PRESS: The keys to mission success

  • Published
  • By Col. Scott Gilson
  • 341st Operations Group commander
When I first took command of the operations group in June 2005, the "mantra" my predecessor used to guide the group was "Make No Errors." This was a foundational approach aimed at focusing on doing the mission right every day by paying attention to the little things that are often easy to ignore ... like the notes, cautions, warnings, etc., in our technical orders. This was a great approach to capturing the importance of mission focus and it worked! But it was only a step on the journey to achieving greater mission success.

To me there is more to focus on than just "Make No Errors." Mission success is the ultimate goal and the reason we train so thoroughly. But there are underlying tenets, or focus areas, that we should acknowledge, understand and pursue that collectively lead to accomplishment of mission success. I chose to take "Make No Errors" a step further with a catch phrase of my own ... "PRESS."

"PRESS" stands for Proficiency, Responsibility, Excellence, Safety and Security. These are the building blocks that I think we all need to focus on and pursue, and if we do ... mission success comes easy.

Proficiency is about paying attention to your training and doing your job, whatever it is, to the absolute best of your abilities.

Responsibility means take ownership for yourself, your team, your unit, etc., and be accountable for your actions. It reminds us we should stand tall and be proud of our accomplishments, but if or when something could have been done better, we should not make excuses. Instead, we should accept responsibility and then get after the lessons learned to ensure the mistake or error doesn't happen again.

Excellence is what we all strive for and captures one of our core values ... excellence in all we do.

Safety is paramount to everything we do, both on- and off-duty. How many times each day are you reminded to "be safe?" I'm sure it is a lot. But one unsafe practice, or lack of safety focus, could lead to unfortunate injury or even death ... and that would be one casualty too many.

Security has come to the forefront of our nuclear mission, especially since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Today's threats are vastly different than the threats we faced back in the early 1960's when our weapons were first put in the ground and throughout the Cold War. Today, we need to think about security all the time, on- and off-duty, remaining vigilant to everything around us. We also need to focus on security across every aspect of our mission and for the personnel who execute it. We've begun increasing security measures at our remote launch facilities and in the force protection measures surrounding our on-base infrastructure. The next step is to focus efforts on adding measures of force protection and enhanced security at our missile alert facilities.
The five tenets, or focus areas, within "PRESS," if taken seriously every day, will make mission success a breeze for Team Malmstrom.

Let's take it a step further. Try applying them at home during your off-duty time, too. You'll be surprised how you view life when you apply the "PRESS" model described above. When faced with a decision, take "PRESS" into account and consider the five tenets ... then "PRESS" on and make your decision. It will most likely be a good one. If not, a better decision can always follow.

When I reviewed the latest MSET report, it was obvious to me the men and women of Team Malmstrom understood and applied the "PRESS" model. They just might not have realized they were doing so. But the results of your incredible performance during the inspection proved it. Congratulations!

The next time you have a decision to make, whether it be in the performance of your activities that support our wing's mission, or in your off-duty time, consider the "PRESS" model. I know I do.