Irreplaceable? Published March 5, 2014 By Chief Master Sgt. Mark Isaman 22nd Mission Support Group superintendent MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Upon hearing the news about the Confederate capture of a Union brigadier general along with 100 horses, President Abraham Lincoln commented out loud "Sure hate to lose those horses." When asked about the brigadier general, he commented "I can make a brigadier general in five minutes, but it's not easy to replace 100 horses." Supervisors (superintendents, commanders, etc.) can be "made" in five minutes. All it takes is a verbal order from command. Don't think that you're irreplaceable, none of us are. Therefore, your number one priority each and every day should be taking an active role in the development of your subordinates. They are the ones that will need to, or better yet, will have to step up when you're not there. We operate under a business model in the Air Force that most civilian organizations would find surprising: the objective of every Air Force supervisor should be training their replacement. I would go so far to say that if you are not doing this you are failing as a supervisor. On the non-Department of Defense civilian side of the world it would be common to stay in the same job at the same level of responsibility for an entire career. Most times the supervisors of these individuals might even take on an attitude of "no way I'm going to set you up to take (steal) my job!" In the Air Force, with permanent changes of stations, high year of tenure, deployments and, lately, force management, it's probably not a matter of if your subordinate will "get" your job but when. One my most favorite quotes is by Sir Winston Churchill: "To every person, there comes a time in their lifetime, that special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered that chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that time which would be their finest hour." As we go about our daily efforts to accomplish the mission set that we are responsible for, ask yourselves: what if I wasn't here, would the mission still succeed? With retirement barreling down on me, I am convinced that the privilege to play an active role in the development of all of those around us, both up and down the chain, should be a concept we all make a top priority. The actions involved in this concept are actually critical to mission success.