Air Force's top leaders visit Global Strike bases

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Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody recently completed visits to Air Force Global Strike Command bases.

Leaders met with Airmen at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., Minot AFB, N.D., and here to gather feedback from the force and to reinforce Air Force standards and expectations following an announcement on cheating allegations within the missile community.

"As Airmen, we must be committed to our core values -- it's our bedrock," James said. "This was a failure of integrity by a group of Airmen, not a failure of the nuclear mission. But it was still important for me to get on the road quickly to find out what was going on and get to the bottom of it."

During their visits, the senior leaders met with missile and bomber force members, congressional representatives and command leaders, and addressed Airmen during all-calls. James and Cody answered Airmen questions on force management programs and structure, their concerns about lack of funds for training and maintenance, and how future cuts could affect military family programs. 

Traveling separately, Welsh shared his expectations specifically with missile and bomber forces during smaller sessions. James and Cody also met small focus groups of officers and enlisted members to discuss the mission and collect recommendations on improving the nuclear force. 

"I've done a lot of listening and have benefited from it," James said. "Based on discussions with Airmen at some locations, morale was a concern. Morale is a multifaceted subject that means different things to different people, but it is a topic that will be addressed."

A recurring concern was the stress of operating in a high-pressure environment where perfection is perceived to be the standard.

"We want to create an environment where Airmen can train and if they make a mistake, they can learn from it and move forward," James said. "I want to come up with a plan about what we are going to do for this mission in a matter of weeks not months."

James, stressing her full confidence in the security of the nuclear enterprise, wants Airmen to know the importance of the nuclear mission and their role in it.

"I remain as confident as ever in the overall ability of our nuclear forces. While the Cold War may be over, there are a multitude of new threats that demand this deterrence. This mission is solid and is here to stay."

(Courtesy of Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs)