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ACC commander: Readiness key to America’s combat power

Gen. Mike Hostage speaks to Air Force Association members about maintaining mission readiness despite fiscal challenges, July 29, 2014, in Arlington, Va. The AFA engagement was a part of a breakfast series to allow senior Air Force leaders to speak to the public and media about critical issues affecting the military. Hostage is the commander of Air Combat Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

Gen. Mike Hostage speaks to Air Force Association members about maintaining mission readiness despite fiscal challenges, July 29, 2014, in Arlington, Va. The AFA engagement was a part of a breakfast series to allow senior Air Force leaders to speak to the public and media about critical issues affecting the military. Hostage is the commander of Air Combat Command. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Maintaining combat mission readiness in the midst of sequestration and budget cuts is a top concern for Air Combat Command and its commander Gen. Mike Hostage.

The general drove those points home during remarks to members of the Air Force Association and the media during AFA’s monthly senior leader breakfast July 29, in Arlington, Virginia.

“Readiness is the linchpin for Air Combat Command, and my contract to our Airman is, ‘I won’t send you if you’re not ready, so I’m going to make you ready,’” Hostage said.

According to Hostage, budget constraints have impacted the command’s ability to produce combat power. Decisions made now and during the next few years will be critical to ensuring a combat-ready Air Force, despite a reduced size. However, Hostage noted that his job remains to produce dominant combat airpower with whatever resources the nation allots him.

“This is a turbulent world and bad stuff is going to happen somewhere,” Hostage said. “The nation will turn to us and say, ‘Defend us.’ We can’t whine and complain. We have to be ready.”

During his speech, the general emphasized the need for Airmen to be honest in their assessments of capabilities.

“Tell me what your limit is, stop at that point, and I’ll either fix that limit or we’ll deal with it until the time comes when we can remove that limit,” Hostage said.

Despite ongoing challenges, Hostage said he remains confident in the today’s Airmen and the future of the service.

“We still have the best Air Force on the planet and we can continue to be so if we go down the right paths,” he said.


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