AFMC Commander's Log -- Avatar Professionalism

  • Published
  • By Gen. Donald Hoffman
  • Commander, Air Force Materiel Command
AFMC Professionals, I use this term with deliberate significance. Whether you are an officer, enlisted or civilian, we have an oath that defines our purpose as a member of the Air Force. The duties you swore to perform had an implied element of professionalism. Our business can involve the lethal application of force and that requires the ultimate in professionalism, not only for those that aim and fire, but for all of us who train, equip and otherwise enable the shooters.

Professionalism is not something you simply put on and off, like a suit of clothes, when you go to has to be part of your entire psyche. Your life must embody professionalism at work, either in garrison or deployed, at home, and in whatever virtual world you participate in to include emails, texting, blogs, tweets, photos and social media.

Unfortunately, within this command, I have had to address several cases where behavior in websites, emails, social media, etc., has shown a lack of professionalism. Across the Air Force and Department of Defense, there are other similar examples. You need to be professional in all communications and engagements, whether you attach your name and rank or not. In any domain, we must not become unduly familiar or neglect the appropriate superior/subordinate boundaries and courtesies. Remember, we are representatives of the Air Force whether we are at work or not. The 2009 Academy Award-winning movie Avatar was on TV recently and I watched it again. Just as the main character played by Sam Worthington struggled with moral decisions in real life, he faced similar decisions in his Avatar role. He did not change his moral compass as he transitioned between domains and we should not either.

Our behavior both on and off duty, and in all real or virtual environments, needs to meet the standard of our fellow Air Force members. The mark of any true profession is that standards exist and membership enforces those standards. America's citizens expect this of those who defend the nation.