Acting SecAF visits USAFA, focuses on AF priorities, academy importance

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Benjamin Stratton
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth emphasized the importance of staying true to the Air Force priorities, supporting and defending the Constitution, serving the American people, and protecting the nation during his March 10 visit to the Air Force Academy.

“The nation expects us to be ready to go when called upon,” Roth said. “So, making sure we have the best (new second lieutenants) from the academy, ROTC and OTS is vital for us to be able to do our job.”

The best advice Roth said he could give to senior cadets preparing to graduate in May is to stay focused on those priorities when they become second lieutenants in the Air or Space Forces, and start leading Airmen.

“We need to ask ourselves, ‘What do I need to do and what do I bring to the table?”’ he said. ‘“What value can I bring to help defend our nation tomorrow, five years from now or 10 years from now?’”

Roth said the Department of the Air Force’s success hinges on the efforts of Total Force Airmen and Guardians who execute the service’s mission and the academy’s mission, and their constant strive towards innovation and continual improvement. He said the academy is a model for the Defense Department for its inroads in curtailing the effects of the coronavirus across its campus, and commended the school for always putting the health and safety of cadets, faculty and staff first.

“Your analytically-based and novel-based approach to this has been fabulous,” he said. “My hats off to your leadership team who've kept cadets safe, and have still been able to maintain (the academy’s graduation commitment).”

Roth also praised the academy as a model for the Air Force’s workforce in successfully balancing remote working and online learning for cadets while the school wrestled with the pandemic.

“That kind of thinking is what I hope academy graduates bring to us — they've lived this hybrid life over the last year and know how to cope with it,” he said. “They can bring their best practices to the rest of the force.”

Roth said all Total Force Airmen, including faculty and staff at the academy, should continue to strive for these types of improvements.

“We need to make sure that the education people are getting here prepares the academy's graduates to help us navigate as we go into the future,” he said. “The hope will be that someone coming out of the academy will have new, creative thoughts and might tell us old guys a better way to perform our mission.”

During his visit to Colorado, Roth also visited the Peterson-Schriever Garrison in Colorado Springs, and Buckley Air Force Base in Denver.