JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The Air Force’s top general discussed topics such as telling the Air Force story and innovation during the Air Education and Training Command Senior Leader Conference here Oct. 18.
“Telling the Air Force story is a big deal to me,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during his speech to leaders from around the command. “The one thing I’m finding is … our own Airmen don’t know where we’re going; they don’t know where they fit in it.”
Welsh told the senior leaders to think about how they can present a conclusive message at every level. “Our Airmen really want to know where they belong,” he said. “They want to know what they do is valuable.”
The Air Force has five priorities: continuing to strengthen the nuclear enterprise, winning today’s fights, developing and caring for Airmen and their families, modernization, and recapturing acquisition excellence.
“If you look at those five priorities, and if you’re not someone who supervises or commands people, you might not be able to find yourself in those priorities,” he said. “We can’t allow people to think because those are five things the Secretary and Chief said that what they’re doing isn’t important.”
The general simplified the explanation of where Airmen fit into the mission by focusing them into the areas of winning the fight, strengthening the team, and shaping the future. “And I defy you to not be able to place yourself in one of those,” he said. “And that’s the idea … but you can find everyone else somewhere in there.”
With looming fiscal austerity that could affect future readiness, Welsh said the size and scope of the Air Force mission will have to be curtailed to meet future requirements. He said it will take innovation.
“If we keep the same-sized force 30 years from now, we won’t have enough money to feed it — much less fight it,” he said. “We’ve got to do something different.”
Welsh said whatever the future holds, he’s certain the mission cannot be accomplished without the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. He said global strike; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; mobility; space and cyberspace are mission priorities that cannot be stopped.
“All of those things are core to the Air Force. We have to do them and we have to do them well.”