Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Blog Post on Secretary Donley's State of the Air Force

Guess blogger Liz Scott gives us feedback on Secretary Michael B. Donley's session on the State of the Air Force:

Secretary Michael B. Donley, along with Gen Schwartz, leads over 690,000 total force airmen was introduced as the "Perfect Gentleman" and the right man to be leading our Air Force during these times, by AFA Chairman of the Board, Sandy Schlitt.

Secretary Donley began by thanking two men for their tremendous contributions and impact to the Air Force. They will be retiring from the Air Force this year. Mr. Bill Davidson, who has served for 43 years, and Maj Gen Al Flowers, who has served for 46 years, the longest service in SAF history.

Secretary Donley outlined the challenges and path ahead for our Air Force. He emphasized Air Force men and women have been in combat for two decades and have never faltered. While continued operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and against Al Qaeda, the Air Force has also "rapidly and successfully" responded to unexpected events in Libya, Japan, and wildfires and hurricanes in the US. "Airmen make us exceedingly proud, each and every day."

He spoke about the budget issues and how dealing with a declining budget will result in a balanced force. If the Air Force is too large, we risk the lack of readiness and training. If the Air Force is too small, we risk the loss of flexibility and ability to respond to new operations. If we do not focus on modernization, we may lose our technical edge and if we focus too much on modernization, we risk the size of our force being too small. This is why it is all about balance!

Secretary Donley stressed that there is much work ahead and we look ten years into the future. He emphasized the Air Force must remain focused on its strategic and key capabilities and never turn its back on its members. "The Air Force is committed to keeping faith with our airmen and families." he said with the budget cuts and determining a balanced force, the leaders have the right to use their "best military judgment." He assured there will be careful consideration with retirement benefits in order to keep a motivated and capable force.

The Air Force's core competencies must be safeguarded. With air superiority, "holding any target in the world at risk," he stated that we rely on the 5th generation strike fighter and the F-35 program "must succeed."

No matter what, the Air Force must remain ready, Secretary Donley stated. "We have always and will continue to always be a forward leaning service. Our flexibility to changing needs enables the Air Force to protect the US today and in the future." The Air Force will "continue to be a force to be reckoned with."

Americans do not give up and the Air Force reflects this spirit! AFA continues to be an advocate for our Air Force, Airmen and families.

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