Acting SecAF tours missile field, talks to Airmen about budgets, sexual assault

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Eydie Sakura
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning explainined the impacts of sequestration, furloughs and budget restraints, as well as the concerns of sexual assaults in the military, during his visit with Airmen here Aug. 15-16.

Fanning said his decision to visit the 90th Missile Wing was part of an Air Force familiarization trip after stepping in as the acting secretary.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the Air Force and I'm inspired and impressed by what I'm seeing," Fanning said. "I'm seeing the ability of the (total-force Airmen) staying focused on the mission every day, even with all the uncertainties of what's happening in Washington (D.C.)."

He continued by saying the Air Force is a critical service that's only going to be more so in the next 10 to 20 years.

"The Air Force is everywhere and that includes a lot of places the world cannot see," he said. "They don't see the (intercontinental ballistic missiles), satellites, or what's going in cyberspace. It's a fascinating story the more I learn it all."

He said it was important to realize the Air Force and the Department of Defense were being viewed through a critical lens due to the issue of sexual assault.

"We've got to show that we're making progress," he said. "We've got to get at this; every Airman needs to feel safe, secure and part of the team, and a part of the mission. That's readiness. That's capability. That's mission."

The mission of the 90th MW and 20th Air Force were showcased to Fanning during his stay here. He visited a missile alert facility and launch control center, where he experienced firsthand the mission of Airmen who deploy daily to the Warren missile field.

He saw the above-ground working and living conditions of the crews, as well as the control center situated below the ground. The secretary also met with Airmen from across the base to include Airman Leadership School and the First-Term Airmen Center.

Fanning ended his two-day visit with an all-call and said that with all the restlessness and uncertainties of sequestration, he does see a silver lining and has a new appreciation for the total-force Airmen.

"If there was any confusion before about the role our civilian workforce plays, that question is gone now," Fanning said. "The absence of the civilian workforce was felt, as they are integrated into everything."