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Roche submits resignation

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Secretary Dr. James G. Roche submitted his resignation Nov. 16.  Secretary Roche said he plans on leaving his position Jan. 20 or sooner if his successor is confirmed by the Senate by then.  He has led the Air Force since 2001.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Secretary Dr. James G. Roche submitted his resignation Nov. 16. Secretary Roche said he plans on leaving his position Jan. 20 or sooner if his successor is confirmed by the Senate by then. He has led the Air Force since 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Secretary Dr. James G. Roche submitted his resignation Nov. 16.  Secretary Roche said he plans on leaving his position Jan. 20 or sooner if his successor is confirmed by the Senate by then.  He has led the Air Force since 2001.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Secretary Dr. James G. Roche submitted his resignation Nov. 16. Secretary Roche said he plans on leaving his position Jan. 20 or sooner if his successor is confirmed by the Senate by then. He has led the Air Force since 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche announced his resignation Nov. 16.

"I'm honored to have served the president, the secretary of defense and the terrific Airmen I've come to know and love in the past few years as the secretary of the Air Force,” he said. “I've served with talented active, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen who are successfully countering new threats to our nation through their innovation and creativity. I'm proud to call myself an Airman."

Secretary Roche submitted his letter of resignation voluntarily. He left private industry to serve his country and the Air Force. He leaves the Air Force now so that his resignation may free-up nominations of Air Force general officers that have been on hold in Congress.

During his tenure, Secretary Roche spearheaded many initiatives to improve the quality of life for Airmen and the capabilities of the Air Force, such as increasing opportunities for master’s degree programs for enlisted Airmen. Recapitalization and modernization program improvements under his watch included the F/A-22 Raptor, weaponizing the RQ/MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, equipping the B-52 Stratofortress with the LITENING pod, delivering the remotely piloted Global Hawk and the Joint Direct Attack Munition.

"Dr. Roche has led the Air Force through one of the most remarkable periods in our nation's history,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper.

“It has been my honor to serve side-by-side with him since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. During his tenure he has made each and every Airman his priority. His unrelenting resolve to adapt our force, to counter new and resilient threats to our nation, has guaranteed America's Air Force remains the greatest in the world. His compassion for the sacrifices made by our Airmen and their families is known across the Air Force. Indeed, the men and women of the Air Force family will remember him as a leader, friend and, most of all, as an Airman."

Among other accomplishments, Secretary Roche instituted an agenda for change to improve the staff and cadet culture at the U.S. Air Force Academy following reports of sexual assault. His air and space expeditionary force concept improvements linked professional military education to AEF rotation dates, reorganized deployable unit type codes and delivered base opening capability packages.

Secretary Roche’s concept of operations rationale transitioned the Air Force from a platform-based to a capabilities-based focus. His quality-of-life initiatives for Airmen reduced out-of-pocket housing expenses, yielded targeted pay raises, and resulted in large-scale base housing renovations and the one-plus-one dormitory concept.

Before his appointment, Secretary Roche held several executive positions with Northrop Grumman Corp., including corporate vice president and president, electronic sensors and systems sector. Before joining Northrop Grumman in 1984, he was democratic staff director of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary Roche's previous military service spanned 23 years in the U.S. Navy where he retired as a captain in 1983.

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