Air Force

November 15, 2013

People First – November 15, 2013

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.

Service chiefs testify on risks of sequestration

As they face the prospect of another year of deep cuts to their budgets, the military’s service chiefs testified Nov. 7 before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the impact sequestration is having on the ability to organize, train and equip their service members.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos told lawmakers sequestration portends a hollow force, greater risk of coercion and fewer options to handle global adversaries.

Odierno urged all military leaders and lawmakers to keep foremost in their minds the impact budget shortfalls have on soldiers who are asked to protect the nation.

“They are national treasures and their sacrifices cannot be taken for granted,” Odierno said. “They are not chess pieces to be moved upon a board. Each and every one is irreplaceable.”

 

CSAF launches initiative to improve communication

As part of a series of recent efforts to enhance communication with Airmen, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III released the first of a new video series called “Airman to Airman.”

With all the issues facing the department over the last year, Welsh said the videos serve as an opportunity to inform Airmen on the challenges ahead, but more importantly, to help them understand the logic behind certain decisions.

“This is about keeping you informed about what the Air Force’s position is on certain issues and challenges,” Welsh said. “We must do better at communicating these issues with our Airmen, they need to hear the whys and understand the reasons decisions are being made.”

In his first message, Welsh talks about one of the repercussions of sequestration – becoming a smaller Air Force.

“How much smaller remains to be seen … it will be a balance between capability, capacity and readiness that we’re going to be walking through the next 10 years,” Welsh says in the video.

The “Airman to Airman” videos will be distributed on af.mil, the Air Force Portal and various social media platforms.

 

AF leader says vets to thank for nation’s success

The United States of America’s success is rooted in the sacrifice of millions of veterans who have served it, a senior Air Force leader said Monday at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Hoog, Air Force assistant vice chief of staff and keynote speaker at a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony, praised those who served in the armed forces to an audience of approximately 100 veterans, service members, family members and military supporters.

During his speech, Hoog stressed the importance veterans have played in America’s past and present.

“Our nation’s success is founded in the sacrifice of the generations who served before us,” Hoog said. “We honor and thank the more than 22 million American veterans.”

Throughout his speech, Hoog made mention of several groups of veterans, who epitomize what it means to serve. He noted veterans serve in and out of uniform, to include teachers, civic leaders, fire fighters and police officers.

“Service doesn’t stop when you stop wearing the (military) uniform,” Hoog said. “Many times our veterans provide even greater service when they leave the (military) uniform behind.”

 

CSAF discusses opening communications with China

Opening up lines of communication with China is good for the United States, the region and the world, the Air Force chief of staff said Wednesday.

Gen. Mark Welsh III spoke about his recent trip to China with the Defense Writers Group Wednesday morning.

The general said he was treated very well by his counterpart and that his group may have benefited from a Chinese “charm offensive” following earlier meetings between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Welsh said he toured Chinese air bases and saw demonstrations by Chinese pilots. He was able to speak with Chinese pilots and got “up close and personal” with some Chinese aircraft, he said.

“My biggest takeaway was I think we can communicate — we can cooperate in a way that helps prevent misinformation and miscommunication [and] accidental confrontation,” Welsh said. “There are opportunities to continue that kind of engagement.”

Military-to-military contacts will never be the main pillar of the Sino-American relationship, he said.




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