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Gen Welsh - USAF Chief of Staff

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I think right now, most folks would call it a success if even one thing improves...

Make your Squadron PTL eligible to give PFTs again instead of having it be someone from a different unit.

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...Gen Welch's ...

... Gen Welsch ...

damn, people, it's not that hard to spell someone's name correctly, especially when he's about to be our next CSAF! Welsh.

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It isn't about good or bad, it's about trends. People will respond with small improvements into the little things (Blues Monday, PTL issues, AAD degrees or whatever). If we start fixing the little things that are easy to fix, the bigger things will come with time. My opinion only, but I have high hopes for the new CSAF.

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I'm not going to hold my breath. The whole Shoe clerk/chief apparatus is too invested in the anti morale patch, Friday t-shirt demagogery so unless the new CSAF wants to completely cut them off at the balls (which I wouldn't mind seeing) he won't change anything to keep his credibility with non flyers. Secondly, blues Mondays are the brain child of ole Norty so in order to make him not look like a complete moron the new CSAF will continue to further his policies. More things change the more they stay he same...

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It isn't about good or bad, it's about trends. People will respond with small improvements into the little things (Blues Monday, PTL issues, AAD degrees or whatever). If we start fixing the little things that are easy to fix, the bigger things will come with time. My opinion only, but I have high hopes for the new CSAF.

Fix the small things and the big things fall in place? You just blew every chiefs mind there.

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Fix the small things and the big things fall in place?

Focus on patches, sleeves, zippers, reflective belts, haircuts and shoe shines and all the big stuff will fall right into place.

Works every time from what I hear.

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Gee, I wonder why a budgeteer/cost analyst was picked as vice chief...writing is on the wall.

Well, in case you have forgotten, the function of the Air Staff is to plan and equip the combat forces. Putting together the budget is pretty much most of what they do (from daily monitoring of current expenditures to program year execution to future year analysis of alternatives and costing of various system options, as well as the necessary lobbying of Congress to steal the other Services' money. The Vice Chief is the head guy for that, so getting the best budgeteer/cost analyst you can find into that job is your best hope for getting your programs into action!

Edited by HiFlyer

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Fix the small things and the big things fall in place? You just blew every chiefs mind there.

You didn't blow their mind, you played right into their hand. They see a bunch of broken windows (belts, sock color, patches, etc.) that aren't on their own a big deal or really an indication of further non-compliance but they're adopting the NYC crime mentality and trying to quash the little things.

Focus on patches, sleeves, zippers, reflective belts, haircuts and shoe shines and all the big stuff will fall right into place.

Works every time from what I hear.

Exactly. I vote we fix the big stuff and then maybe the little stuff won't really matter anymore. The only reason people are pissed about the little stuff IMHO is because a lot of big stuff is F-ed up beyond belief.

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Exactly. I vote we fix the big stuff and then maybe the little stuff won't really matter anymore. The only reason people are pissed about the little stuff IMHO is because a lot of big stuff is F-ed up beyond belief.

So you're saying you wouldn't be stoked if they masked the AAD, got rid of blues Monday, and brought back morale patches (as three commonly complained about examples?) That can all be done with the stroke of a pen without much analysis of long term impacts, and morale (amongst the majority) would quickly climb. I'm not advocating that he shouldn't strive to fix the major issues we are facing, and I, for one, never said to fix the small stuff and the rest will follow. My point is that after what we are used to, it wouldn't take much to turn morale around. The larger problems just might be easier to tackle with a content fighting force.

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So you're saying you wouldn't be stoked if they masked the AAD, got rid of blues Monday, and brought back morale patches (as three commonly complained about examples?) That can all be done with the stroke of a pen without much analysis of long term impacts, and morale (amongst the majority) would quickly climb. I'm not advocating that he shouldn't strive to fix the major issues we are facing, and I, for one, never said to fix the small stuff and the rest will follow. My point is that after what we are used to, it wouldn't take much to turn morale around. The larger problems just might be easier to tackle with a content fighting force.

Oh hell yeah, I'm all for that, I was just commenting on the broken windows phenomenon someone else pointed out and how that's kinda what we've been getting Chief'd with lately.

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about AADs being masked now that I've spent a bunch of time going out and getting one...I guess I'm for everything being "unmasked" because you should be able to show off what you took the time to accomplish, but not sure if that's possible without the monstrosity we have today where all it is is a box and God help you if you haven't checked it by a certain date. There has to be a better way...

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I'm honestly not sure how I feel about AADs being masked now that I've spent a bunch of time going out and getting one..

Nice.

I hate it when I have to counsel my officers that for the sake of their self-preservation, they need to start on their AAD ASAP. FTR, my strat list doesn't take AAD into account whatsoever, which is why it doesn't always jive w/the boss's. But I still have a duty to let them know that, right or wrong, it does matter. I will go to bat all day for a guy (or girl) that is a well-rounded officer and mission contributor over one that is known to dodge the scheduler to work on the AAD, but I don't often win. That is why I want to see it masked. I would like to see the end of the madness.

But I digress, we don't need yet another thread to spiral into the merits of the AAD debate. My opinions are mine, and I'm done trying to change anybody else's (at least on this forum.)

Out.

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I guess I'm for everything being "unmasked" because you should be able to show off what you took the time to accomplish

Exactly the flawed logic that caused the current policy to exist.

The time you spent on a master's degree should be worth nothing. The education you received should be worth something but if you can translate it into improved performance. The problem is that the AF focuses on the time-spent aspect not the performance aspect and looks at master's as symbols of dedication, nothing more.

Edited by Danny Noonin
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I wonder if Gen Welsh reads BO.net. He has several seemingly easy suggestions that really could improve morale on day #1 (reference Romney "Day 1" ads). If any of you are one of his execs at USAFE, maybe an e-mail addressed to him with this thread's link might be just what the doctor ordered before he gets on a plane to head to DC to take over.

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I wonder if Gen Welsh reads BO.net. He has several seemingly easy suggestions that really could improve morale on day #1 (reference Romney "Day 1" ads). If any of you are one of his execs at USAFE, maybe an e-mail addressed to him with this thread's link might be just what the doctor ordered before he gets on a plane to head to DC to take over.

Haha, wouldn't that be a trip. AF level policy being changed as a direct result of an internet forum. Well, he did say at one point that he wanted to go straight to the source to get his finger on the pulse of the JO corps... I think BO.net is a pretty good gauge of that pulse.

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pix071712welshTH.jpg

Up Close and Personal: Gen. Mark Welsh on July 19 will get his day before the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss his nomination to be the Air Force's next Chief of Staff. President Obama in May tapped Welsh, US Air Forces in Europe's commander since December 2010, to become the 20th CSAF. If the Senate confirms the nomination, Welsh would succeed Gen. Norton Schwartz, who has held the service's top uniformed post since August 2008. Schwartz is scheduled to retire, effective Oct. 1, although his retirement ceremony is set for Aug. 10. Also at the hearing, the committee will take up the nominations of Army Lt. Gen. Frank Grass to be National Guard Bureau chief—he would replace Gen. Craig McKinley, who also is set to retire—and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Kelly to become US Southern Command boss, succeeding Gen. Douglas Fraser.

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Getting back to Gen Welsh, he's lowering the hammer on sexual assults during his confirmation hearing. Protecting female airman will be high on his bucket list. It will be interesting when he takes over. More careers will be destroyed, get ready.

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Getting back to Gen Welsh, he's lowering the hammer on sexual assults during his confirmation hearing. Protecting female airman will be high on his bucket list. It will be interesting when he takes over. More careers will be destroyed, get ready.

NEVER BE ALONE IN A ROOM WITH A PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX AT WORK. We all know what the threat ring is on this one, so don't fly into it. It may have expanded slightly with DADT repeal, but not by much.

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http://www.af.mil/ne...sp?id=123310764

"If confirmed, I fully accept the responsibility to stand beside Secretary [of the Air Force Michael] Donley and lead all of those Airmen--690,000 strong, active, guard, reserve and civilian Airmen--who selflessly serve our nation as part of an unbeatable joint team," Welsh said.

What a coincidence....

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On Hold

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/27/gop-senator-holds-up-vote-on-air-force-nominee-over-sex-scandal-response/

So, instead of bringing in new leadership who might be able to tackle issues like this, congress will hold that leadership from stepping in.

zb

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Officially confirmed by congress to start the job on 10 August...

So I guess my question is...

Can I wear my morale patch and friday shirt yet?

Cheers.

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Interesting read in Forbes; http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2012/08/06/new-air-force-chief-must-reverse-services-downward-spiral/

New Air Force Chief Must Reverse Service's Downward Spiral

The U.S. Air Force is getting a new chief of staff, and he faces the Herculean task of reversing an institutional decline that threatens to permanently impair the service’s warfighting capabilities. The main reason for the decline is that America’s military spent the first decade of the new millennium fighting enemies with no air forces and no air defenses, so Pentagon spending priorities shifted to other areas. But the deeper problem is that the Air Force has never been comfortable with politics, and that disability can be downright lethal in a democracy.

You can see just how lethal by looking at the barrage of criticism General Mark A. Welsh III faced in Senate hearings to consider his nomination as the next chief. Senators were irate over not being consulted about Air Force plans to transfer or retire hundreds of planes in their states, and wanted to create a commission to review the future balance of active and reserve units within the force. If implemented, the idea would politicize the Air Force’s planning process and further hobble an already faltering institution.

These sorts of problems don’t usually come up for the other military services and they didn’t used to arise for the Air Force. Legislators from a particular state will complain about the movement of an aircraft carrier or the disposition of Army maintenance work, but it’s exceedingly rare for an entire legislative chamber to be up in arms over a service’s budget submission. How the Air Force got to this point is a cautionary tale about what happens to an institution that doesn’t foster the behaviors necessary to get along with diverse political constituencies.

When the old millennium ended, the nation’s newest military service — it became independent from the Army in 1947 — seemed to be on the flight path to a bright future. In 1999, during the final Spring of the American Century, Air Force fighters and bombers led NATO to a crushing defeat of Serbia in the Balkan air war, with little support from ground forces. John Keegan, whom a New York Times obituary last week called the preeminent military historian of his generation, wrote that Serbia’s defeat proved “a war can be won by airpower alone.”

It seemed new technologies such as precision-guided munitions and low observables (“stealth”) had vindicated the long-held view of Air Force theorists that air power could be a “winning weapon.” Better yet, the victory was achieved not by indiscriminate bombing but rather through selective targeting of critical infrastructure — an approach championed by air-power enthusiasts since the 1920s. Air power thus appeared perfectly suited to an era of American economic and military dominance, an era of small wars in which the most technologically-sophisticated player would always prevail.

That dream didn’t last long. Only two years later, terrorists equipped with little more than courage and imagination attacked the icons of American power on 9-11, and the Air Force was nowhere in sight. The nation was dragged into the longest war in its history, fighting elusive adversaries that the service was ill-equipped to defeat quickly. It eventually figured out how to do the job, but the solution — unmanned drones — wasn’t what air-power proponents had envisioned for the world’s preeminent air service. The Air Force spent most of the decade supporting other services rather than leading the way.

That might not have been so bad if the Air Force had managed to hold its modernization program together until a “real” enemy came along. Most military experts realized the Al Qaeda would never pose the kind of threat to American survival that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had. And money was flowing freely to all of the military services during the Bush years. So it should have been possible for the Air Force to maintain the pace of modernization despite the focus on unconventional adversaries.

But it turned out that the Air Force’s internal bureaucratic and political weaknesses were too pronounced to keep the air-power story on track, so once the “shock and awe” stage of overseas conflicts had passed, the service began steadily losing altitude. The first big political setback came in 2003, when investigators determined that a senior civilian weapons buyer had biased competitions in favor of her future employer, Boeing. That turned into the biggest Pentagon procurement scandal since the Regan years, and aborted a plan to jump-start modernization of aging aerial-refueling tankers by leasing a hundred from the same company.

The effort to purchase new tankers became a poster child for poor management practices. When the service subsequently ran a competition and sought to award the program to Boeing rival Northrop Grumman, the Government Accountability Office ruled the Air Force had failed to fairly apply its selection criteria and so the service had to start over. By that time, the 400 KC-135 tankers in its fleet — crucial enablers of the service’s global reach — were approaching an average age of 50 years. Today, four years later, the service still hasn’t managed to acquire a single new tanker, although it at least has awarded a development contract.

Shortly after the tanker program became embroiled in controversy, senior advisors around Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began questioning a plan to replace the service’s radar and eavesdropping planes with a version of the same jetliner Boeing had proposed for the aerial-refueling mission. Being able to monitor hostile activity in the air, on the ground and across the electromagnetic spectrum is a core competency of the Air Force, but its Cold War fleet of sensor planes has grown decrepit with age. Rumsfeld’s advisors argued some of the missions should be done from space in the future. When the two sides couldn’t agree, the plan to replace the planes was canceled and so the service now is saddled with a costly collection of antique airframes to perform some of its most vital missions.

By the time the plan for replacing Air Force sensor planes was killed in 2007, a different kind of problem had appeared that eventually would shake the service to its roots. A pattern of mistakes in the handling of nuclear weapons led to an investigation that so disturbed Defense Secretary Robert Gates he requested the resignations of both the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff. Gates said at the time that their removal was due solely to findings of poor stewardship in the nuclear-weapons program. However, he was also angry over the Air Force’s perceived foot-dragging in providing surveillance drones to troops in the field, and he was sick of bickering between his advisors and Air Force leaders over the fate of the service’s prized F-22 fighter.

Whatever the mix of motives leading to the purge of Air Force leaders in mid-2008, it formalized what many airmen already sensed: their service’s influence had reached a low ebb. An institution that dominated military councils in the early years of the Cold War now was sometimes excluded entirely, and the sea services seemed to be winning most of the plum assignments to head joint commands. One signal of air power’s waning influence came in 2007, when a Marine general and admiral were replaced as chairman and vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by an admiral and a Marine general. The previous practice had been to rotate such assignments among all four services. However, the outright removal of the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff, and their replacement with Gates proxies, was a new low.

Under the circumstances, it was hard for the new Air Force leaders to gain credibility within the service or defend air-power franchises in joint deliberations. Their perceived power was further undermined when Gates, held over into the Obama Administration, proceeded to kill some of the Air Force’s top modernization programs in April of 2009. Among other things, he killed its top-of-the-line F-22 fighter at barely half of the service’s stated requirement; canceled its planned next-generation bomber despite the dwindling number of bombers in the active fleet; terminated a future combat search-and-rescue helicopter that had been the service’s number-two modernization priority; and deep-sixed a revolutionary communications satellite at the heart of Air Force global networking plans.

In partial compensation for this bureaucratic carnage, Gates promised to accelerate purchases of the Air Force’s single-engine F-35 fighter, a lower-cost fighter based on the design of the twin-engine F-22. However that commitment did not outlive Gate’s tenure as Secretary of Defense, and Pentagon planners have been scaling back near-term buys of the F-35 ever since. Most of the new fighters in the Air Force’s five-year spending plan have now disappeared, and so the service must scrounge for money that can be used upgrade to Cold War fighters until something better comes along. Meanwhile, each new budget year brings the cancellation of additional programs once thought critical to the future of air power.

So here is the Air Force that General Welsh will be inheriting when he becomes Chief of Staff. Its bomber fleet, once the backbone of the service’s posture, is a grab-bag of antiquated and dissimilar airframes that could not sustain global operations against a peer adversary. Most of the aircraft in its aerial-refueling fleet are around 50 years old, based on an airframe designed in the early 1950s. Its radar planes and other sensor aircraft are of similar vintage, with no replacements in sight. Its fighters and attack aircraft are being replaced at such a slow pace that venerable Cold War airframes will need to be equipped with new electronics. And its fleet of helicopters for retrieving downed pilots is on its last legs, frequently out of service for repairs.

The nicest thing you can say about this picture is that the service has acquired a sizable number of surveillance and attack drones over the past decade, which will serve the nation just fine if future enemies are as ill-equipped with air defenses as the Taliban. Air Force managers have also done a good job of rescuing the nation’s military-satellite constellations from a series of destructive mistakes made in the Clinton years. But the traditional core of the Air Force, its fleet of manned aircraft, is older than ever before — so old, in fact, that the safety of flying some of the most aged planes is becoming an issue.

This deterioration in the sinews of America’s air arm cannot be attributed to lack of missions or money or mental capacity. The air fleet has been in heavy demand since the Cold War ended; December 17th of last year was the first day in 20 years that no Air Force plane flew over Iraq. Money has been plentiful for much of that time, so much so that the five-percent of human beings who call themselves Americans now account for nearly half of all global military spending. And anyone who has sat through Air Force meetings at the Pentagon knows the service is full of smart officers and enlisted personnel (it may have too many of them).

So what has held the service back, when the need for new aircraft is so clear? Other than the blessing of not having to deal with enemies who know how to fly planes, one possible cause to consider is institutional culture. The top leaders of the Air Force are all pilots, and they’d much rather be flying an F-16 over some remote air base than serving in a Pentagon desk job. The warfighters of other services probably feel the same way, but in the Air Force aversion to all things political seems more pronounced. The Navy, in contrast, never seems to lose sight of the need to tell the sea power story to politicians and listen to their responses. It also understands how to get its various communities into alignment before going forth to battle the other services.

Air Force leaders might benefit from studying the Navy’s example. They would learn that constantly being at loggerheads with their reserve component is no way to make progress in the political system, and that failing to consult with the representatives of local communities guarantees Air Force plans will be resisted when they reach Capitol Hill. People who have dealt with the incoming chief say he is a natural leader who thinks clearly and has exceptional interpersonal skills. He will need all the inspired leadership and mental acuity he can muster to pull his service out of the downward spiral in which it now finds itself. If the Air Force doesn’t start buying a lot more planes, and soon, historians will remember this period of its history as the institutional equivalent of a “controlled flight into terrain.”

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Good article, but focuses completely on equipment and ignores the AF's eat least equal problem of our slow (but increasing) drift away from a focus on combat airpower and appreciation of the tenets of that combat airpower.

We could have all the platinum-plated toys in the world, but if we don't have people who are trained, motivated, and supported well to operate those toys we are doomed. Conversely, highly motivated, trained, and supported airmen can do wonders even with only average equipment.

Great quote from the article, though:

The nicest thing you can say about this picture is that the service has acquired a sizable number of surveillance and attack drones over the past decade, which will serve the nation just fine if future enemies are as ill-equipped with air defenses as the Taliban.
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Good Riddance Gen Schwartz. I thank you for your service and I'm pretty sure you tried like hell to right this ship, but I'm fairly confident most people would say our service is worse off now than it was four years ago.

Edited by BattleRattle
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