USAFE continues transformation for future

Gen. Tom Hobbins
U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander

***image1***The U.S. Air Forces in Europe may be the oldest major command in the
Air Force, but has been in a constant state of change since the end of
the Cold War.  Over the years, we have transformed into a lighter,
leaner, and more lethal expeditionary force focused on ensuring
freedom’s future throughout the theater. As our transformation
continues, our vision and mission have evolved to meet the challenges
of our ever-changing climate.  

USAFE has once again adapted to meet the needs of this changing climate
by developing a new vision and mission that reflects our focus on
interdependence, recapitalization and modernization, and taking care of
our most important asset – our people.  They will set a course for
the command to not only fly, fight and win in air, space, and
cyberspace, but also build teams to help us leverage the capabilities
of our sister services, allies and coalition partners.  

Our new vision states we are leading U.S. European Command’s recognized
expeditionary air component and enabling global mobility and strike,
Area of Operations stability and security through the full spectrum
interdependent exploitation of air, space and cyberspace.  The
context here is for all service leaders in our parent commands like
EUCOM and USAF to value and recognize us as expeditionary, able to
fulfill the operational demands of the entire spectrum of operations
because we are experts at exploiting air, space and cyberspace.

While the vision encompasses our overall focus, our new mission
addresses the specifics of delivering a full spectrum of options to the
Combatant Commander, as well as taking on the mantle of joint and NATO
coalition force leadership.  Our Warfighting Headquarters would be
that organization with that leadership. We are an Air Force at war, so
we must be able to provide options like deploying our A-10s, civil
engineers or medical personnel downrange, or the 32 Air Operations
Center to Al Udeid, or moving our CRG to open a base or contributing to
NATO’s Response Force, in order to prosecute that conflict.  

As we focus on providing the right capabilities to our Combatant
Commander, we must also ensure that we have the most up-to-date weapons
systems that facilitate intraservice interoperability to do so. 
The recapitalization of our aircraft is also critical to this. 
For example, acquiring aircraft like the C-130J and potentially the
C-17 will help us meet the challenging demands of airlift in theater.

While recapitalization and modernization are critical, we must not
forget that partnerships and coalition building are key to our success
as a command. 
USAFE must continue to invest in Theater Security Cooperation to
bolster our relationships with our allies and coalition partners. 
Our Theater Cooperation Teams must continue to promote regional
stability through focused theater engagement in nations like Bulgaria,
Romania, Niger, Ghana, South Africa, Algeria, and a variety of other
countries.  These teams are forging important partnerships that
will inevitably advance the Global War on Terror and help prevent the
development of terrorist networks.  

Finally, our investment in our people cannot go unmentioned. 
Without our people, there would be no mission.  Our most valuable
resource is our Airmen who are the heart and soul of what we do, and we
will continue to focus on quality of life issues to make sure their
needs are met.  We will also concentrate on programs like AFSO 21,
which will help us make the right process changes to eliminate
unnecessary effort, while continuing to take care of our Airmen during
a very transformational time for our Air Force.

As the oldest major command in the Air Force, USAFE will continue to
transform and create visions and missions that meet the needs of the
current and future security climate.  We will seek new ways to
make the most efficient use of our equipment and people assets, while
looking to the future to forge new partnerships and continue the fight
for freedom’s future.