In the modern world the humanity is facing a number of challenges. These challenges are caused by a variety of factors, such as globalization, urbanization, rapid industrial development, wide use of nuclear technologies, and many others. The most important challenges of the nowadays civilization include such essential issues as climate change, environmental pollution (in particular, water pollution), rapid growth of population and lack of natural resources, social inequality, health issues, peaceful resolution of conflicts, human rights issues.
In the respect of each of these issues, the world today is confronted with many various emerging aspects including new problems to solve and new solutions to evaluate and possibly implement.
However, it is important to point out that the concept of “emerging aspect” is rather subjective. What qualifies as an “emerging” aspect to one community, can be valued as out-of-date to another one. The status of an “emerging aspect”, in particular, means that this issue is already recognized by a scientific community, but are believed to be insufficiently attended by the policy community and the rest of the society.
Today human actions have become major forces in the operation of the global world system. They increasingly challenge the system boundaries of the planet, which are going to result in fundamental, unprecedented and unpredictable changes in the world system.
The current situation in the world calls for a fundamental shift in perspectives and world views as well as a new paradigm to guide action. It calls for reconnection of the human development and progress to the capacity of the world system to sustain the development of the global community. This requires well-coordinated management on a global scale (Conley & Robbert, 2009).
It is time to review the existing policy and at the same time keep the focus on individual sectors, to consider possible perspectives, and to abandon the approach that considers innovation as “an element of instability” (US Air Force, 2009). The decision makers need to recognize people and societies as integrated parts of the biosphere, depending on its functioning and life-support while shaping it worldwide.
Generally, the global community is moving into a world that differs in fundamental ways from the one we have been familiar with during most of modern human history. This transition has profound consequences. It calls for the development of a new paradigm to guide thinking about the emerging issues.
Issues that have been considered separately, are now often combined into a common aspect (Markel, Leonard, Lynch, Panis, Schirmer & Sims, 2011). Instead of thinking about environmental problems, human rights issues, humanitarian aspects or peacekeeping as distinct issues, people realize that these issues interact extensively with one another. The vast majority of emerging aspects are products of these interactions. This requires the world community to re-evaluate old issues in a new light. It contributes to the understanding of what the new emerging aspects in the 21st century are.
In this paper the changes within the Air Force are going to be examined. The changes and development within the Air Force as a whole were due to budget cuts. Military leaders decided they would initiate a merger of certain independent squadrons and place them as a unit under a larger squadron to reduce total funding for bases as a whole. This merger would lead to many senior enlisted to be placed under a new chain of command and under those who were lower ranking than some in most cases.
With this new merger leaders will have to figure new ways of initiating a one-team concept between units that have never worked together before. All these workers have a different work experience background as well as different leadership styles within their respective units. The issue will be to integrate some form of team building between all the members as well as leaders with different backgrounds being able to cope with each other’s style and making the mission come first.
In this paper I will discuss the different leadership styles utilized by several leaders, and potential ways to incorporate leadership principles among all the members to make the transition into this new merger as smooth and painless as possible.
Development within the Air Force is occurring at different levels. First of all, this includes the tactical level, at which members of the Air Force master their primary duty skills. At the same time they also develop experiences in applying the skills acquired as well as the knowledge and experience that will produce the competencies essential to effective leadership. Tactical leaders are represented in the Air Force’s by the technicians and specialists (Dues, 2011).
The next, operational, label implies that personnel should be able to understand the broader Air Force perspective and the integration of diverse people and their capabilities to execute operations. At this level an Air Force member proceeds from being a specialist to understanding the Air Force integration. Based on a throughout understanding of themselves as leaders and followers, and how they influence others, the Air Force members apply their understanding of organizational and team dynamics.
At the last, strategic, level the airmen combine their highly developed occupational and enduring competencies to apply broad professional leadership capabilities. They develop and integrate a deep understanding of the Air Force missions and how tactics, techniques, procedures, technology, and people achieve synergistic results and desired effects, and also how the mission operates with inter-agency and multimedia relationships. At this level, an Air Force member is required competencies transition from the integration of people with missions, to leading and directing exceptionally complex and multi-tiered operations.
However, a number of substantial changes were promoted in the Air Force recently due to the budget cuts. According to the experts, the Pentagon is cutting a great number of jets in order to achieve about a half million dollars in spending cuts. That tendency worried the retired fighter pilots who addressed the Congress expressing their opinion, the Air Force was endangered. In fact, the political pressure forcing the Air Force to strict economy could potentially mean that there would never be enough money to replace 1970s jets with advanced aircraft to operate against rising militaries.
The Air Force grounded the entire F-15 fleet and later attributed the breakup to a manufacturing flaw in some aircraft dating back to the 1970s.
According to the officially provided data, the total number of the Air Force fighters has fallen by nearly 25 percent, from 2,477 in 2001 to 2,004 today. In 2001 the Air Force flew a large fighter force, counting 52 F-117 stealth fighters that were retired in 2006. At the present moment, it has 372 fewer F-16s and 263 fewer F-15s than in 2001, but 179 more F-22s (US Air Force, 2009). Budget cuts will definitely drive the total number of jets lower.
However, cuts in the number of jets is not the only consequence of the budget cuts in the Air Force. These cuts also caused a number of independent squadrons mergers. According to the recent directives, before state employees may be considered, adjusted populations must be at least 525 for wings, 140 for groups and 25 for squadrons. The commanders of the Air Force stressed that mergers of squadrons set the tone for the entire transformation of the organization. Thus, the decision was made to merge separate services and mission support squadrons into a new base level unit, the Force Support Squadron. The personnel were provided with basic knowledge of the squadron structure and the key issues within each duty section through the proper instructions on the Air Force evolution, leadership, and command staff.
Taking into account everything stated above, special attention should be paid to the styles of leadership, differences between them as well as to the advantages and disadvantages of each. Generally, three main leadership styles can be distinguished: authoritarian (or autocratic), participative (democratic), and delegative (Free Reign). Autocratic style of leadership was widely used by the veterans of the Air Force. It is the most appropriate leadership style to use when all the necessary information is available to solve the problem in a short period of time, and if the subordinates are well motivated. Democratic style requires an active participation of a leader in the problem solving. However, the leader maintains the full responsibility for a decision made (Afiouni, 2007). This style is normally used when the leader and the employees have separate pieces of information. This is the best way for a leader to make use of knowledge and skills of the employees. Delegative style of leadership can be used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. Still, the leader is responsible for the result.
In the reformed Air Force an effective leader has to be flexible, that is to use all three styles, depending on what forces are involved between the followers, the leader, and the situation. There is also a significant difference in ways leaders approach their employee. Positive leaders tend to provide rewards, such as education, independence, etc. to motivate their employees. While negative employers use penalties widely (Afiouni, 2007).
Generally, an effective leader must learn to diagnose others’ needs and to use a variety of leadership styles, and come to an agreement with followers about the leadership style they need. A leader is flexible and is able to accomplish four essential tasks: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating.
Leadership is fundamental to the US Air Force. Creating future Air Force leaders is the main task for the current leaders, and force development is their tool to accomplish this task (US Air Force, 2009). By using the organized approach of developing leaders from the tactical expertise level, through operational competence, leading to the most senior strategic vision levels in the Air Force, American military system will ensure its continued preeminent position in the world. The airman‘s perspective and core values provide the foundation for developing and nurturing the airmen of today and tomorrow. Through the force development framework, the Air Force will educate, train, and provide the experiences necessary to grow the future airmen and develop the leadership attributes required to meet the challenges of a constantly changing and extremely complex international security environment. Leaders are inseparably linked to the effectiveness of a mission; educating airmen with a deliberate process enables the Air Force to produce the requisite leaders (Markel, Leonard, Lynch, Panis, Schirmer & Sims, 2011). Leadership and force development will continue to provide the Air Force with its most valuable asset: its motivated and superbly qualified airmen.
While education and training are the foundations for an airman‘s development, experience is gained when airmen apply what they have learned when participating in the Air Force‘s missions and tasks (Dues, 2011). The Air Force lessons learned process provides a ready tool for airmen to obtain insights into the experiences of others, avoiding the difficulty of having to relearn pre-existing elements of knowledge hard-won by others.
The Air Force should seek out those officers who have a balanced style of leadership – those who can not only intuit well and rapidly, but who also understand when it may be necessary to search for theories that enable generalization (Conley & Robbert, 2009).