VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Vandenberg Air Force Base to experience the mission up close on Nov. 6.
During the visit, Wilson saw the Combined Space Operations Center, 576th Flight Test Squadron, ICBM Launch Support Center, ICBM Telemetry Integrated Processing System, Western Range Operations Control Center, met with local Girl Scouts, and concluded with a town hall for the military and civilians of Vandenberg AFB.
During the town hall, Wilson outlined her priorities to the packed crowd.
“First and foremost we have to restore the readiness of the force using the money that Congress has given us to accomplish that objective,” said Wilson. “Our second major objective is that we have to cost effectively modernize. We have modernization programs going on all across the Air Force over the next decade that we are trying to manage our way through; and we have to do that in a way that is cost effective. The third major objective is to drive innovation. We are doing that in a lot of ways.”
Wilson also highlighted how important squadrons are to the overall success of the Air Force.
“Our fourth major objective is to develop exceptional leaders,” said Wilson. “Chief Goldfein and I [speaking on Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein] are absolutely focused on the squadron as the core unit of the Air Force. If we can get squadrons right, to get that level of leadership right, there is almost nothing we can do to screw up the Air Force. Because for every Airman, what really matters is the leadership at the most basic level of command. So we are focusing on our squadrons getting the support there, and making sure we have great leaders at the squadron level.”
Continuing, Wilson emphasized the importance of allies and partners.
“Finally, our last objective is to strengthen our alliances because we are stronger together,” said Wilson. “One of the things in the National Defense Strategy that to me was interesting, and unusual, was that it specifically says to deepen our alliances, and build good partnerships. It is a strategic advantage because our adversaries generally do not have allies. Their neighbors are afraid of them, and want to be aligned with us.”
Wilson ended by tying the big picture strategy to the day-to-day tasks of all operational Airmen.
“One of the things I like about the Air Force is that it is a value driven organization,” said Wilson. “We really live our values, and we expect it of each other. It’s the very foundation of who we are. Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do; I expect you to be driven by our values. That is what I expect from all of you, and that is what you can expect from me.”