Tag Archives: afa

America’s Airmen: Space and Cyber Operations

Air Force Social Media

Around the world and at home, America’s Airmen bring critical airpower capabilities to bear against the most pressing national security challenges. Incredible advances are made every day to strengthen those capabilities through the combined efforts of Airmen and aerospace nation partners.

During the 2015 Air Force Association Air And Space Conference, the America’s Airmen exhibit highlighted core missions of Airmen across the globe in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, space and special operations.

Today’s booth put the spotlight on Airmen working in the cyber and space operations career fields. We talked with Capt. Brian Belongia, 90th Information Operations Squadron assistant director of operations at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to learn a bit about cyber operations career field.

America’s Airmen: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

By Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie
Air Force Social Media

Around the world and at home, America’s Airmen bring critical airpower capabilities to bear against the most pressing national security challenges. Incredible advances are made everyday to strengthen those capabilities through the combined efforts of Airmen and aerospace nation partners.

During the 2015 Air Force Association Air And Space Conference, the America’s Airmen exhibit is highlighting core missions of Airmen across the globe in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, space and special operations.

First on the surveillance radar is the ISR community’s Staff Sgt. Zacharie Lacourse. SSgt. Lacourse is assigned to the ISR directorate at Osan Air Force Base, Republic of Korea. Lacourse is a combat plans and exercises planner, conducting planning for two of the largest command post exercises in the world. Additionally he validates wartime augmentation plans for deployment of ISR forces to wartime locations.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for highlights on space operations Airmen.

CMSAF showcases Airmen on final day of AFA conference

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

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The third and final day of the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., was led by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody.

Winnefeld discussed the impact of sequestration on the military’s ability to meet its mission requirements and emphasized the Air Force’s role in national security. Welsh led a panel of Air Force senior leaders who answered a variety of questions on Air Force issues. Lastly, Cody shared his views on the service’s enlisted force and lauded Airmen for their contributions and achievements.

The day started with Winnefeld discussing the effect of the nation’s current fiscal challenges on military readiness.

“We need to balance our national security interests, the way the military goes about defending those interests and the financial means we use to defend those interests,” Winnefeld said. “We owe it to the taxpayer to always search for ways to become more efficient. It’s time for us to lean this business out, or we won’t have the means to protect this nation.”

Winnefeld praised the Air Force and its leadership for continuing to find innovative ways to balance operational requirements and stay combat-ready.

“If the Air Force were a stock, I’d be buying it right now,” he said. “Aim high, and give the Air Force the backing they need. Fly, fight and win.”

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National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Frank Grass followed up Winnefeld with a discussion about the future of the Guard as budget constraints change what resources they have to perform their diverse mission.

“Our mission hasn’t changed, but our vision is probably at risk because of sequestration,” Grass said.

According to Grass, the Guard’s operational forces include homeland operations, deployments, exercises and creating individual opportunities for Guardsmen to serve in other joint capacities.

“They want to maintain their relevance and be a resource to the Air Force and the nation,” he said.

One of Grass’s priorities is for the Guard to act as a responsible steward of the bureau’s resources.

“We must consolidate and prioritize our programs,” Grass said. “We have to re-double our efforts to be accountable for everything and everyone. We must take care of our people and organizations and support and sustain the National Guard community.”

Welsh and more than 10 other senior Air Force leaders answered a variety of questions about sequestration, science and technology, acquisitions, modernization, training, leadership and other issues.

Welsh stated he would like every commander and supervisor to feel like they are part of the decision-making process.

“We need commanders to command, supervisors to supervise and Airmen to lead,” Welsh said. “Common sense is the first standard we need to apply.”

Gen. Edward Rice, Air Education and Training commander, said he would like to see new training platforms for pilots to gain more insight into the Air Force’s next generation aircraft.

“We need a new, advanced trainer to be ready for a 5th generation system to continue to provide world class education and training for our Airmen,” Rice said.

CMSAF speaks about enlisted perspective
During Cody’s session to discuss the service’s enlisted force, his messages focused squarely on how Airmen are helping the Air Force win the fight, strengthening the team and shaping the future.

“Our Airmen are our greatest asset,” Cody said. “Airmen equal airpower, and we bring them in from across the globe. They all have great stories.”

Cody said he is immediately bringing Roll Call back to the Air Force to deliver messages to the field from senior Air Force leadership for Airmen to use as a topic of discussion when they gather for daily or weekly meetings.

PHOTO 1: Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh hosted a senior leader forum during the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

PHOTO 2: Army Gen. Frank Grass leads a discussion about today’s National Guard at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Technology Exposition Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Grass is the chief of the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya)

PHOTO 3: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody discusses why deliberately developing Airmen is more important than ever at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Cody says training, education and experience are required to effectively develop Airmen. Cody’s role is to provide direction for the USAF enlisted corps and represent their interests to those in all levels of government. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Air & Space Conference Daily Wrap-up (Day 3)

This is the daily blog from the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2009. Master Sgt. Russell Petcoff is blogging from the site.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

The third and final day of the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exhibition started big. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave a speech. Word was the secretary was going to make a big announcement. He received applause after he commented on KC-X, the next generation aerial refueling tanker.

“Finally, I am pleased to announce that source selection authority is returning  to the Air Force for the KC-X refueling tanker,” Secretary Gates said. “I don’t need to belabor the importance of getting this done and done right, and my office will continue to have a robust oversight role. We are committed to the integrity of the selection process, and cannot afford the kind of letdowns, parochial squabbles, and corporate food-fights that have bedeviled this effort in the past.

“I have confidence that the KC-X selection authority is in good hands with the service’s leadership team of Secretary [Michael] Donley and General [Norton] Schwartz,” Secretary Gates added.

The secretary complimented the efforts of all Airmen during his address for their “achievements we cherish.”
“Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of Airmen have gone about their duties – usually unheralded, and unrecognized by the usual metric of medals and media coverage,” the secretary said. “Often they are on the ground, in the dirt, and sometimes under fire – doing their jobs without fail and without complaint. More than 100 have made the supreme sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The secretary highlighted how Airmen who are supporting ground troops “have made a life or death difference.” To illustrate, Secretary Gates told the story of Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Horton, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

“Sergeant Horton destroyed more than seven tons of enemy explosives while deployed to Iraq in the hair-raising vocation of [explosive ordnance disposal] technician,” Secretary Gates said. “His expertise with the tactics of enemy bombers led to the capture of six bomb makers in the Kirkuk region. In one instance, he pulled our injured soldiers from a vehicle after an [improvised explosive device] attack, and then cleared the extraction zone to medevac the wounded, earning a Bronze Star for his efforts.”

Briefings galore
Today featured a lot of briefings by Air Force leaders. Thirteen Air Force generals sat down and held a four-star forum. Later in the day, Chief Master Sgt. James Roy gave a briefing. The story about Chief Roy’s briefing is still being written. Check back at www.af.mil to see what he had to say.

Useful give-away
Picking up give-aways in the exhibition hall is one way to help pass the time between briefings. The other day I wrote about the “sticky brain.” The vendor today gave out mini lava lamps. An Air Force laboratory offered up pens in the shape of a giant chili pepper. One vendor had a big hit. They gave away protective rubber skins for a popular brand of smart phone that seems to be tethered to every officer. One lieutenant colonel said it was the best give away as she clicked away on another message. Now, that company really knows its audience.

Air & Space Conference Daily Wrap-up (Day 2)

This is the daily blog from the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2009. Master Sgt. Russell Petcoff is blogging daily from the site until Sept. 16.

Air Force public affairs professionals are working hard to get information out to Airmen concerning the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2009. In addition to traditional methods of written stories, photographs and video stories, they are using such tools as this blog and Twitter.

“Social media is just another tool in our communication toolkit,” said Capt. Chris Sukach, Air Force Public Affairs Agency emerging technology chief. “Twitter allows us to provide real-time updates to our audience while receiving immediate feedback from them. It provides the opportunity for more people to engage in conversations about their Air Force.”

Tomorrow, we will be Twittering from a couple of presentations. They include:
• Secretary of Defense Update, by Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert M. Gates, 9 a.m.
• The Current and Future National Guard, by Gen. Craig R. McKinley, 11:25 a.m.
• The Enlisted Force, by Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, 3:20 p.m.

All times are Eastern Standard Time.

People interested in following the tweets can look for one of several Air Force Twitter handles: http://twitter.com/US_Air_Force , @usairforce, @afpaa, @airforce, @airforcelive, @airforcenews and @USAFThunderbird.

In addition to Twitter, we will post updates of events to the Air Force’s official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USairforce.

Chief of Staff’s keynote address
Gen. Norton Schwartz, chief of staff of the Air Force, gave his keynote address at the second day of the AFA Conference.

During his address, General Schwartz spoke on his vision for the future, jointness, the Year of the Air Force family and honored heroic sacrifices of Airmen.

“A year ago, I spoke of a ‘back-to-basics’ approach for the Air Force, a bit of triage in which we had to recalibrate in critical areas where we had lost focus,” General Schwartz said.

“We navigated through a challenging but ultimately healthy period of inspection and introspection with a recommitment to our heritage of excellence,” he added.

Read my story here.

At the end of his address, General Schwartz honored a Korean War veteran. He presented Dolphin D. Overton III with the Distinguished Service Cross. Mr. Overton’s military records were not accurate due to clerical omissions. Recently, the Air Force Board for Corrections of Military Records updated Mr. Overton’s military records.

Watching the giant video screens, it was easy to see Mr. Overton overwhelmed with emotion at the presentation.

The DSC citation reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, has awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to (then) First Lieutenant Dolphin D. Overton III, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations as Group Leader of twenty-five F-84 type aircraft, 49th Bomber Wing, Fifth Air Force on 28 June 1952. On that date, Lt Overton’s group was diverted against a target of truck convoys discovered by a previous recce flight. Working in and through an overcast, Lt Overton planned and executed a very difficult attack, sequencing his aircraft in such a manner as to provide maximum coverage of the target with minimum risk from heavy ground fire. With disregard for his own safety, Lt Overton remained in enemy fire under the overcast so that he could visually direct the attacks and withdrawals. So successful was Lt Overton’s direction of the attack, that one hundred fifty trucks were destroyed and confirmed by photograph, making it one of the largest such strikes of the War. Lt Overton’s command of this strike in such adverse conditions and with such devastating results highlights his superb flying skill and extraordinary heroism in the face of fierce enemy opposition. Lieutenant Overton’s actions reflect great credit upon himself, the Far East Air Force, the United States Air Force and the United Nation’s Command. Signed, Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force and General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff.

Rock star general
Today there were a lot of Junior Air Force ROTC cadets in the hallways. For someone working in the Pentagon, seeing a general is somewhat old hat. Not for them. Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III, deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, received the rock star treatment. When he walked through the halls, cadets from Hampton (Va.) High School flocked around him to ask questions about the Air Force.

Meeting old friends
Opportunities to meet old co-workers continue on this second day of the conference. I ran into Lt. Col. John T. Thomas, public affairs officer for Air Force Global Strike Command. Colonel Thomas and I served together at International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2007. It was great meeting the colonel again. Gave him a “sticky brain” I wrote about yesterday which he seemed to appreciate.