Women's History Month
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- During the last month, we've taken time to celebrate Women's History and recognize the immense contributions of our female service members, both past and present.
When I began my career in 1982, female Airmen were still greatly limited in their operational capacity to serve. Over the last thirty years, our Air Force's recognition of diversity and inclusion as a force multiplier and national security imperative has facilitated great change. Today, more than 99% of our available jobs are open to women, and Headquarters Air Force is currently working on a plan to evaluate and incrementally open up the remaining specialty codes.
We must make smart investments in our future by continuing to break down barriers to service while looking for opportunities to care for our incredible Airmen and their families. Secretary James recently highlighted a series of nine initiatives aimed at strengthening diversity and inclusion. One of these initiatives is the Career Intermission Program, which allows our top-performing Airmen to separate for one to three years in order to meet personal or professional goals without hampering career progression. Similarly, the Air Force is committed to expanding programs that help our Airmen balance deployments while raising a family, such as Post-Pregnancy Deployment Deferment. This initiative will increase Post-Pregnancy Deployment Deferment from six months to one year. These programs help us continue to build an environment that is inclusive, rewarding, and flexible.
Today, our nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges as we continue to rebalance to the Indo-Asia Pacific. Just as we have in the past, Pacific Air Forces must meet this challenge with bold, innovative, and air-minded leadership. Our Air Force demands we leverage diversity to continue overcoming barriers to achieve what most call impossible.
To our Airmen, both military and civilian, and your families, thank you for everything you do. I can't tell you how proud I am to serve alongside each of you and how much our team appreciates what you bring to Pacific Air Forces.