March 18 Tweetchat with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James conducted her second tweet chat March 18, providing insights on a variety of topics in today’s Air Force including diversity, modernization, force management and more. In case you couldn’t participate, here’s a summary of what was covered.

@SecAF23: Thanks for joining in my 2nd tweet chat! I’m ready to update you on a few things & answer your questions. Use #SecAFChat to participate.

@SecAF23: Whenever possible I want to hear from Airmen directly. That’s why these tweet chats are so important to me.

@SecAF23: 1/3 This afternoon, I’m heading to the Hill to present the AF posture to the #SASC with @GenMarkWelsh

@SecAF23: 2/3 We’ll continue to educate about the impact of sequestration on today’s, as well as future readiness.

@SecAF23: 3/3 We are working hard to meet combatant commanders’ most urgent needs & execute the Defense Strategic Guidance.

Q1: I’m concerned there is no alternative if BCA regenerates (probable). Is there a contingency FY16 budget? What will u cut?
A1: We hope so, but it’s Congress’s prerogative.

Q2: Is acquisition excellence still a thing? I’ve worked resources for years and it seems we’re moving away from, not to AE
A2: Yes. We’re working to bend the cost curve to get more for our $

Q3: I’m an AFcivilian @ pentagon noticed we’ve been in a thrifty environment the past few years do you see that changing?
A3: I expect we’ll be in an environment where we’ll have to make every $ count

Q4: How can I best share My Air Force Story on Twitter while complying with AF social media policies?
A4: Great parameters in the AF Social Media Guidebook:

Q5: In Dec you said there would be voluntary Force Mgt pgms rlsd early this year. Any idea when that’s coming? Asking for a friend.
A5: By exception, Airman can apply for sep in FY15 by directly contacting the Total Force Service Center for eligibility

Q6: What is the future of the A-10s?
A6: The A-10 retirement is sequestration-driven. A-10s will support global msns as long as they are in the inventory

Q7: The changes being made to EPR System will this give Amn with 4s opp to do special duties/OTS apptmnts as well?
A7: Selection for special duties & OTS will continue to be on best candidate basis.

Q8: Can you look into providing more financial help to the NCOs at AFROTC Dets. High cost areas away from bases is tough.
A8: Yes, please be sure to complete the annual Cost of Living Surveys as they help determine entitlements. Tell your friends to do so too!

@SecAF23: Today’s AF is the smallest, oldest & busiest ever. We must think differently to operate in this challenging environment

Q9: Will there be a release of guidance for the E7 promotion boards this May or when public release for 15E7 will take place
A9: Per standard practice, there will be advance guidance before the release takes place.

@SecAF23: We are striving to create a culture which fuels innovation for the airpower successes of the future.

@SecAF23: 1/2 I encourage all Total Force Airmen to participate in the Total Force Climate Survey that opened March 13.

@SecAF23: 2/2 We can only make improvements if we know what’s on your mind! The survey is open through April 27.

Q10: As an AFROTC cadet will it be more competitive to receive scholarships with the new budget?
A10: We’re continuing to fund scholarships at current levels with no reductions.

Q11: Can/when will the AF do a mass Manpower study to ensure Units are balanced correctly?
A11: Our MAJCOMS are currently completing a revalidation of all their current manpower requirements

@SecAF23: We have 5 minutes left in the tweet chat. Get in your final questions; if I can’t answer, I’ll be sure to follow up later

Q12: What is the USAF stance on LGBT and transgender?
A12: As I’ve said before, I feel anyone who’s qualified should be able to serve.

@SecAF23: I love getting to hear from you directly! Be sure to follow me to keep up w/me between chats

Below are some questions that we didn’t have a chance to answer during the chat:

Q13: Senators Kaine & Ayotte discussed BRAC politicization & viability @ hearing
w/ AsstSECAF Ballentine. What do you think?
A13: We strongly support DoD’s request for another rd of BRAC to reduce our 30% excess infrastructure capacity

Q14: The state of the industrial base for solid rocket motors, RVs, building maintaining new nuke warheads?
A14: More budget certainty aids increase in sustainment of current force until our modernization programs can replace current capabilities

Q15: Also the state of 6th Generation fighter program i.e. what technologies and
will we see defensive DEW on LRS-B?
A15: We define 6th Gen in terms of capabilities, not platforms–we are currently defining how to close adversarial capability gaps

Q16: I wasn’t aware that USAF had a problem attracting high quality officers; how does this fix it?
A16: Attracting & retaining the best Airmen is vital in the current operating environment; esp nuclear, cyber, mx, intel & ISR

Q17: Is SecAF’s diversity initiative really that bold or just a quick band aid on a lingering problem?
A17: Today’s AF is the smallest, oldest & busiest ever. We must think differently to operate in this challenging environment

Q18: Finally, since goals should be measurable, what metric & target value would you propose as the diversity objective?
A18: We are currently building our diversity & inclusion strategy. Establishing metrics and measures of success is part of that process.

Q19: There are others with the same issues. How can we better recognize these people with non-traditional USAF backgrounds?
Q19: (con’t) While building diversity, how do we avoid the perception of favoritism
A19: The #AirForce is focused on inclusion, b/c it creates a culture where all are free to contribute to group success w/o barriers.

Q20: Is the F22 raptor the best/most advanced air superiority fighter currently in service in the world?
A20: Our Airmen who maintain our aircraft are the best in world!

Q21: Why are we remodeling commissaries and building new structures when almost new ones suit perfectly fine?
A21: The Defense Commissary Agency would be the best to answer any questions about commissaries. You can reach out to them at @YourCommissary