CSAF discusses budget, deployments in Southwest Asia

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance Babin
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz paid a visit to the Airmen of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing here Nov. 14.

The general, who serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer, met with the men and women of the 380th AEW during an all call to discuss current Air Force issues and take questions from the audience.

"The 380th is doing stuff that really matters," Schwartz said. "What happens here is central to what's happening in U.S. Air Forces Central Command. My hat's off to you."

In particular, Schwartz stressed the important deterrent role the 380th AEW plays in the region.

"We are here making sure friends and potential adversaries in the area keep our presence in the back of their minds," he said.

He also addressed the potential for a smaller Air Force, given the budget challenges the nation faces, and how this might affect Airmen and their families.

"The bottom line is that it's OK to get smaller, but we'll remain ready, and we will still be feared by our adversaries," Schwartz said. "That's what we're about."

One of the ways the Air Force can deal with smaller budgets is by keeping the number of personnel in the service at its authorized ceiling, Schwartz said.

"We take no pleasure in doing this, but we have to," Schwartz said. "We are doing our best to ensure those affected land on their feet, because this is a family business. The idea is to get down to ceiling, and to get this behind us, so our people don't have to continue to worry about their futures."

The general also discussed the Air Force's plans to revise the current deployment system. Under "AEF Next," more Airmen will deploy in unit-sized teams from their home base rather than through individual unit-type codes. In addition to greater teaming, this will allow the Air Force to synchronize personnel assignments with the deployment tempo, he said.

The final topic the general discussed was the issue of suicide and the importance of resiliency.

"There's nothing more tragic than one of our teammates choosing to make a permanent decision to take his or her life," he said. "I want to make a personal appeal to everybody here to look out for their fellow Airmen."

Schwartz concluded the event by thanking the participants for their questions and for their service.

"The American people trust in the U.S. Air Force," he said. "There's no substitute for what we do, and that is why we all have an obligation to perform at a level the American people expect and to do it in a way that retains their trust."