I recommend the 'MIAIS' principle

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lee Curoe
  • 22nd Security Forces Squadron commander
I want to share the most pointed mentorship lesson I've learned ... the "MIAIS" principle.

More than a decade ago, my boss taught me the "MIAIS" principle. MIAIS stands for most important airman in the squadron.

Each Airman is important to the squadron. After all, without our people, the mission wouldn't get done. You know the saying ... "people first, mission always," or as it's said at McConnell, "without support, mission abort?" Our people are important, no doubt about it. But, as part of this principle, there is one Airman on whom we should focus most, the MIAIS.

He is the newest, youngest Airman in the squadron. I mean Airman a rank sense, as in the newest airman basic through senior airman in the unit.

Why is the MIAIS so important? How well we treat, orient, train, equip, and care for, our newest, youngest Airman, effects our squadrons.

We have young Airmen on duty at the front gate, in the clinic, on the flightline and in customer service offices on base. The time we invest in preparing those Airman effects their units' ability to accomplish the mission. Obviously, it's important.

Application of the MIAIS principal begins even before Airmen arrive at McConnell. It starts with their sponsors, whose jobs are to welcome new Airmen to base - especially Airmen coming from technical school or their first duty stations. In the "old days," sponsors contacted Airmen and told them about the areas to which they were moving. Now, I'm told sponsorship is redundant and archaic. Sponsors represent their units and the Air Force to these junior Airmen. If we approach sponsorship casually and discard it due to ops tempo, we miss an important, essential opportunity. Sponsor the MIAIS as if he or she were you heading to your first tour.

Once the MIAIS arrives, how well we accept, in-process and orient him to the local area tells him a lot about his new squadron. Make time for him, it'll resonate.

Once these young Airmen join our unit, we must properly train and equip them. Don't be abbreviate or overlook these steps. Training advertised as pointless or a waste of time will be just that. The MIAIS deserves the best training and equipment the most lethal Air Force in history has to offer. Give it to him.

The last step to applying the principle is providing ongoing care and feeding for the MIAIS. Apply this principle to more than just the MIAIS; it should apply to the rest of us too.

We need to do our jobs as leaders, supervisors and peers to ensure all MIAISs know the standards and expectations and that help is available should they need it. Don't baby the MIAIS; just do right by them, and ensure they get off to a good start.

We must ensure we keep the personal touch in this day and age of technology. The time we put into deliberately sculpting our new Airmen will pay off.

Our new Airmen learn from what they are told and briefed, but they are also molded by what they see, by our words and deeds. We establish the standards. If we tell our Airmen they don't need to practice proper customs and courtesies are unnecessary we do them, and the Air Force, a disservice.

Be a proactive and positive voice. If you don't take the time or enforce the standard, then you forfeit your right to complain about today's Airmen. There is nothing wrong with the newest generation of Airmen. They have made an honorable decision to join our team and to serve our country in these challenging, dynamic times.

Everyone is an important part of our mission completion, but caring for the "most important Airmen" means investing in the future of our great Air Force.