Just days after Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, told a National Guard audience in New Orleans the service was taking an ax to unnecessary instructions, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said 226 of them have been cut down.
She told Air Force Times in an interview last week the instructions that have fallen included 4,795 individual rules that are now out the window.
“That’s a big deal,” she told the publication. “In my experience with the airmen, it is the one thing that consistently gets spontaneous applause.”
Goldfein received applause when he mentioned it at the 140th General Conference & Exhibition last month. He said he and Wilson were going through the mountain of instructions to find and eliminate those that needlessly take time away from the primary mission of preparing for combat.
Wilson and Goldfein have committed to a two-year plan to make the cuts.
Air Force Times asked Wilson to describe “the silliest rule” she’s found. She said four-star approval was needed for a waiver for when a wing commander could give the keys to the gym to an airman.
She said the effort to find and eliminate such superfluous rules would continue for the next year.
“It’s annoying to airmen,” she said of such rules. “They’re inconsistent. There’s all kinds of problems with them. But really, this is a warfighting imperative. If we are really going to shift to be ready for a high-end fight [with powers such as China or North Korea], where we have to deploy, disperse [when there is] imperfect command and control, intermittent communications. If that’s the fight we have to prepare for, then we have to treat airmen that way in peacetime. And that means centralized mission direction and decentralized execution.”