James shares priorities with USAFE-AFAFRICA

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Hines
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talked with U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Airmen and civilians during an all call here June 19.

"I want to give you a little bit of a Washington update, talk to you about the three priorities and tell you about what I'm doing here in Europe," James said.

The secretary is about halfway through her European visit, discussing both bilateral and multilateral issues with U.S. partners and allies, focusing on enhancing military relationships as well discussing the changing threats that many nations are collectively facing around the world.

"All of you are truly at the cutting edge of the most important issues that we are dealing with, both as the United States of America and as part of these alliances and partnerships that we share.

"This is a whirlwind trip, it has been fantastic and it has reinforced to me just how important the U.S. military presence in Europe is," she said.

James shared her three priorities that have been the cornerstone of her time since taking on the role of secretary of the Air Force just over a year and a half ago.

"No. 1: taking care of people," she said. "I have been in the business of defense for my entire professional life and what I have learned in every single job I've had is the importance of people."

James stressed finding balance in the readiness of today and the readiness of tomorrow in her second point.

"These are areas we are trying to invest in," she stated, noting the efforts to increase the budget for readiness across the force.

James' third priority, make every dollar count, echoed the savings program inspired by Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer, emphasizing how the military acts as stewards of taxpayers' money.

The secretary gave the example of smarter spending by building in better affordability in modernization and future programs.

James ended her briefing thanking USAFE-AFAFRICA Airmen for the work.

"Continue to do the terrific job you're doing ... thank you, thank you, thank for being forward, ready, now."

Gen. Frank Gorenc, the USAFE-AFAFRICA commander, gave final remarks praising the hard work of James.

"That was an exceptional summary of all the things that our secretary has to deal with," Gorenc said.

"We appreciate greatly your enthusiasm for our Air Force, and with the recognition that we are America's asymmetric advantage, and without airpower -- you lose," he said.