ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Increasingly Impersonal Air Force

Updated on November 26, 2015


Over the years the United States Air Force has changed. Everything changes, nothing is safe from the fluidity of time. The United States Air Force is the #1 super power in Air Power in the world (Top 10 Strongest Air Forces of the World, 2011), yet they are slowly becoming impersonal towards it's Airmen for a lot of reasons.

Where do we get our orders?



Modern technology and especially electronic messaging has increased the speed at which everyone can get information, but at what cost? Every Airmen has an E-mail created for them. Information is funneled down from leadership to each person. Bosses can give orders the Airmen they never see, because they may be on different shifts. Generals from thousands of miles away can give orders within seconds. The bosses you get these electronic orders from lose their face-time through this system, and it can feel at times like you are taking orders from a mechanical overlord. Electronic messaging can be a wall that weak people use to give orders that they are afraid to give in face-value, and people can lose respect for those that do this. Gone are the days of regular shop meetings and now are the days of loads of reading orders to yourself in your own internal voice. If you read these orders and not understand them, it may be too late to wait for a reply with answers. Telephone responses could work to resolve this, this wouldn't be a problem if the Air Force were not a 24/7 force and that some Airmen need to sleep. The technological age has brought many conveniences, but at the cost of self-accountability. If an Airmen does not receive an E-mail or act on it correctly, they could be reprimanded with an article 92 for failure to obey a lawful order (Powers, R.). There is even a regulation for proper creation of e-mails, that Airmen can be reprimanded for, if they format an E-mail incorrectly (AFH 33-337, The Tongue and Quill). There is simply too much information coming at Airmen on a daily basis to process. There are even reports of fatigue in the intel community because of information overload (Leaders monitor burnout among intel analysts)



Computer Based Training

The average Airmen is completely over-saturated with self-learning through computer based training. Over the past 10 years the Air Force has shifted to push the responsibility of training to an impersonal medium. Instead of hiring teachers and knowledgeable professionals, they have created click-to learn training modules for just about everything. There is no accountability that these people are actually learning anything, beyond 10 question end of course quizes that can be taken over and over until the right answers are eventually gotten. Continual training is done on annual and semi-annual basis at the responsibility of the individual and a group of managers that make sure the clicking has been complete. By the end of a year, an average airmen will have completed dozens of these CBTs and collected a portfolio of certificates. There is no standardization in most places for when these items are to be completed besides the usual "get it done before you bust a due date" mentality. Many career fields are shifting away from classroom settings for upgrade training and skill level accreditation to computer based courses that are similar to online classes with slideshows and self-proctored end of course exams. There is a push for "efficiency" with CBTs with the possible loss of quality of training.

Death by Slideshow



The infamous phrase "Death by slideshow" has become more and more prevalent in the last couple years in the Air Force. If an Airmen is called to a commander's call or a any kind of meeting, they are doomed to have to sit through a myriad of slides in a never ending chant of "Next slide!" from the presenter. The days of inspirational speeches from leadership has become a rarity, if it is not accompanied by a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation. Although this for of meeting is semi personal, as you have to physically be there, some of the time this is not the case. Hundreds of slides shows are e-mailed to Airmen every year that they must click through themselves. It's hard to say this is truly a personal encounter when the presenter is reading off of a slide and it feels like the computer is giving the message instead of the person. The whole encounter begs to ask the question "Why even show up at the theatre to see the slideshow, when they could have e-mailed it to us?"

All on your own now


Physical Fitness

10 Years ago the PT standards were a lot more lenient, and that is an entirely different debate (FITNESS PROGRAM - AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 36-2905). The modern Air Force has increased PT standards while simultaneously decreased the involvement of the units to exercise Airmen. Weekly, monthly and even yearly requirements for units to mandate mandatory PT has disappeared (Air Force might eliminate mandatory PT). The physical requirement of Airmen is rested solely on themselves. Airmen are trained in Basic Military Training the requirements and way to achieve them, but the actual continual requirement to be active stops there. The mandated physical training in technical schools, before the Airmen's first assignment, has been reduced or even eradicated. When a brand new Airmen gets to their first duty section they are often met with directions like "You are advised to work-out at least 3 times a week, but it isn't tracked". Monthly Wing Run's are becoming extinct. Sure no one appreciated mandatory PT, but at least it helped motivate Airmen to be fit. Failure to maintain standards is no longer the Air Force's fault but the individual's. Physical fitness should be the responsibility of the individual to a degree, but it's hard to understand why the Air Force is so out of the loop in the process.

Still the Best Air Force in the World


Even through the smoke...

With the shift of impersonality in the air, the smoke seems to fade into small gripes and little added stress. The United States Air Force is still the best Air Force in the World, and a wonderful organization to become a member of. On a unit level there is huge pushes from commanders to maintain morale and general happiness to cope with the stress of military life. Airmen may be required a lot with technological gain and budget cuts, but they are in no shortage of help through programs and support from their peers. The anti-social network technocracy that is infecting every facet of modern Western culture has slithered into the Air Force, but it can not break the rock solid core values of Integrity, Service before Self and Excellence. Nor can it change the fraternity and wingmanship that keeps this force social and cohesive.

Do you think the United States Air Force is shifting to an impersonal environment?

See results


AFH 33-337, The Tongue and Quill (n.d). Retrieved June 12, 2015,

Air Force might eliminate mandatory PT. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

FITNESS PROGRAM - AIR FORCE INSTRUCTION 36-2905. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

Leaders monitor burnout among intel analysts. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

Powers, R. (n.d.). Article 92Failure to obey order or regulation. Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

Top 10 Strongest Air Forces of the World. (2011, March 16). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)