Tag Archives: SECAF

Congrats USAFA class of 2015!

By Air Force Social Media

The energy was electric at Falcon Stadium as 840 cadets graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy May 28, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presided over the ceremony, and told the new officers that they are the next generation of Air Force leaders, and they will play important roles in the future of the service.
Browse through the photo gallery below to get an inside look at many of the highlights from class of 2015’s graduation.










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.

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

Senior leaders send Airmen, families birthday best

The Air Force celebrates 66 years.Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody issued the following message to the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

On the 66th birthday of the United States Air Force, we salute the dedicated Airmen who provide airpower for America.

From 1947 to today, Airmen have accomplished our Service’s core missions – air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control. We have evolved into a Service that carries out missions through air, space and cyberspace, but our core missions have remained constant. Advances in technology now allow us to fly faster, farther and higher than ever before. We use aircraft and spacecraft that no one could have imagined at our Service’s creation, and we continue to provide an asymmetric advantage for America.

Airmen have been and continue to be the strength of our Service. The U.S. Air Force was forged by airpower legends with names like Sijan, Levitow, Jones and Day. These heroes and many others made history, and their legacy continues as today’s Airmen write the history of this generation. Decades from now, the names of Airmen among us today will be as familiar as the names of the earlier heroes we celebrate.

America depends on the Airmen who provide Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power, and our remarkable Total Force of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Civilian Airmen has never failed to answer the Nation’s call. Please join us in proudly celebrating the 66th birthday of the U.S. Air Force. As always, we sincerely thank you and your families for all that you do.

Happy Birthday, Air Force!

Acting SECAF kicks off annual AFA conference

Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III helped kick off the Air Force Association’s three-day Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition today. This is the largest air and space conference in the United States and includes more than 60 forums, panels and other keynote presentations. The Air Force Public Affairs Agency Social Media Division will provide readers daily blog posts during the conference to highlight Air Force senior leaders’ key discussions.

Fanning started the morning by touting innovation as the fabric of the service’s past and future. The secretary also commented on other key topics ranging from F-35 Lightning II and KC-46 Tanker programs to cyber, sequestration, strategic guidance and the future of defense structure. He also praised Airmen for their flexibility and resiliency and is optimistic about the Air Force’s future because of the quality of people who make up the world’s greatest Air Force.

Betty Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff spouse, met with Air Force spouses and other family members during the AFA’s Spouse and Family Forum that focused on strengthening families by helping spouses overcome unique issues that come with military life. She also shared a couple personal stories about challenges the Welsh family faced during the chief of staff’s 36-year career.

The Command Chief Master Sergeants Forum addressed several audience topics including sequestration, sexual assault and leadership. While Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody was unable to attend, the chiefs in attendance spoke candidly and gave advice. Selfless leadership was a common theme among the panelists citing the purpose of developmental assignments as developing future Air Force leaders, not primarily helping Airmen improve personally. Selfless leadership also means getting to know your Airmen and their lives so that their potential can be maximized.

Some good advice for all Airmen was also offered. “You have to be open to all the opportunities,” Air Force Special Operations Command Command Chief William Turner said. “You’re getting experience. If your heart is in the right place and purposeful, good things will come.”

Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James Jackson took the opportunity to update conference attendees on his plan for maintaining a combat-ready force during fiscal challenges being felt by every service in the Department of Defense. Jackson went into great detail about the Reserve’s operational capabilities, strategic depth and surge capabilities. He also gave the audience an overview on the Reserve’s current force structure and how he believes total force integration will lead to better communication and daily operations with each Air Force component.

We’ll bring you more coverage from the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition tomorrow.

PHOTO 1: Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Air Force Association Chairman of the Board George K. Muellner kick off the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The conference highlights excellence and outstanding achievement of the Air Force’s finest with the national aerospace awards program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

PHOTO 2: Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning gives his keynote address at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

PHOTO 3: Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James Jackson discussed the state of the Reserves and Air Force Reserve Command at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

PHOTO 4: Command chief master sergeants from six major commands participated in a Command Chief Master Sergeants Forum at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Moving Beyond the F-22

This is an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post on April 13, 2009, written by Secretary Donley and General Schwartz.

The debate over whether to continue production of the F-22 Raptor has been one of the most politically charged and controversial budget issues in recent memory, spawning lobbying efforts that include contractor-sponsored newspaper ads and letter-writing campaigns.

The F-22 is, unquestionably, the most capable fighter in our military inventory. Its advantages include stealth and speed; while optimized for air-to-air combat, it also has a ground attack capability.

We assessed the issue from many angles, taking into account competing strategic priorities and complementary programs and alternatives — all balanced within the context of available resources.

We are often asked: How many F-22s does the Air Force need? The answer, of course, depends on what we are being asked to do. When the program began, late in the Cold War, it was estimated that 740 would be needed. Since then, the Defense Department has constantly reassessed how many major combat operations we might be challenged to conduct, where such conflicts might arise, whether or how much they might overlap, what are the strategies and capabilities of potential opponents, and U.S. objectives.

These assessments have concluded that, over time, a progressively more sophisticated mix of aircraft, weapons and networking capabilities will enable us to produce needed combat power with fewer platforms. As requirements for fighter inventories have declined and F-22 program costs have risen, the department imposed a funding cap and in December 2004 approved a program of 183 aircraft.

Based on different warfighting assumptions, the Air Force previously drew a different conclusion: that 381 aircraft would be required for a low-risk force of F-22s. We revisited this conclusion after arriving in office last summer and concluded that 243 aircraft would be a moderate-risk force. Since then, additional factors have arisen.

First, based on warfighting experience over the past several years and judgments about future threats, the Defense Department is revisiting the scenarios on which the Air Force based its assessment. Second, purchasing an additional 60 aircraft to get to a total number of 243 would create an unfunded $13 billion bill just as defense budgets are becoming more constrained.

This decision has increasingly become a zero-sum game. Within a fixed Air Force and overall Defense Department budget, our challenge is to decide among many competing needs. Buying more F-22s means doing less of something else. In addition to air superiority, the Air Force provides a number of other capabilities critical to joint operations for which joint warfighters have increasing needs. These include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and related needs in the space and cyber domains. We are also repairing years of institutional neglect of our nuclear forces, rebuilding the acquisition workforce, and taking steps to improve Air Force capabilities for irregular warfare.

It was also prudent to consider future F-22 procurement during the broader review of President Obama’s fiscal 2010 defense budget, rather than as an isolated decision. During this review, we assessed both the Air Force and Defense Department’s broader road maps for tactical air forces, specifically the relationship between the F-22 and the multi-role F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is in the early stages of production.

The F-22 and F-35 will work together in the coming years. Each is optimized for its respective air-to-air and air-to-ground role, but both have multi-role capability, and future upgrades to the F-22 fleet are already planned. We considered whether F-22 production should be extended as insurance while the F-35 program grows to full production. Analysis showed that overlapping F-22 and F-35 production would not only be expensive but that while the F-35 may still experience some growing pains, there is little risk of a catastrophic failure in its production line.

Much rides on the F-35’s success, and it is critical to keep the Joint Strike Fighter on schedule and on cost. This is the time to make the transition from F-22 to F-35 production. Within the next few years, we will begin work on the sixth-generation capabilities necessary for future air dominance.

We support the final four F-22s proposed in the fiscal 2009 supplemental request, as this will aid the long-term viability of the F-22 fleet. But the time has come to close out production. That is why we do not recommend that F-22s be included in the fiscal 2010 defense budget.

Make no mistake: Air dominance remains an essential capability for joint warfighting. The F-22 is a vital tool in the military’s arsenal and will remain in our inventory for decades to come. But the time has come to move on.

Michael Donley is secretary of the Air Force. Gen. Norton Schwartz is chief of staff of the Air Force.