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Defining Time: The Argument for a Paradigm Shift in Air Force Thinking

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It is a common adage in the Air Force that Airmen are the services most valuable strength. Air Force doctrine echoes this statement however, it neglects to adequately define an Airmans most important asset -- time -- as the finite resource that it is. With fiscal challenges ahead, and a continuing reduction in the Total Force planned through 2017, the Air Force must manage all of its resources effectively and efficiently, carrying this theme into an institutionalized vision of time and time management. This institutionalized vision must include a definition of time and the organizations desired perception of time across the force. The vision must also explore the balance between duty time and personalfamily time to help Airmen cope with the job demands of contingency operations, physical fitness, and personal and professional development. Applying a Company Grade Officers perspective to current Air Force doctrine and officer development, it is clear that there are many job and personalfamily requirements competing against Airmens finite quantity of time. Without clear priorities or guidance on work and family balance, over the long term, the time allotted to duty requirements encroach upon the limited time available for an Airmans personalfamily life. With 42 of officers responding to the latest climate survey that they do not have enough time during duty hours to accomplish their standard daily workload, it is clear that the Air Force must take action across the entire organizational enterprise to more clearly delineate the separation of work and personalfamily time, as well as help individuals and organizations more efficiently use the scarce resource of time. This must be accomplished through a top-down paradigm shift on how the Air Force views time as a resource. The Air Force should define Airmens time as a finite resource, institutionalize priorities, and reassess the value of Airmens tasks.

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  • Administration and Management
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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