Air Force hosts national civic leader conference Published Feb. 1, 2012 By Tech. Sgt. Richard A. Williams Jr. Air Force Public Affairs Agency JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz met with prominent civic leaders from 32 states and Guam here Jan. 31. Schwartz began the Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program's annual winter conference by discussing the hard choices the Air Force has made to support the new Defense Department strategic guidance and address future budget challenges. "Your Air Force is going to be smaller, but it will not be hollow," Schwartz said. "We will emphasize readiness of the smaller force, and we will emphasize quality." With plans to reduce the service's force structure, Schwartz said the Air Force will make any changes with an appreciation for the fact that installations are often integral parts of local communities. Donley also addressed the civic leaders, telling them that the partnership between active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve components will be essential as the Air Force gets leaner. "As our Air Force gets smaller, it is more important that we stay ready and prepared for the challenges that come our way in this dynamic environment," Donley said. The Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program's membership is composed of respected community leaders nominated by the Air Force major commands, the National Guard Bureau and Headquarters Air Force. These unpaid advisors provide unfiltered feedback from their communities and invaluable insight on local public opinion on Air Force issues.