Quality Air Force in an Emergency
The Air Force has challenged leaders to integrate and use quality principles as a way to improve operations throughout the service. In this study Lt Col David F. Bird, USAF, reminds us that these quality principles apply to emergency response forces----both before and during a crisis. He proposes that senior leaders view quality concepts and principles as a way of creating an environment to spark the highest performance by their subordinates and not as giving up authority or control. At wing level, the disaster control group forms in response to a crisis incident ranging from an aircraft accident to natural disasters. Quality concepts and tools apply to this emergency response organization’s plans, priorities, and the way it inter -acts with the many different agencies involved in a major complex crisis. Therefore, Bird expounds, senior leaders or potential on-scene commanders should see quality as a strategic, integrated system with a leadership style that involves everyone in the organization in controlling and continuously improving ways to stabilize the incident. Colonel Bird believes that quality concepts such as organizational vision, strategic planning, management by fact, customer focus, and continuous improvement can turn an emergency response force into a world-class organization. The USAF has recognized the benefits of quality management principles and has incorporated them into restructuring the service. The new objective wing embodies sound quality concepts and should permeate all functional areas in the Air Force. Hence, Bird concludes, there is a need for a new type of emergency response force that strengthens the chain of command, decentralizes power, consolidates resources under a single commander, streamlines the structure, and clarifies functional responsibilities between squadrons. He describes such an emergency response force structure within the chapters of this study.
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