"READY OR NOT . . . " *




It is 1981. Lieutenant "Oak" is called into her commanderís office and informed that she is being given a new additional duty.

"Youíre going to be our Meaningful Measures of Merit Officer," says the commander. "This means that you will be required to track the squadronís readiness, which Higher Headquarters has defined in terms of critical pulse points common to all squadrons like ours. For example, four of those pulse points deal with the four major personnel specialties assigned to this squadron. So long as we are staffed at or above a given percentage, we can report a specialty as "green" (which is the highest rating); if we are at or above a slightly lower percentage, we can report "yellow"; and below that we must report "red."

"Each pulse point¾ whether it deals with some piece of equipment or some personnel matter¾ has its own red, yellow, and green criteria, and those pulse points will be placed on color-coded slides and briefed to the Wing Commander every other Friday. Lieutenant Oak, I want the Wing Commander to see nothing but green when our slides are shown! If you have any problems collecting the data, you let me know, and Iíll take care of it."

Two months Oak is preparing the Meaningful Measures of Merit slides and discovers that she must report as "red" the staffing level for one of the critical job specialties. She immediately informs the commander.

"Sir, we have a bad indicator on one of our slides. With the recent transfer of five of our folks, we moved from "green" to "red" almost over night."

"Thatís not acceptable, Oak. What about counting the augmentees on base?"

"Sir, the rules governing the Meaningful Measures of Merit program prohibit the counting of augmentees. They are only available to us under special circumstances, and even then we canít really count on getting them."

"Lieutenant, read my lips: include the augmentees in your total. My favorite color is green."