Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III talks during a Wing Commanders Call at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Nov. 28, 2012. Welsh met with the commanders to underscore, face-to-face, his expectations of them as leaders and to discuss Air Force issues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III talks during a wing commanders call at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Nov. 28, 2012. Welsh met with the commanders to underscore, face-to-face, his expectations of them as leaders and to discuss Air Force issues. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
by Senior Master Sgt. David Byron
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
12/5/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III met with more than 140 wing commanders from across the Air Force Nov. 28 at Joint Base Andrews, Md., to underscore, face-to-face, his expectations of them as leaders and to discuss Air Force issues.
"Operationally, we're doing great ... mission-wise we're doing everything we're supposed to be doing and we're doing it in outstanding fashion," Welsh said. "The bottom line is performance."
He emphasized that performance comes from taking great care of Airmen and their families as well as making sure they are proud of what they do. This includes addressing the problems of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the service.
The chief of staff stressed that the goal for sexual assault in the Air Force is zero and that commanders who are not directly and aggressively involved in fixing this issue are not part of the solution, but part of the problem.
"The environment inside our Air Force is changing. It's been changing for the last 25 to 30 years, but it hasn't changed enough and it hasn't changed in all the right ways to ensure integration of all Airmen," Welsh said. "And so you and I are going to change it -- immediately and definitively. We must ensure that every member of our Air Force is treated with respect and feels like a critically important part of the team."
Eliminating sexual assault and preventing an environment conducive to sexual harassment takes strong and effective leadership, especially at the unit level. Ridding the Air Force of these problems is a change for the good.
Every Airman has a story and Welsh stressed that leaders learn and know the stories of their people. "The more we know and care about each other, the more we will take care of each other," he said.
12/14/2012 11:09:18 AM ET Short of forced sterilization or genital mutilation Sexual issues will never be completely eradicated. The military is merely a cross section of society as a whole. I think the problem stems from men being attracted to women sexually and I as of yet have found no way to eliminate that. I do know for a fact that there are many cases where a sexual encounter became a rape the following morning when the girl has second thoughts and short of the male getting a permission slip signed the man is at risk. The best way a young military man can avoid alot of hassle is to not date military women. when things don't work out it's too easy for them to get even with you. It only takes a few bad apples and false charges to taint the women and men who are actual victims.
12/10/2012 10:30:06 AM ET Those of you who guessed the personnel in the back row using laptops are the Chief of Staff's worker bees are correct. How do I know I helped set up those laptops on that table for them. They're taking notes collecting taskers and keeping on top of everything the Chief is saying which is their job.
Mr. R, JBA
12/9/2012 10:07:02 AM ET @Lt K don't listen to the yes men below. Good on you for questioning something you don't think is right regardless of rank...that's part of integrity. I hope you do it in person as well. I'm sure you got their point about having a reasonable assurance of something before you call them on it but in this case I believe you do. Carry on
Maj, Home for a change
12/7/2012 8:34:13 AM ET @Lt K... As a fellow LT I would just like you to know that it is you who are being rude and offensive. Working around these senior leaders every day has taugh me one thing in particular they are extremely busy. Half of these Wing CCs in this photo are from wings with very high OPS tempo and most of them must stay connected to their base at all times hence the PCs in most cases. You better believe they were listening to the message of the CSAF and ensuring their wings were getting the job done all at the same time. Before you critique our senior leaders please become more senior than a LT and do more research. Instead of worrying about what a photo looks like worry about learning your job and taking care of your Airmen...they look up to you and comments like yours will not earn you respect.
Lt Y, Pentagon VA
12/7/2012 8:05:12 AM ET I personally believe the larger issue to be looking at is Commanders Authority. You cant have effective change when each individual Commander has their own authority to dispose of issues within their UnitsWings. One Commanders viewinterpretation of an issue is different than the next and so on. Its easy to come out and say zero tolerance policy but then why have an AFI that states AFI31-206 2.22 Investigation of Sexual Misconduct 2.22.2 Before the initiation of any investigation into sexual misconduct the DFC should meet with the SJA to ensure if SF investigation of the matte is the best interests of the Air Force. This is just one of many examples of mixed messages and communication. Times are changing and the evolution of our Service is to slow to adopt that change. In order to be a more effective Force we need to be more focused on general core values of individuals. I know too many EnlistedOfficers that have a misinterpreted understanding of what Integrity
SrA R, CONUS
12/6/2012 2:59:31 PM ET I find it interesting that he by passed to layers of leadership the MAJCOM and NAF commander to take his message to the Wing Commanders. Not sure what this says about his confidence in those leaders to get his guidance and vision out to the rest of the Air Force. I have believed for years that we would be just fine without the NAFs.
12/6/2012 2:54:02 PM ET I applaud the CSAF for doing what is right. I do agree however with the comment that stated we need to look at personnel who stand in the way of the mission and the values of the Air Force. They need to go whether they are civilian military or contractors. No place for the kind of incidents the Air Force has had to deal with in the last few years. It isn't posters but a few who don't understand the AF culture of excellence. Those few hurt all of us who are doing the right things.
Civilian PB, WPAFB
12/6/2012 2:15:19 PM ET If I were to assess the picture like the Lt did I would not say they were not interested. What I would say that based on the CSAFs looks and the faces of the Wing CCs that they just heard from the man about the impending budget cuts coming our way. The CSAF looks like the bearer of bad news and the Wing CCs are not thrilled about it. Just a guess though.
Working Man, Texas
12/6/2012 12:58:11 PM ET I find it a little rude and borderline offensive for a Lt to post such a ridiculous comment. Please wait a few more years before expressing your opinion again. Until then I'll be happy to provide you with a box of crayons.
12/6/2012 11:24:31 AM ET Put your pod face on Lt they're after you.
12/6/2012 10:52:34 AM ET Sad to say sexual harrassment and assault have been going on since the beginning of the military and it will never reach zero. Great optimism CSAF but reality is reality. We can't stop domestic abuse with spouses so how can we stop sexual harrassment and assault. A lot of individuals don't report it and have no intentions on doing so. In regards to all of the other comments you all are worst than the media...You pick out the littlest things and try to make an issue of it. Smh First off none of you were there therefore you don't know what the Lt. Col and Col's were doing on their laptops...Possibly taking notes like any intelligent person would.
SSgt D, Luke AFB
12/6/2012 9:49:56 AM ET The comments from Lt K refute the statement from another story on af.mil which states that commissioning sources produce fully qualified and capable 2nd Lts. Situational awareness young LT. Very important to have it. I had my lack of situational awareness moment as a young prior service 2nd Lt. Walking through the enlisted training area of a squadron at Keesler AFB. Area gets called to attention. I think I stood snapped at attention for about 5 seconds before I realized it was called to attention for me. It happens
Chris Kimball, Indiana
12/6/2012 9:13:49 AM ET I've been doing this since 1986. I still am waiting for the day when the general touches base with the Master Sergeants to get the REAL scoop on what's going on. The Wing kings are going to tell the general exactly what he wants to hear.....their OER and their first star hinges on it. Talk to a group of MSgt's about a week from retirement and you'll get a TRUE picture of where the force is at. Talking to folks who are still trying to get to the top gives a skewed view. Airmen retiring and thus no longer have a dog in the fight will be plain spoken and get to the meat of the issue. Young SMSgt's trying to make Chief Forget it....more of the party line.
12/6/2012 9:02:12 AM ET Since none of the other CC's have laptops I'm guessing staffers. Are they actually doing business or just surfing the Web who knows.
Sgt Snorkle, USA
12/6/2012 5:50:28 AM ET Concur the personnel in the back row are likely staff or aides working action items from the conference. For instance I see Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick SAFPA director in the background in the blues jacket. Perhaps he's taking notes on the speech that contributed to this very article. Gotta view the photos with a little more context but it's possible that one doesn't have the proper insight to fully understand all of the tertiary elements going on and worker bees present inside these forums.
Mark G. , USAFE
12/6/2012 5:46:17 AM ET I think this messege is awesome. Realy is great to here it from the top a leader who never forgets about the basics of being a leader and his prudence in the smallest details. So many times as leaders we forget about how important the AB or A1C is to the mission and taking the time to learn about their story and caring about their future is not only the right thing to do as a leader but also can affect the mission in countless ways.
NCO, Joint Base Andrews
12/5/2012 9:10:10 PM ET So what is the leadership message for those of us in AFMC where we don't have wing commanders and instead have program executive officers and directors many of whom are civilian
Lost in AFMC, CONUS
12/5/2012 5:04:45 PM ET Looks like they were told the fiscal cliff is really happening
12/5/2012 4:35:37 PM ET Lt K. It's a snapshot in time and they're WingCC's they're busy people so if the picture is taken and a couple happen to be looking at their laptops in that instance so be it.
Jack Ernie, East Coast
12/5/2012 2:19:34 PM ET @Lt K....do you really think that this snapshot in time is indicative of them not paying attention Could they be taking notes perhaps Also if you notice not all members have laptops in front of them so I would imagine there is a reason. They could be controlling the slide show or doing immediate research on an issue. Your observation and comment is to me unfounded and most likely wrong.
This Guy , Still Here
12/5/2012 1:58:42 PM ET Not particularly Lt. Someone could follow any of us around with a camera and snap a photo making us look less than desireable or unprofessional etc. When you only have a sliver of evidence -such as this photo probably not wise to exercise absolute judgement on what it COULD portray. If a wing commander was ignoring General Welsh or otherwise acting in an undignified manner than it would be appropriate to address that issue with the offending member.
Maj -, CONUS
12/5/2012 1:46:19 PM ET Lt K The Officers in the last row you speak of appear to include a LtGen CMSgt and other FGOs. They are likely the CSAF staff working action items from the conference and not really part of the audience.
12/5/2012 1:16:00 PM ET Lt I'm going to go out on a limb and conclude you've never been in a meeting like that. The picture has no context. For all you know the CSAF gave them an assignment. Don't be so quick to jump to conclusions. Those Wing Commanders didn't get to that position by being rude and disrespectful to the CSAF. Give me a break.
Not an Lt, The Desert again
12/5/2012 1:10:26 PM ET What an enthusiastic looking bunch I would be honored to hear the CSAF speak.
Arctic Warrior, Colorado Springs
12/5/2012 1:07:49 PM ET Looks like the boss' staff in the back row--not the Wing CC participants-- doing the jobs CSAF needs them to do while he is talking.
Lt Col Myers, CT
12/5/2012 11:59:53 AM ET Does anyone find it a little rude and borderline offensive that there are Colonels there that are more interested in their laptops then in our Chief of Staff and his message