HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen are the key to air power

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Master Sgt. Cory Hebb assists Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James by demonstrating the RQ-11B Raven during her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. Hebb is assigned to the 820th Base Defense Group, 820th Combat Operations Squadron, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Master Sgt. Cory Hebb assists Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James by demonstrating the RQ-11B Raven during her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. Hebb is assigned to the 820th Base Defense Group, 820th Combat Operations Squadron, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James shows an audience how the RQ-11B Raven can deliver imagery during her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James shows an audience how the RQ-11B Raven can deliver imagery during her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James delivers her "State of the Force" keynote speech at the Air Force Association's annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. James spoke about not accepting further budget and force reductions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talked about the importance of a healthy budget, innovation and developing Airmen as key pieces to remaining the world’s greatest air power, during the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition Feb. 13, in Orlando, Florida.

“There is just absolutely no question in my mind we are the best Air Force on the planet precisely because of who we are and what we believe and what we do,” James said. “Today our Air Force is fully engaged in joint operations around the world, and the demand for what we do in the Air Force – the demand for our capabilities – is increasing. In short, everybody wants more Air Force.“

While the demand for Air Force capability is going up, personnel numbers and funding have decreased, forcing the Air Force to operate in a “perfect storm environment,” she explained. “We are the best on the planet, but we are also an Air Force under strain and something’s got to give.”

To weather the storm, the Air Force is taking the strongest stand ever on sequestration, and is asking Congress for an additional $10 billion in funding for fiscal year 2016.

“Our budget proposal actually busts the sequestration caps,” James said. “For the Air Force this represents the difference between an Air Force that our combatant commanders require, and our nation expects, as compared to an Air Force that with $10 billion less, will not be able to meet the National Defense Strategy – period.”

The increase allows support of Air Force top priorities – taking care of people; striking the right balance between the readiness of today and tomorrow’s modernization; and making every dollar count.

“The taxpayer’s dollar is precious, and we can’t afford to waste a single dollar of it,” she said. “We all have a part to play in making every dollar count.”
As people are her number one priority, James said she’s tried to listen hard to what Airmen need. The overwhelming concerns she found through her various base visits is the reduction in force, particularly involuntary separation boards.

“I have met so many outstanding and passionate and dedicated Airmen along the way,” she said. “As far as the downsizing goes, enough is enough. No more. We need to stop this. We may have already gone a bit too far, which is precisely why we are not going to do involuntary boards in 2015.”
In addition to no involuntary separation boards this year, the secretary and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III have called for an upward adjustment to 492,000 active, guard and reserve Airmen.

The proposed budget will allow reserve component pilots to be instructor pilots, provide funding for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response teams, child care facilities, fitness centers, educational benefits, infrastructure projects and a 1.3 percent pay raise for military and civilian Airmen.

“When we take care of Airmen and their families and we focus on resiliency for all, that means our Airmen can focus on getting ready for the many, many missions that we must undertake in our Air Force,” James said. “We need everyone to be focused on that mission.”

Ramping up current readiness and investing in the modernization across all mission areas of the Air Force is another piece of the budget, she explained. This allows the Air Force to rebuild its readiness over time, and procure a more modern and agile future force.

“All in all, there’s a lot of good in this budget, but it’s not perfect,” James said. “We’ve still had to make a lot of tough choices.”

Some of those choices include phasing out old aircraft, slowing the growth of compensation packages and some base closures. The cost savings in some areas will open others to more innovative ways to complete the Air Force mission, well into the future.

“Air Force ingenuity and creativity, in concert of course with our industry partners, can make the impossible, possible,” she said. “Our potential adversaries have been watching us closely over the last 14 years, and they have watched us perform magnificently, but they have been studying us carefully,” she said. “They understand that we possess a technological advantage, and they haven’t been standing still. Gradually, the gap between our capabilities and our nearest competitors is shrinking.”

By opening areas up to competition, especially in the space launch realm, James said she believes the Air Force can find both cost savings and technological advances.

“In my experience, both in government and industry, competition always drives down costs and improves innovation,” she said. “We want both. We want less cost and we want more innovation. We also want a third very important thing – mission assurance.”

Processes are in practice to ensure the Air Force is getting the most bang for its buck in all mission areas, but James said it’s the Airmen who are the key to making the mission a success.

“I’m a true believer ... that our Airmen are what are going to keep our Air Force the best on the planet,” she said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that we’re going to have work really, really hard, because the most vital part of our strategic advantage ... the most vital part that no adversary will ever be able to touch – is the pride and the dedication and the passion of our Airmen of today, and we’ve got to make sure that we strengthen that for tomorrow.”

Engage

Twitter
Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to @INGuardsman participate in close air support training. TACPs provide… https://t.co/BcyiAmfFmV
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: The @140Wg became the first ANG unit to successfully execute an agile combat employment exercise while at @Buckley_AFB. T…
Twitter
“I’m a dental tech who became Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force...be dreamers – dream big.” - @CSMAF_Officialhttps://t.co/AKSjyQNq4s
Twitter
A C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 317th Airlift Wing flies during a Joint Forcible Entry exercise at Dyess… https://t.co/t3VXu0ZYWj
Twitter
Pentagon staff applaud @cmsaf_official as he exits the Pentagon for the last time as Chief Master Sgt. of the Air… https://t.co/c9RXsc3lAO
Twitter
Join us for the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force transition ceremony LIVE from @Andrews_JBA on Aug 14 at 9:30AM E… https://t.co/GfPIHkx0zn
Twitter
An @EdwardsAFB B-52H Stratofortress completed a captive-carry flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Respon… https://t.co/HxxgE2In8C
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Just arrived to @NellisAFB to see RED FLAG, the #USAF Weapons School, and more. Because it has the best #Airmen and trai…
Twitter
“It’s no overstatement to say that brilliant ideas combined with trailblazing Airmen makes today’s Air Force the mo… https://t.co/qsDWN2Den5
Twitter
An F-22 Raptor aircraft assigned to the 3rd Wing approaches for landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson during R… https://t.co/EMKHnjC6p0
Twitter
A C-130H from the 302nd Airlift Wing, equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, flies over fires near… https://t.co/9BPVXNFual
Twitter
Roam Robotics developed a lightweight & inexpensive knee exoskeleton for applications in the health, military & rec… https://t.co/7klpyEaYG1
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: |RESOLUTE PARTNERSHIPS| On Aug. 6, 2020, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and @AirMobilityCmd units were called to action to p…
Twitter
A C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Lewis-McChord flies over the Seattle skyline after completing a training exe… https://t.co/4IodNs1bId
Twitter
#DYK The T-33A Shooting Star at Moody AFB's air park was developed from the single-seat F-80 fighter by lengthening… https://t.co/XXY3pAHDzu
Twitter
A C-17 Globemaster III returns to @TeamCharleston after evacuating to Ellsworth AFB. Ellsworth has a support agree… https://t.co/vtHhp1ETVC
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: #OTD in 1949, the DOD was formed, unifying the military under the secretary of defense. Our thanks to everyone who serve…
Twitter
Starting off the week with some air power! . An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 3rd Wing takes off from Joint Base Elme… https://t.co/cjvCe6fSOk
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: “We need out-of-the-box thinkers to succeed in our mission of developing the base of the future,” said Brig. Gen. Patrice Mel…
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
1,266,325
Follow Us