HomeNewsArticle Display

SecAF outlines top focus areas to improve ICBM career field

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Throughout the next 60 days, senior Air Force leaders will re-examine the way ahead for the Air Force’s nuclear mission.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James addressed members of the Air Force Association Jan. 29, in Arlington, Va., giving an update on her recent visits to four Global Strike Command bases – F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Malmstrom AFB, Mont., Minot AFB, N.D. and Barksdale AFB, La.

During her visits, James, along with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, met with Airmen in small focus groups and larger town halls.

“Early on, I knew I would want to visit our nuclear Airmen,” James said. “No mission is more important. Our Airmen are entrusted with the most powerful weapons on earth.”

James described her recent visits as insightful, coming away with seven key focus areas she and other senior leaders will assess over the next two months.

Tackling these areas over the next 60 days will provide the Air Force a way ahead, complete with an action plan, she said.

Focus areas include:

Systemic problems – “We do have a systemic problem,” James said. “The need for perfection has created way too much stress and fear about the future.”  

James said Airmen who conduct the ICBM mission feel the system is overly “punitive” and there’s a level of micromanagement she feels “should be transformed to empowerment.”

Training vs. testing – “We may have lost within this team the important distinction between training and testing,” James said, in regards to the number of monthly tests missile officers have to pass to stay qualified.

“When you’re talking about the idea of training, it’s learning,” she said.  “In this environment, everything was a test and perfect scores had become an important gauge, and in some cases the only gauge of allowing commanders to differentiate among Airmen. I think this is wrong. We need to address this. Instead of making the test 100 percent make it or break it … we need to look at the whole person concept … with tests being an element.”

Accountability – “We have to have accountability at all levels, and there will be,” James said. “We’re also looking at leadership.”

Career field development – “We have to look at profession and leadership development,” she said. “We need to look at training – we have to ask ourselves if these Airmen are getting the right leadership training; are they getting professional mentorship; what about their career path opportunities?

“We need to work to make this career field something young Airmen want to do, and aspire to do,” James said.

Core value campaign – “Airmen need to understand that being a good wingman does not mean protecting others that lack integrity,” James said. “Airmen have the responsibility not only to act with integrity … but also report the wrongdoing they see. We need to go back to some basics here.”

Career field incentives – “We need to examine the incentives, the accolades, the recognition that is available to the nuclear force,” she said. “We have to ask ourselves ‘Should we take steps to make this career field more attractive?’”

She said this includes both officer and enlisted, and that incentive pay and medals are being taken under consideration.

Investments – “We need to look into other types of investments,” James said. “We need to put our money where our mouth is,” which includes increasing manning levels and higher priority of military construction for Global Strike Command's aging facilities.

While optimistic, the secretary said she firmly believes that with challenges comes opportunity. 

“Continuing to strengthen our nuclear enterprise is a top priority for me,” James said. “This mission is essential to our security and the security of our allies and partners. It remains safe, secure and reliable. I’m very confident of that.”

Engage

Twitter
.@AETCommand is working to remove barriers in the pilot candidate selection process. Learn more about the changes… https://t.co/ANcqVRdsNz
Twitter
.@UnderSecAF Gina Ortiz Jones spoke on the anniversary of DADT... https://t.co/zZYqHOTp8V
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: "We are in a national, strategic, long-term contest with a formidable adversary and what you do every day is important t…
Twitter
"We must move with a sense of urgency today in order to rise to the challenges of tomorrow. Because the return to s… https://t.co/yeYvmOaOos
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Our collaboration with industry is integral to ensuring we are able to compete, deter and win tomorrow against peer adver…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Impossible ends with you. https://t.co/e6ebHtvBDg
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall addressed the @AirForceAssoc's Air, Space & Cyber Conference earlier today: "I intend to be relentless in…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall just finished addressing the @AirForceAssoc's Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The topics he spoke on includ…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: Happy #DontAskDontTell Repeal Day! Honored to commemorate the repeal’s 10th anniversary with some of our LGBTQ Airmen & Gua…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today launches the @AirForceAssoc's Air, Space & Cyber Conference! #ASC21 Among many notable speakers, Secretary Kenda…
Twitter
Department of the Air Force senior leaders will attend the Air Space Cyber Conference Sept. 20-22. DAF leaders wil… https://t.co/grfMC31QH1
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Senior leaders held a town hall event Thursday to discuss the Department of the Air Force's recent release of two dispar…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Wishing all #AirForce marathon runners good luck in this year’s virtual race. Happy birthday #AirForce and have a great y…
Twitter
.@KIRTLAND377ABW is one of three bases using a new mobile application to streamline munitions inventory processes.… https://t.co/VQIAzo82bJ
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,376,799
Follow Us