This book, Guidelines for Command, is the result of countless hours of research and contains the collective thoughts and lessons learned from many previous commanders. It has a wealth of information to assist you during your tenure as a commander. Use it in conjunction with your personal leadership skills, your base's subject-matter experts, and your fellow commanders to lead our Airmen to new heights.
Squadron command is often described as the best job in the Air Force. It is also one of the most demanding. Commanders are entrusted with incredible power—in terms of legal authority and personal influence—and it is critical you honor that trust by commanding effectively with balance, purpose, and dedication. As the commander, it is your responsibility to set the tone, establish priorities, and take the lead. As you meet your daily challenges, remember that ultimately command is not about you or how skilled you are in your Air Force specialty. Command is about accomplishing the mission and taking care of your Airmen. This guide will help you on your way.
There is no "all-encompassing" checklist or "how-to guide" for command—no manual could hope to be so comprehensive. How you lead your squadron depends on your experience, ideas, goals, values, and willingness to learn. Your past performance has demonstrated that you are up to the task—if not, you would not have been selected for command. Even so, you will not know everything before you start, and the job will always be a learning endeavor. You can, however, take advice and learn from other commanders' experiences to make you a better, more effective leader. That is the intent of this publication—to advance the practice of command. This book, in conjunction with the Commanders Connection, the professional forum for squadron commanders, does just that.
The following articles and tips are not regulations you must follow, nor should they be your sole source of information. They are only guides based on the experiences and lessons learned from a diverse group of Air Force leaders. Used properly and supplemented with other sources, these guides help prepare you to effectively meet the needs of the mission, while taking care of your people.
We hope you find the information here useful. Thoughtfully applied, it will make you a more effective commander.
Chapter 1 - Taking Command * Chapter 2 - Leading and Developing Airmen * Chapter 3 - Commanding Expeditionary Forces * Chapter 4 - Commander's Programs * Chapter 5 - Maintaining Standards and Administering Discipline