Words, deeds vital to Air Force success

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. TODD MURPHEY
  • 310th Fighter Squadron
I had a hard time finding a topic for this article, so I went to the Air Force Times to see the latest headlines. Two items I found that seemed unrelated popped out at me.

The first was the release of Air Force Doctrine Document 1. This was the first revision in eight years. The second was the headline of four Marines defiling Taliban corpses. The events seemed unrelated until I looked through AFDD 1 and noticed a couple notable changes.

The first change was the addition of "Additional Principles of Operations." One of these additional principles is restraint.

AFDD 1 defines restraint as the disciplined application of military force appropriate to the situation. While this has always been a part of the Law of Armed Conflict and taught to every Airman, the Air Force leadership considered it now important enough to add to our overarching doctrine.

AFDD 1 goes on to state, "ROE for contingency operations often are more restrictive, detailed and sensitive to political concerns than in sustained combat operations."

Additionally, AFDD 1 renamed operational functions to core functions and redefined the list of functions.

One of the new core functions is "Building Partnerships." AFDD 1 defines building partnerships as Airmen interacting with international airmen and other relevant actors to develop, guide and sustain relationships for mutual benefit and security. It goes on to say, "Through both words and deeds, the majority of interaction is devoted to building trust-based relationships for mutual benefit." Additionally, AFDD 1 states, "It is also the ability to develop and present information to foreign adversary audiences to affect their perceptions, will, behavior and capabilities in order to further U.S. national security and/or shared global security interests."

The blogs are buzzing about the actions of the Marines in this case. Some say, "war is hell." Others say their actions were terrible and tarnish the image of the military and the Marines. However, Airmen will not find the lesson by judging the Marines' actions.

Instead, we must recognize that the actions of the individual can have strategic impact. While most of us focus on the daily mission at the tactical level, it is important to remember that our actions, in the air or on the ground, may also have strategic implications.

Just as bombs on target contribute to the overall strategy to win, each individual's "words and deeds" are equally critical to success. Air Force leadership considers these principles important enough to include in our overarching doctrine.

Remember: we Fly, Fight, and Win -- but winning includes more than flying and fighting