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Quality in the Operational Air Force: A Case of Misplaced Emphasis
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL
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The Quality Air Force QAF program was introduced into the Air Force to improve our organizational functions, outputs, and efficiency. Although quality has proven quite capable of reaching these goals in civilian organizations and the business-side of the military, questions of applicability and emphasis arise when QAF is applied to the operational or warfighting units of the Air Force. While classic quality principles of customer focus, process focus, and quantitative measurement certainly apply to civilian business, the unique military profession of the operational Air Force finds these same principles wanting when introduced into combat units. Interestingly enough, the quality principle that is most applicable to operational units, quality leadership, seems to be the most neglected. If we expect quality to succeed in operational warfighting units, this situation must be reversed. We must analyze classic quality principles for applicability to operational units and give more emphasis to the essential component of quality leadership. Quality, Operational, Case, Emphasis.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE