Engage

T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
Facebook
2,042,546
Like Us
Twitter
388,989
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

SecAF discusses service’s top priorities

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James today provided a congressional panel with an overview of her top priorities for the Air Force.

Joined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, James laid out the framework for her three top priorities for the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.

“Those three priorities are taking care of people, balancing today’s readiness with tomorrow’s readiness,” she said, “and ensuring that our Air Force is the most capable at the least cost to the taxpayer.”

Every job she’s ever had always has come down to people, 100 percent of the time, James said. “So taking care of people, to me, means we need to recruit the right people, retain the right people,” she added.

The secretary said developing people inside the force, and having a diversity of thought and backgrounds at the leadership table are needed to make innovative decisions and solutions going forward.

“We need to protect the most important family programs,” she said. “We need dignity and respect for all -- and that includes combating sexual harassment and assault.” It’s also important to ensure everyone in the Air Force is living the service’s core values of integrity, service and excellence all the time, James added.

The secretary noted two areas of that have generated controversy lately: force reductions and compensation.

“We are coming down in all of our components -- active, (Air National) Guard, Reserve and civilians,” James said. “And we will rely more, not less, in the future on our Guard and Reserve.”

That makes sense from both the mission standpoint and the budgetary standpoint, she said. “But as we draw down it’s not good enough just to get lower numbers,” she added. ”We have to reshape the force.” At the moment, James told the panel, the Air Force needs balance -- it has too many people in certain types of career fields and too few in others.

On compensation, James said the fiscal year 2015 budget request includes “reasonable ways” to slow the growth in military compensation across the Defense Department.

“This was one of those hard decisions that nobody is really happy with,” James said. “But it’s necessary to ensure that we free up some money to plow back into both the readiness of today as well as the modernization of tomorrow.” Fair compensation going forward, she added, also is part of taking care of the force.

James said her second priority is balancing today and tomorrow’s readiness. Air Force readiness has suffered over the years, she said, particularly last year, when flying squadrons were grounded, civilians were furloughed and maintenance was delayed because of sequestration spending cuts.

“In (fiscal year 2015), we have fully funded our flying hours and other high-priority readiness issues,” James said. “And if approved, we will see gradual improvements of readiness over time.”

While it won’t be overnight or in a year, the secretary said, “we’ll be on a good path of getting toward where we need to be.”

At the same time, the Air Force is looking to tomorrow, James said, and remains committed to programs such as the F-35 joint strike fighter, the KC-46 refueling tanker, the long-range strike bomber, and two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear triad: bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We’re committed to all of this,” the secretary said. “We’re funding these going forward as well as beginning to replace aging platforms.”

The secretary noted her final priority is making every dollar count for the taxpayer. “To me, this means keeping acquisition programs on budget, on schedule,” she explained. “It means auditability as a fundamental principle of our good stewardship.”

It also means trimming overhead in the Air Force, including the 20 percent headquarters reduction Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed, she said, noting that she believes the Air Force will do even better than that.

James also emphasized the “very serious” impacts of reverting to sequestration-level budgets in fiscal 2016 and beyond, as current law requires.

“We do not recommend this,” she said. “We feel it would compromise our national security too much.” The bottom line is it’s a bad deal for the Air Force, the Defense Department and the country, James said, as she urged Congress to support the higher levels of defense spending under President Barack Obama’s budget.

James shared her vision of the Air Force in 10 years, projecting that it will be a highly capable, innovative and ready force.

“We will be a good value in everything that we do for our taxpayers,” she said. “We will be able to respond overseas decisively through unparalleled air power, and we’ll also stand ready to defend here at home when disaster strikes.

“We’ll be more reliant, not less, on our Guard and Reserve,” James continued, “and we will be powered by the very best airmen on this planet who live the culture of dignity and respect for all, integrity, service and excellence.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus