Updated: May 10, 2021
The Air Force is working to implement the mission command philosophy to enable decision making at the point of need as a means to accelerate the ability to adapt to change. This a radical cultural and procedural shift as the USAF looks to be poised to handle the rapidly changing near peer combat environment.
Interestingly enough, everything highlighted by the AF.mil announcement of this new publication directly aligns with all of the benefits taught in the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner Leadership framework. PMI-ACP elements are listed below, and other sections from the af.mil release about AFDP-1 are highlighted in Bold.
If you are curious to learn more we would love to talk with you. This is a huge change but has so much to offer the USAF. How to implement organizational change is another discussion but we would love to help with that too. Want to get a PMI-ACP course scheduled for your unit to allow you to collect the data and see the impact or just brainstorm organizational training ideas?
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· ACP is about empowering teams to run and operate within the guidance provided by the customer or product owner (Commanders intent.)
· An Agile team focuses on known strengths and self organizes based on project (mission) requirements.
· The role of the Agile leader is to serve the team and remove the barriers that are preventing the team from being successful (servant leadership).
· Planning is incremental and iterative with a continuously prioritized list of actions and tasks that are updated daily based on the input from the team and team performance (anticipate change).
· Communication is paramount up and down the chain.
· Agile execution nests within a OPLAN or OPORD framework and allows the team executing the task to plan internally on how to solve the mission.
· Agile Teams require leaders to trust and lead, not manage.
· Everyone is a player on the team and can improve. Feedback is critical (continuous improvement).
Per the news release the focus is that “leaders need to ensure that all Airmen – active duty, Guard, Reserve or civilian – understand how much they contribute to airpower.” (single battle concept)
The change with this new philosophy is to allow leaders to accomplish the mission while operating in environments characterized by “increasing uncertainty, complexity and rapid change.”
“To drive commander’s intent, we have to be very broad in our thinking,” he said. “We have to give Airmen the leeway, without being very prescriptive, to lead and execute while still meeting intent. When Airmen are empowered, they’ll be able to make things happen that we didn’t even think about.”
In the document’s “CSAF Perspective on Doctrine,” Brown reminds Airmen: “Leaders must push decisions to the lowest competent, capable level using doctrine as a foundation for sound choices.”
AFDP-1 also updates the legacy airpower tenet of “centralized control, decentralized execution” to “centralized command, distributed control and decentralized execution.” This evolution allows for a framework from which to develop new operating concepts, strategies and capabilities to address rapidly changing and increasingly challenging operating environments. This position postures the Air Force to execute what he lays out in his “Accelerate Change or Lose” vision: “We must focus on the Joint Warfighting Concept, enabled by Joint All-Domain Command and Control and rapidly move forward…”