Note from the President
During WWII, General Douglas MacArthur’s Airman, General George Kenney, said, “Airpower is like poker. A second-best hand is like none at all—it will cost you dough and win you nothing.” According to testimony this month from General Stephen Wilson, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, “today’s Air Force is at risk of becoming a second-best hand with readiness hovering near 50 percent.” As you know, the demand for air, space and cyber forces has steadily grown while the Air Force operates the oldest aircraft fleet since before World War II. We heard testimony that end strength has decreased by 38% since 1991, aircraft have decreased from 8600 to 5500 and combat air force squadrons have decreased from 138 to 55 today. We cannot afford the hollow Air Force of the 1970s. The Air Force must increase its end strength and modernize its forces to keep up with the challenges of this decade and beyond. We must convince Congress and the Nation to invest in our Air Force to increase readiness, nuclear deterrence, cyberspace, infrastructure and our combat air forces if we expect our Air Force to deter and respond to threats around the world. This is not the time to become complacent. Here at AFA we will continue to promote a dominant Air Force in the Halls of Congress, in the Pentagon, in the field through our Chapters, and whenever and wherever possible. Please join us in promoting a dominant Air Force in your local communities and with your local congressional representatives.
We are busy getting ready for our annual Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando next month and have a great lineup of speakers to discuss command and control and fusion warfare. If you can’t attend, stay tuned to our Daily Report and our social media sites for updates as they happen.
We continue to recognize the Air Force in their 70th birthday year by highlighting our #70for70 campaign with additional recipients. Airmen, community members, and family supporters who help make up the total Air Force family will be featured each month. The campaign will culminate in September at our Air, Space & Cyber Conference, when we will honor all 70 Air Force heroes who have broken barriers through innovation, teamwork and heritage initiatives.
AFA is honored to support the 2017 Air Force Trials February 24 to March 2, 2017 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada through our Wounded Airman Program. AFA’s Wounded Airman Program will be on-site providing valuable support to our Airmen and families that deserve the very best. This support includes providing travel assistance, caregiver activities, and stepping in to help whenever and wherever a need is identified. We will be also hosting the Closing Ceremonies, thanks to the generous support of Deloitte, to celebrate the hard work the warriors and caregivers have put in throughout the Trials. To learn more about the Air Force Trials, click here.
I am very excited about our Airmen for Life Program. I encourage you all to spread the word to those who are not members that if you have already served or still serving, in or out of uniform, you can still be a part of the Air Force by being an Airman for Life by joining AFA.
We have a new Senior Director of Government Relations, Keith Zuegel, Col (Ret.), USAF. You’ve probably received his Legislative Update recently. Keith joined us from doing legislative liaison/government relations in the military, corporate, and private sectors. Keith is a retired Air Force Colonel, and I had to the pleasure of working with him on active duty.
I am excited for all that 2017 has in store for us and hope that all of you can help with these initiatives that will benefit AFA and help us to continue to be the force behind the Force.
Larry O. Spencer