Brown modifies Action Orders to lock in gains, accelerate change

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., has issued modifications to the “Action Orders” driving Accelerate Change or Lose, the conceptual, philosophical “why” for what the Air Force of the future must become. 

Like the original Action Orders published in December 2020, the updated Action Orders set the conditions for accelerating change. They detail what must be done across four focus areas: Airmen, Bureaucracy, Competition, and Design Implementation. 

“The MOD 1 to each of the Action Orders isn’t a progress report—it is a refinement of tasks for the Air Staff that support the Department of Air Force’s direction and our warfighters,” Brown said. “The Action Orders should be executed at the headquarters level, and their effects felt at the squadron level.” 

He added that while the Action Orders provide specific directions and deliverables to the Air Staff, they offer intent for the entire force. 

This approach provides guidance to accelerate change, while still allowing discretion and room for leaders to empower their Airmen and make decisions that contribute to change across the service. Given that balance and changing dynamics over time, periodic modifications to the Action Orders are necessary and expected, Brown said. 

Brown added that this first set of modifications could be followed by others to maximize results as conditions evolve and Accelerate Change or Lose matures.   

Key tasks in MOD 1 to Action Order-A, which is focused on ensuring Airmen have the attributes required to compete, deter, and win in a high-end fight, remain unchanged. Sub-tasks are in the works to establish enduring processes and paths to adapt talent management and build the force needed for emerging missions.  

Action Order-B, intended to streamline decision-making, eliminate redundancies, and limit bureaucratic layers with the Air Force, has proven to be one of the more elusive and challenging Action Orders to realize. 

“Bureaucracy exists in all large organizations and changing culture and practices that prevent timely and effective decisions is difficult—but it starts with the Air Staff,” Brown said. 

Modifications to tasks outlined by AO-B specify changes to processes and business rules that govern information flow and decision-making in order to improve speed, quality of decision support, and achieve greater alignment across the Air Staff. 

For example, it directs the staff to facilitate the free-flowing of information using collaborative, communication tools; to promote “radical transparency” by publishing records of significant decisions to sites accessible across the staff; and, to empower Airmen to make decisions at the lowest appropriate level. 

Updates to Action Order-C, which says Airmen need to understand their role in the long-term strategic competitions between the U.S., Russia, and China, account for the establishment of the Department of the Air Force’s Operational Imperatives, the continued evolution of the Joint Warfighting Concept, and the ongoing development of other strategic documents. Substantive changes include the alignment of tasks to lines of effort and the addition of waypoints to guide and measure an iterative path forward, as well as changes to increase synchronization between the Major Commands and Air Staffs and better integrate allies and partners. 

Action Order-D directs Headquarters Air Force to accelerate the transition from the force that exists today to the Air Force the nation needs, focusing on China then Russia, at fiscally-informed and acceptable levels of risk to mission, force, and security. With MOD-1, AO-D incorporates the DAF Operational Imperatives, reflects the continued assessment of threat capabilities, and better aligns future force design with fiscal realities.    

“While Accelerate Change or Lose is enduring, like any operation order, the Action Orders are meant to be iterative—continually assessed, adapted, and improved,” Brown said. “A little more than a year since releasing to the field, it was time to assess what we’ve done against what we set out to do, analyze the evolving conditions, and modify directives, guidance, and tasks accordingly.” 

The complete set of updated Action Orders can be found here