PACAF command chief cements importance of enlisted leadership at AFA conference

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson
  • Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. David R. Wolfe, Pacific Air Forces command chief, provided remarks as a panelist for an “Enlisted Leadership” presentation during the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Sept 20.

PACAF’s senior enlisted leader underscored why partnership capacity and enlisted leadership at the lowest levels are key tenets in terms of maximizing lethality, interoperability and readiness.

“I meet on a regular basis with the senior enlisted leadership from partner nations and the theme is very consistent,” Wolfe said. “They want more interoperability with our maintenance practices. We are very engaged in making sure that when we operate together, we are speaking a common language; we have systems that talk to each other and we’re able to actualize partnerships.”

Wolfe explained that collaborative partnerships go deeper than just appearing cooperative on the surface and going through the motions with symbolic gestures, but also penetrating our day-to-day activities.

“It’s about operationally multiplying the capabilities of every nation by working together during exercises and real-world operations,” said Wolfe, who entered the Air Force in 1992.

]Wolfe described how PACAF develops its enlisted force at all levels to fulfill several functions: navigate the continuously changing security environment, remain ready to deliver lethality if needed, and maintain peace and security in the region.

“Like-minded nations everywhere aspire to build a professional enlisted corps like the United States of America and our closest allies,” Wolfe asserted. “When countries have a professional and dedicated enlisted force, they’re able to do things other countries cannot.”

One specific example Wolfe provided to demonstrate the lethality the U.S. has in the Indo-Pacific region is the capability to generate dozens of fighter aircraft to launch on missions, and in the same ‘go,’ guide their landing for a quick munitions reload and on-the-spot maintenance actions, then enabling takeoff again to return to the fight.

“That’s what our enlisted Airmen do for the joint force and partner nations that are alongside us.” Wolfe emphasized. “That’s a dagger because China cannot do that; they couldn’t even dream of doing that.”

Overall, agile combat employment activities, such as the aircraft generation example Wolfe described, exemplify America’s National Defense Strategy by being strategically predictable but operationally unpredictable. Airmen at all levels are trained and empowered to make disciplined decisions at subordinate levels, ensuring the air component commander’s intent is met and we have the initiative in a contested environment.

“We do it by standing on the shoulders of our 22-year-old enlisted maintainer who figures out a way to fix something that hasn’t been done before because we’re constantly innovating on our maintenance practices,” Wolfe said. “It gets that fighter pilot back in his or her jet – right now.”