Thursday, May 24th, 2012 - 13:21
The U.S. Air Force must
balance capabilities between current combat operations and
the need to address emerging threats and challenges, with
the ultimate aim to be lean, lethal, and agile.
On the History and Evolving Role of Undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force
The U.S Air Force was created as part of the National Security Act in 1947. Since its inception, the Air Force has had an undersecretary. It was interesting; in preparing for this conversation I went back to look at what the responsibilities of the undersecretary of the Air Force were in 1947. It involved such areas as procurement, industrial mobilization, material requirements, and atomic energy.
It’s interesting to see how we have evolved as an organization over time. For example, there was a period from about 2002 to 2007 when the undersecretary was very focused on the space mission. Those in the undersecretary job at that time were triple-hatted: they were undersecretary of the Air Force, the DoD executive agent for space, and the director of the National Reconnaissance Office. From 2007 until I arrived in 2010, there was no undersecretary of the Air Force. In 2010, we re-envisioned this role. At the broadest level, my responsibilities encompass organizing, training, and equipping the people and the equipment of the United States Air Force in partnership with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. I am acting secretary on his behalf when necessary. I am also the Air Force’s chief management officer, which was a recent role established by Congress. Then I have some specific responsibilities as the senior energy and sustainability official for the Air Force and also as the Air Force focal point for space.
On the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Vision
The new defense strategy calls for the U.S. to maintain its military capability across a range of conflicts. All the lessons that we’ve learned in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 10 years, we see those continuing to be brought to bear as we conclude the conflict in Afghanistan, but also as we undertake counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates globally.
Read the entire interview.