Having served in the United States Air Force for 6 years as a munitions technician, I got to see in great detail how a military force communicates within itself as well as with outside parties. In the military, a chain of command is set in place and strictly enforced, for good reason. When solving a problem or conflict, you must go to your immediate supervisor, then he or she will go to the next person in charge and so on; failure to do so would result in punishment. This process is very important as each tier of management should get a chance to solve the issue before it gets handed off to the next rank; if a person gets bypassed by the chain of command, he or she looks like they are unnecessary. Basic communication in the Air Force could occur freely as long as it wasn’t sensitive or mission-critical material being discussed. Talking to my peers and subordinates is how I got most of my daily work done and found communicating with my superiors was far too stressful to bother them with anything that wasn’t crucial. Although the military was a fast-paced, high-stress environment, I found their methods of communication to be always optimal for the task at hand.
The Air Force had a truly unique culture. Although many of the jobs didn’t require us to actually see combat, we all had responsibilities that were necessary to the overall goal of peacekeeping and destroying our enemies. Airmen are physically and mentally fit, practice excellence in everything they do and are determined to always have one another’s support in tough times. The goal of the Air Force was pretty simple, protect America and the rest of the world from evil via air superiority. Most of the modern combat done today is accomplished from the sky with aircraft and very few land troops are often needed due to this. You can send in one or two pilots in a jet, press a few buttons, and deliver a massive payload of devastation without risking the lives of too many soldiers. To have this be effective, proper communication must be maintained on when and where to strike, what to use, and what damage might be done to innocent civilians or the surrounding buildings.
The use of technology has affected the Air Force’s methods of communication drastically. Having bases all over the world, long-range communication is necessary. Video calls, emails, and even simple phone calls can connect airmen separated by thousands of miles together and create a seemingly seamless work environment. When deployed to a war zone, technology becomes even more important and necessary to ensure that the ground troops can remain in constant contact with their air support. When in a firefight, the last thing you want is a break in the chain of command or faulty communication equipment. Understanding how communication works in something as important and complicated as the United States military was very interesting to witness and led me to my decision to start a career in IT. In the civilian world, my skills in ensuring proper and reliable network communications might not be as dramatic as it was in the Air Force. However, I still apply the same level of attention and urgency to all I do.