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.
The Sea Services Leadership Association hosted the 27th Annual Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium June 12 and 13, to recognize the strengths and talents of women in the armed forces and discuss the unique aspects of being a female service member.
More than 800 U.S. and international service members from all branches attended the two-day event, which featured keynote speakers, an awards luncheon, professional development sessions and service-specific forums.
In conjunction with the conference’s theme, “Why Do You Serve,” guest speakers expanded on aspects of military lifestyle that impact women the most, challenges that are unique to female service members, as well as lessons from their careers and life experiences.
The first day of the symposium began with opening remarks from retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry, Coast Guard director of incident management and preparedness policy. She spoke about the history and evolution of women in the military and government departments.
Landry also offered advice and insight relating to why she chose to serve, and how it relates to women currently serving in the military.
Several factors have resulted in fewer Airmen eligible for current and upcoming involuntary force management boards.
Air Force leaders recently decided to bolster manning for nuclear-related career fields, an intention to make adjustments to account for budgetary uncertainties tied to proposed force structure changes. Those actions, coupled with previously approved voluntary applications and recent increases in nonforce management related retirements and separations, resulted in significant reductions in the number of Airmen slated to meet involuntary boards.
The Air Force approach to force management has been to maximize voluntary opportunities first, offer additional incentives where needed and use involuntary separation only as required. Newly publicized matrices on myPers reflect this strategy and show the resulting reductions from when the programs were first announced in January. In total, the programs have gone from having almost 98,000 Airmen eligible for involuntary programs down to approximately 13,500 officers and enlisted Airmen who remain eligible for involuntary separation. Individual adjustments to each involuntary program are discussed below.
The Air Force is fully engaged in planning efforts to provide options for the situation in Iraq and is ready to provide its capabilities if necessary, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said June 17.
Speaking to the Defense Writers Group, the Air Force’s top official acknowledged the importance of the situation in Iraq.
The president, she said, has asked his national security team to provide options, including military options, for the situation.
The secretary discussed the capabilities the Air Force could bring to what she called “such an illustrative situation,” noting that the service always is involved in airlift and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Assets in the Middle East, she said, include F-15E Strike Eagle F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-22 Raptor fighter jets; KC-135 Stratotanker air refuelers; A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets; B-1 Lancer bombers; C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft; and unmanned aerial systems.
While elements of the Air Force are always prepared to meet the country’s readiness needs, total force readiness has deteriorated, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the Defense Writers Group June 18.
Nearing the six-month mark of her term as the Air Force’s top official, James touched on appropriately balancing the readiness of the force as part of her three top priorities.
Parts of our Air Force are enormously ready at all times, James said, and those are the ones that would be put forward first.
James said the readiness of tomorrow means the platforms and technologies of tomorrow. “You know we have our three top acquisitions programs,” she said. “We have other programs as well, and we’ve got to appropriately invest in those so that 10, 20, 30 years from now, we remain the world’s best Air Force.”
Getting that balance correct is important, James said, but it is a difficult business, because it all comes down to money and where it will be spent in a tough budget environment.