday by helping them and their families upon their arrival in Germany; providing information about their new home and tips for success.  Airmen are innovating each day with new and improved processes, cutting expenses, shortening wait times and leveraging technology in new ways.

If we make the choice and put forth the effort to own these scenarios and situations then we are making the decision to participate. This participation and movement is essential to precipitate change.  Ownership changes a unit into a military family, a broken process into an opportunity for improvement and an uncomfortable situation into a chance to build and display strength of character.

Our challenge as Airmen, and as members of the U.S. military, is to make the choice of ownership.  It's from here that we can make a difference in our surroundings and those surrounding us.