Defense

January 15, 2014

New SecAF to Airmen: With change comes opportunity

Tags:
SSgt. David Salanitri
Air Force News

Air Force photograph by Jim Varhegyi Air Force photograph by Jim Varhegyi
The Air Forces most senior leader gave insight into her life and shared career advice with Airmen across the Air Force during her first town hall Jan. 9.

Speaking from the Pentagon auditorium, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spoke about her 32 years of defense experience, passing on lessons shes learned, and encouraging Airmen to view challenges as opportunities.

James, who grew up along the New Jersey shore, originally came to Washington D.C. with her lifelong dream of becoming a diplomat for the State Department.

But that dream job never happened.

I prepared all these years, and now the dream was busted, James said. boy, was it devastating.

With a signed lease, James had to stay in the city and figure out a way to move on with her career.
You have to pull up your socks and get on with it, James said. That was when my dream shifted. I had to zig-zag in life.

In 1981, James began her career in the field of defense.

Now, more than three decades later, that is where I have spent my professional life, James said of her experience, which includes everything from working for the Department of Defense to a related private sector industry.

James said her swearing in as the Air Forces 23rd secretary is the culmination of that period, noting that not receiving what she thought was her dream job may have been a blessing in disguise.

James offered her story as an opportunity to talk to Airmen about how they approach their own career challenges today, particularly in the face of significant personnel cuts, forcing many to reconsider career opportunities.

The projections are up to 25,000 reductions in personnel and hundreds of aircraft will come down as well, James said.

With these cuts, James encourages commanders and supervisors to go make the first move, and help their Airmen.

Reach out to them, go on the offense, and give them some advice, said James, who encouraged mentorship throughout her address.

A theme in James short tenure as secretary has been opportunity. Opportunity is what set James on the path of working for the Department of Defense.

One door closes, another door opens, James said.

For Airmen who are looking to retire early or separate, or are worried they may be selected for involuntary separation, James encourages them to be proactive in their career, and to own it.

If you dont have enough information about your specialty and what is likely to happen in your career field, go on the offensive and ask questions until you get answers, James said.

Although budget uncertainty means the numbers remain fluid right now, James pledged that senior leaders will strive to be as open with information as possible. Her goal is to disclose as much information as possible, as quickly as possible.

Were going to be transparent, James said. Thats our job. And get you as much information as possible so you can make those career decisions.

James, who was formally sworn in Dec. 20, 2013, implores Airmen to own their careers, whether thats as a member of the Air Force, or outside of the service.

Manage your own career and take the reins so you can make a good judgment and proceed in your career, James said. Seize the opportunity. Dont be afraid of the opportunity. Youll be better off for it.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines March 23, 2015

News: Obama says more troops will stay in Afghanistan next year - President Obama March 24 formally abandoned his pledge to bring U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan down to 5,000 by the end of this year, saying the current force of about 10,000 will remain there into 2016.   Business: U.S. special ops to sole-source 2,000...
 
 

News Briefs March 25, 2015

Pentagon notifying U.S. troops named by alleged IS hackers The Pentagon said March 23 it is notifying 100 U.S. military members that their names and addresses were posted on the Internet by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division. The group said it was posting the information, including photos of the individuals, to...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Lockheed Martin acquires high-speed wind tunnel, plans upgrades

Courtesy photograph A RATTLRS cruise-missile inlet undergoes testing at the High Speed Wind Tunnel at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie. Lockheed Martin recently purchased the facility and plans numerou...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andrew McMurtrie

Off they go: Three more C-130Js delivered

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andrew McMurtrie March 19, a U.S. Air Force crew took delivery of and ferried an MC-130J Commando II Special Operations tanker aircraft that is assigned to Air Force Special Operations Command’s ...
 
 

Northrop to provide DIRCM for Canadian Chinook fleet

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the Royal Canadian Air Force to provide infrared missile protection on its fleet of CH-147F Chinooks. “Battle-tested in the harshest conditions and in use around the world, Northrop Grumman’s infrared countermeasure systems have been protecting warfighters for more than 50 years,” said Carl Smith, vice president, infrared countermeasures, ...
 
 

UTC Aerospace awarded contract for surface ship sonar domes

UTC Aerospace Systems has received a contract from the Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane, Indiana, to provide sonar domes for surface combat ships. The five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract is valued at up to $39 million and covers deliveries through 2020 to the U.S. Navy and foreign military sales. In addition to the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>