Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: Outstanding Airmen of the Year

Each year, 12 airmen are selected by the office of the CMSAF as the best enlisted personnel in the Air Force. They stand out among their peers for their superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. AFA proudly honors these Outstanding Airmen at its annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition!

The OAY program was initiated at the Air Force Association's 10th annual national Convention, held in New Orleans in 1956. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, a general officer and selected Major Command chiefs form the selection board. The Air Force Chief of Staff reviews the selections. The Twelve Outstanding Airmen are awarded the Outstanding Airmen ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airmen badge for one year. They also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year. [More about the history of the OAY program can be found here:]

While the OAY is honored at the annual Conference with a reception and ceremony, they are also escorted to an exclusive five-day program that includes visits with Air Force Leaders, professional development workshops, a tour of DC, visits with congressional representatives and other special events throughout the nation’s capital.
2010 Outstanding Airmen of the Year 

The 2010 OAY winners  represented every region from this country, from a combat control craftsman with the 21st Special Tactics Squadron in Pope AFB, NC to a financial management journeyman from 56th Comptroller Squadron, Luke AFB, AZ. These men and women represent the very best in their fields, having demonstrated exceptional commitment and performance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: Maj Gen Margaret Woodward

The Air & Space Conference attracts top military leaders, including the commanders of every USAF command.

Photo courtesy of
But Major General Margaret H. Woodward isn’t just the Commander of 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa (based out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany). During Operation Odyssey Dawn, Gen Woodward coordinated the air component of the U.S. contribution to the no-fly zone over Libya, in an effort to halt pressures from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Such a role has now etched her forever into the history books as the first woman to receive such a senior combat role.

Gen Woodward coordinated the air campaign from March 19 to April 4, after which NATO took over.

Woodward’s Air Force career, which began in 1983, includes a variety of operational and staff positions, including command at the squadron, group and wing levels. She flew and commanded in operations Just Cause, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. She has more than 3,8000 hours as a pilot, having been involved in wars in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Her current command serves as the Air Component for U.S. Africa Command and has responsibility for all Air Force activities in the Africa theater spanning 53 countries, 11 million square miles and more than 900 million people.

Prior to her current assignment, General Woodward was Vice Commander, 18th Air Force, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. She has also served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Director of Protocol and military assistant, and she was the Deputy Director for Colonel Matters, Air Force Senior Leader Management Office, Washington, D.C.

Woodward was born in 1960 and grew up in India and Pakistan, where her father worked for the United States Agency for International Development.

Check back later this week for more highlights of this year’s conference!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gen Hoffman speaks at June session of AFA Air Force Breakfast Series

Science and Technology; Acquisitions; Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E); and Sustainment are the four major issues of Air Force Materiel Command, said Gen Donald Hoffman at today’s AFA Air Force Breakfast Series session.

Gen Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, oversees the 75,000 people who manage $59 billion annually while providing the acquisition management services and logistics support required to develop, procure and sustain Air Force weapon systems.

High-velocity penetrating weapons, reusable launch vehicles (RLVs, which are space vehicles designed to perform multiple missions) and tackling cyber are all on Gen Hoffman’s agenda for improving science and technology within his Command, realizing being technically prepared for the future is the number one major issue. Current research includes the exploration of nano technology, GPS-independent way of navigation.

Hoffman’s second major issue was acquisitions, with the goals being to maintain low protest rates (currently at a fraction of 1 percent), explore strategic opportunities, and stay on a path of controlling costs. Hoffman spotlighted the KC46 as a model of how other acquisitions may be done in the future, in which the process included establishing a firm, fixed price for development and obtaining data rights early on.

A goal for RDT&E: universal armament interfaces (interchangeable parts so all platforms can handle all weapons). To keep the Joint Star Fighter program running at top performance, operating air forces worldwide are implementing various upgrading programs and receiving the latest software.

“People, parts and process” are the core of sustainment, Hoffman said, in regards to his last major issue. Sustainment hit a highpoint in 2007, but has seen a downfall since as aircraft continue to age and budget restraints continue to emerge. However, procedures are now “trending in the right direction.” New policies have helped the depots “man up” to a new level, which were previously shorthanded. And high-velocity maintenance is allowing the total time aircraft are out of the warfight to be considerably shorter, changing the process of mending, upgrading and fixing planes and equipment.  

Check back later this week on AFA’s main site for transcripts of this event!