By Tom Budzyna
Air Force News Service
9/20/2012 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Reflecting on more than 30 years of Air Force service, the chief master sergeant of the Air Force said the future lies with our Airmen.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy made the comments in a speech focusing on the “Enlisted Perspective” at the conclusion of the three-day Air Force Association annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exhibition in Washington, Sept. 19.
Roy predicted the next 30 years will be revolutionary for the Air Force, and that success will require a combination of teamwork and deliberate development.
“It’s not just about the ‘iron,’ it’s about our Airmen,” said Roy. He added that the Air Force provides an opportunity for every Airman to advance, to make a difference, and to experience his or her own story.
Roy said the future hinges on the input, experience and brain power of enlisted professionals to help resolve how world class capabilities will be provided and how the Air Force will meet its current and future resource challenges. “Our senior leaders are receptive to our Airmen’s ideas. They need to be, because Airmen do the job every day.”
Roy said developing Airmen relies on three pillars: Experience, training and education, which are built on the Air Force’s core values of integrity, service above self and excellence. He emphasized the need for deliberate development of Airmen to meet the needs of the joint force of the future.
Roy explained that the Air Force’s 66 sister service enlisted professional military education slots available per year are now managed by a nominative process. He said as part of a more deliberate effort to select the best candidates, a board will now review candidates, looking for a history of outstanding performance and at the specific position an Airman is filling.
“We support the combatant commands and the joint team,” said Roy, adding that an Airman working with a sister service will likely have a better chance at attending their PME courses.
Talking about the future of Airmen and the Air Force overall, Roy said the picture is bright. “We have Airmen in the fight every day. There’s no doubt we have challenges ahead of us, but the thing we have that a lot of other forces don’t is you — Airmen. We have more innovative Airmen who are inquisitive, educated, motivated and ready to do tomorrow’s mission. There will be bumps to come, but we’ll be OK. In fact, I think we’re going to be better than we are today, and Airmen today need to set their minds on that – being better than we are today.”