September 2018 Report
This month I want to try something different. NCOA in its current form has been doing things a certain way since 1960 when we were first created as a Veteran’s Service Organization. Our mission calls for us to fight for quality of life for all enlisted personnel and their families from all five branches of the military.
We have received a number of thought provoking ideas about where we are weak as an association and I must agree that we have a lot of room for improvement, but I have said it before and I will reiterate it again, failure is not an option. It is a foregone conclusion that we need an injection of youth into our organization in order to keep up with the times. The flow of new recruits into all branches of the military is healthy enough that we still are an all-volunteer military. Considering that we as a nation have been at war for almost 17 years, it is amazing that our force still maintains its status as the best fighting force in the world. How can that be? Many in the older generation think that the younger generation does nothing but play video games and text on their phones. While that perception may be partially true for some of the younger generation, how can it be absolutely true with all of those who are serving today? They can’t maintain our fighting force at such an elite level by keeping their nose buried in a cell phone or playing video games 24/7.
Maybe those who are serving have some the same stuff that we had when we joined decades ago. They must be patriotic or why would they sign up knowing there is a good chance they will be deployed to a combat theater? They must have some level of discipline. They must have some sense of loyalty.
I have talked to many younger sailors and soldiers and they have some level of desire to improve their community. I propose that this younger generation has many of the same qualities that we had, but it just manifests itself differently than we are used to seeing.
We have spent years complaining about what is wrong with everything in our lives. There isn’t much wrong with this world and NCOA that hasn’t already been identified and analyzed. I am asking you today to shift gears. What do we do well? Come at this exercise as if the glass is half full rather than half empty. Talk to young people and listen? Stop assuming that you know what they think or you will never hear what they are saying. Brainstorm with the younger generation. What do they want? How do they want to accomplish it? How can NCOA help? What do they need that they can’t get from the military?
It is time we all started looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems! If you have any suggestions as to how we should operate as an organization, I want to hear about it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can assure you that your thoughts, ideas and suggestions will not be ignored. I pass every email that I get onto the entire leadership team. We want to turn NCOA into a leading veterans service organization that makes a difference for you and your family no matter whether you are in your 20’s or your 60’s. I say again, “Failure is not an option!”
Strength in Unity & Leadership By Example
Terry M. Haines
Chairman, International Board of Directors