CSAF, CMSAF begin tour of PACAF
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody began their first visit to the Pacific Air Forces Aug. 18.
After making their first stop in Hawaii, Welsh and Cody will visit Air Force bases across the Pacific theater in Alaska, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Welsh and Cody will address a variety of key topics during their visits, including the Pacific rebalance, sequester, civilian furloughs, readiness, and sexual assault issues.
Welsh and his wife, Betty, along with Cody and his wife, Athena, are focused on taking a closer look at how to prepare and care for America's Airmen and their families across the Pacific. They will hold Airman's Calls at every base to afford them an opportunity to meet with PACAF Airmen. Welsh and Cody will also recieve mission briefs at each location and meet with select civic and foreign leaders.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has emphasized the U.S. military's rebalance to the Pacific, stating that the Asia-Pacific rebalance is a focus on the strategic significance of a region with developing nations, trade, energy and environmental issues, as well as ever-evolving technologies and security cooperation efforts.
Going forward, he said, America and Asia-Pacific nations must "strengthen existing alliances, forge new partnerships, and build coalitions based on common interests to ensure this region's future is peaceful and prosperous."
This endeavour to rebalance comes in the midst of a national sequester, a process that automatically cut the federal budget across many departments and agencies, to include the Department of Defense. Meanwhile, last year U.S. President Barack Obama announced the new defense strategy to redirect remaining resources toward the Asia-Pacific region due to growing security and economic interests here.
Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle said the rebalance is about shifting U.S. priorities, and is intended to "close the gap" between deficiencies in the region and U.S. national security interests, despite any complications caused by the sequester.
"Sequestration hinders the closing of this gap but will not alter our commitment to the region," Carlisle said. "We will prioritize all resources to ensure our commitment and obligation to the region."
During the Airman's call here, Welsh said issues like sequestration do not stop an Airman's inherent drive to spur each other on to keep the Air Force great.
"Great people, which we have, plus great pride, which we will always need, equals great performance," he said. "In our business, performance is the bottom line. In order to get that performance we need, we've got to treat those Airmen well. Make sure the person next to you knows how impressive they are, how important they are, and how critical they are to what we do. If we do that, everything else will take care of itself eventually and we'll keep the world's greatest air force over time because (Airmen) won't let it be anything else."