Secretary Wynne visits Aviano

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Colleen Wieman
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne visited Aviano AB Dec. 5 and spoke to base members about issues affecting today's Airmen.

Some of the things Secretary Wynne discussed were Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century, deployments and the new cyber command.

"I am capitalizing on the innovated nature of our Airmen," he said. "Air Force Smart Operations is about empowerment. It is to empower our young Airmen to look at processes they are involved with and suggest improvements."

Secretary Wynne said he was very impressed with Aviano AB maintainer's ability to use money and time saving initiatives.

"I thought the innovation by simply rearranging the tool room was quite impressive," he said. "They thought about what tools were most used and what things got checked out more often and they moved those things right in front."

One concern Secretary Wynne shared was the Air Force's aging fleet. "The Air Force is flying the oldest fleet now than it has in its history," he said. "When I left the Air Force in 1973 our assets were about eight years old. Now the average age is about 23 years old.

"There comes a time when you really do have to recapitalize. We're taking a look at all the assets and reassessing ourselves to make sure the Air Force doesn't lose the quality of combat that has made us the premier Air Force in the world."

In addition to equipment concerns, Secretary Wynne addressed Airmen's deployment concerns.

"We are not going to fill the Army with in lieu taskings," he said. "We cannot replace the Army. We have enough to do with maintaining aircraft, satellites and the cyberspace domain.

"(But) at this particular time we are not going to pull away or refuse to commit our forces." Secretary Wynne said the Air Force provides a strategic shield for the Army and we couldn't provide this shield without space capabilities.

"Air is where our heritage lies without a doubt, but for 50 years we have been in space and space is providing us with global positioning systems," he said. "The Global Hawks and the (MQ-1) Predators are flown from the continental United States. Without the space operators making sure satellites are accessible and in working order and in the right place over the earth, we couldn't operate our assets from half way around the world."

In addition to space and air domination, the Air Force is adopting cyber space domination with a cyber command. Secretary Wynne said the Air Force is trusting the Internet domain more and must understand the concept of netcentric warfare.

"It becomes a warfighting domain especially when we see hackers who can do the damage they tend to do," he said. "Even non malicious hackers can do damage. We want to get better on it and make sure we dominate (the cyber domain) before somebody else."

Secretary Wynne knows acknowledged efforts of all Airmen who make up the total force.

"We value every component of our Air Force," he said. "They are all volunteers, whether they are active, Reserve, National Guard or civilian. We value everybody's contribution."

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