Note from the President
I hope all of you were able to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving. As Americans, we have much to be thankful for. As 2016 draws to a close one of the many responsibilities I have as your President is to complete the 2017 budget. 2016 will complete year-one of a two-year strategy to balance AFA’s and based on our progress so far, we are right on track. Like other non-profit associations, we had to make some tough decisions in our 2017 budget, but we ensured the integrity of AFA’s mission to promote a dominant Air Force.
November was a great month for me personally because I had several special opportunities to represent AFA. For example, I attended the National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery hosted by the President. I had the unique and special opportunity to visit with the Air Force Wounded Warriors at the Northeast Warrior CARE Event at Joint Base Andrews. The Airmen were inspiring and their courage, along with those dedicated folks who support them, made me proud to be a member of AFA. AFA’s Wounded Airman Program was proud to support various events including the kick-off event, training sessions, adaptive sports programs, and hosting over 20 caregivers on the Spirit of Washington for a much needed day of rest and relaxation! As a reminder the support AFA provides through our Wounded Airman Program would not be possible without your generosity. Learn more on our website.
Another November engagement was in Dayton, Ohio. I served as keynote speaker at the Dayton Aerospace & Defense Forum, hosted by the Dayton Business Journal. The topic of the event was “The Air Force’s Role on the War on Terror and ISIS.” My comments focused on the importance of connecting business and innovation with the Air Force and I stressed the importance of the Air Force to adapt along with industry for a more streamlined process.
Lastly, each month I do my best to advocate for the Air Force by submitting Op/Eds to various aerospace defense publications. Defense News published my latest Op/Ed on the topic of the third offset strategy. I write that a growing budget deficit, increasing peer competitor expansion combined with an urgent need to modernize our military for the 2020s and beyond have made the third offset strategy more than a concept — it is an urgent matter that can’t be put off. The full article can be found here.
Soon, Congress will be back in session and with a new administration about to take on the challenges of our nation, your AFA staff will be in high gear on the Hill. Due to a hiring freeze, our Hill engagement staff is very thin; however, we are in the process of hiring staff so expect a new monthly congressional update to begin very soon. We are also considering a third major annual event for AFA—stay tuned as we work through the details and approval process. I am also happy to report that our Air Warfare symposium in March is selling-out fast as is our Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September. Based on that success, we are planning for expanded space in the future.
2017 promises to be a big year for AFA. I will keep you informed as we continue to support the greatest Air Force on the planet.
Larry O. Spencer