HomeNewsArticle Display

James focused on diversity, emerging threats, space

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James answers questions during the Center for a New American Security panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016.  James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James answers questions during the Center for a New American Security panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016. James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Michele Flournoy, the Center for a New American Security founder, introduces Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James during a CNAS panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016. James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Michele Flournoy, the Center for a New American Security founder, introduces Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James during a CNAS panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016. James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James answers questions during the Center for a New American Security panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016. James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James answers questions during the Center for a New American Security panel moderated by Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon Correspondent, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 24, 2016. James shared the panel with Army Secretary Eric Fanning and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James joined the secretaries of the Army and Navy for a “conversation with the service secretaries” panel hosted by the Center for a New American Security here Oct. 24.

During the panel, James discussed the Air Force’s continued focus on diversity and inclusion, its contributions to the current counter-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant operations, and the importance of the next presidential administration’s focus on space.

According to James, diversity and inclusion enhances the Air Force’s decision-making and operational capabilities, ultimately making Airmen more innovative and effective.

Diverse teams -- people who come from different backgrounds, thought processes and disciplines tackling a problem together -- bring the greatest innovation, James explained, adding that hiring diverse individuals from different walks of life into the services, whether uniformed or military, is one of the key parameters of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s Force of the Future initiative.

In areas such as cyberspace, the Air Force is recruiting cyber professionals from private sectors to serve part time in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.
“If you can attract some of these top-notch cyber professionals in private industry to also serve part time in Guard and Reserve units, the individual can have it both ways,” James said. “They can keep their civilian job but also have the opportunity participate in a fantastic and very important mission.”

The ability to innovate and adapt to emerging threats quickly is critical in today’s security environment, she added.

This was proven during a recent event in the Middle East, where the Air Force is seeing emerging danger with respect to unmanned aerial systems.

Two weeks ago, two coalition members were killed and two were wounded by a small unmanned aerial system that had explosives. As a result, when “the Air Force, in theater, was informed that there was an unmanned aerial system in the vicinity … we were able to bring it down … with electronic measures,” James said, adding that it’s not necessarily the development of new things but instead taking what capabilities the Air Force already has and packaging it in a new way.

James also addressed the difficulty of advancing agendas in reference to sequestration and continuing resolutions, and she stands firm in her the belief that the new presidential administration should quickly decide if the Defense Department should stay the course on its current space investments.

“Some years ago we thought space was a peaceful domain, today we recognize that it is both contested and congested by lots of satellites, debris and all sorts of things,” James said. “Space is terribly important and we have to make some decisions going forward.”

Even with these challenges, the Air Force stands ready to accept the call to provide airpower.
“If we get called upon … make no mistake we will go and we will do the job,” she said.

The entire panel conversation is available here.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Chilean air force medical health officers visited @JBSA_Official to gain a better understanding of Critical Care Ai… https://t.co/BvNjAiZ4Ro
RT @FLOTUS: Wonderful to be in Hangar 789 with many service members & their families at @JBLEnews! Our prayers remain with all those servin…
Making an educated choice today may pay dividends tomorrow. If you’re on the fence about opting into… https://t.co/UKk1KHJdJ2
.@AF_Academy cadets, aerospace instructors & industry partners are working to develop the @DeptofDefense’s first la… https://t.co/EDGsCooprz
Space Flag is the premier space exercise in the @DeptofDefense & it's taking place right now! This exercise keeps… https://t.co/Bj4E1bp37Y
With #ancestry deeply rooted in both U.S. armed forces & the #Navajo tribe, this @Whiteman_AFB #Airman has joined h… https://t.co/mlAO7OqBCJ
F-35 #pilots @EdwardsAFB fly more than 30 missions during the @DeptofDefense's #F35 Lightning II initial Operationa… https://t.co/NVPdPeKwve
#TotalForce #Airmen conduct C-5 Super Galaxy maintenance training, ensuring transient aircraft get the maintenance… https://t.co/c1m9LXOzo6
Brig. Gen. Edward L. Vaughan co-leads the #USAF's Joint Physiological Episodes Action Team, a team tasked with the… https://t.co/XHKLhkdybg
#ICYMI: Yesterday @SecAFOfficial congratulated @senorrinhatch for his 40+ years of public service & commitment to t… https://t.co/O8tXEeentT
Staff Sgt. Torri Olivieri, dental services NCOIC, conducts a teeth cleaning in Southwest Asia, Dec. 7. While deploy… https://t.co/4Q1bksCdUt
Beating the odds: After losing half a lung, one adrenal gland, and his spleen, @WVNationalGuard Chaplain completes… https://t.co/JoGKzWA6kI
The 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Bagram Airfield performed jump training Dec. 2. These #Airmen train durin… https://t.co/u43PDof3XP
A joint water rescue training between the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron & North Star Volunteer Fire Department of… https://t.co/OBBO1i3qrJ
It’s #B2uesday! The B-2 brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previousl… https://t.co/W8AcYPfMIU
.@SecAFOfficial met w/more then 75 executive MBA students from @BerkeleyHaas today. Wilson spoke to the students to… https://t.co/rnFoCboXaH
25 tons of critical supplies airdropped to 56 Micronesian islands, impacting 20k+ people! Learn about the #Airmenhttps://t.co/vHexI85jOc
#DYK: @Norad_Northcom is responsible for tracking every flight over the U.S. and #Canada. They’re so serious about… https://t.co/OkzBo0t2hR