'Serving during a consequential time': Top enlisted leader engages with Airmen at Joint Base Andrews

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daekwon Stith
  • 316th Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass discussed current and future challenges for Airmen while speaking with base personnel, Aug. 30.

"We are serving during a consequential time, probably the most consequential I've seen in my 30-year career," Bass said at the opening of her Q&A session at the base theater.

Before taking questions, Bass outlined the current global landscape and the imperative for increasing military strength as a deterrent to U.S. competitors. She also highlighted conflict hotspots, including Ukraine, the Middle East, North Korea and China as influences on the Air Force's direction moving forward.

Highlighting that the U.S. military can no longer solely lead in air, land and sea, Bass stressed the need for dominance in emerging warfighting domains such as space, cyber and information.

"If we lose in any of those domains, we lose, period," Bass emphasized.

After detailing challenges occurring on the global stage and strategies to surmount them, she conveyed her enthusiasm and confidence in service members and expressed her gratitude for their service during this pivotal juncture.

"It will be our staff sergeants, tech. sergeants, captains and majors who will shape the future of our force in 2030, 2035, and beyond," Bass affirmed.

Transitioning to the Q&A session, Bass addressed questions from Airmen regarding promotions, tuition assistance, the multi-capable airman concept, and other topics. She tied her answers to the four action orders – Airmen, Bureaucracy, Competition, and Design – outlined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., with a strong emphasis on the "Airmen" aspect.

"I invest most of my time in the 'Airmen' piece," Bass explained. "How do we ensure that our Airmen of today, as well as those in five and 10 years, are well taken care of?”

Reflecting on her participation in the recent Air Force Senior Enlisted Leader International Summit, Bass highlighted discussions with more than 60 of her top enlisted peers. They agreed the competitive advantage ultimately resides in people and noncommissioned officer development.

She then spotlighted the tangible results of this approach through the collaboration with the California Air National Guard and Ukrainian military since 1993 – a partnership that has proven successful in strengthening their capabilities since the invasion of more than 150,000 Russian troops into Ukraine last year.

In her closing statement, Bass shared a remark from the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Kostiantyn Stanislavchuk, about the ongoing conflict as a final word of encouragement for the Air Force’s first-line supervisors: "We will win this war because of the strength of our sergeants."