Welsh: Air Force must learn to tell its own story, without the jargon
Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — The Air Force must return to its roots and get better at telling its story, Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh told airmen and retirees Tuesday at the Air Force Association conference.
Welsh poked fun at the avalanche of buzzwords and confusing terminology he’s encountered at the Pentagon and said that while the Air Force is doing great work every day and is consistently relied upon by the other services, “everybody doesn’t understand what we’re doing.”
“I was scared to death my first few weeks because I thought it was just me,” Welsh said. “My concern is we’re not telling our own story well enough. We’re trying, but something’s not connecting.”
Welsh said the Air Force has always recruited the best people possible, educated and trained them better than anyone else and given them the best equipment money can buy. The third part of that equation, training, is at risk because of budget cuts, Welsh said, but as long as the Air Force continues doing the other two, “we’ll be fine.”
Welsh also announced that Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy will retire at the end of January.
On Monday, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley highlighted several of the service’s accomplishments in the past year but also noted some of the challenges — including a high rate of suicides and a sexual abuse scandal at the Air Force’s recruit training base.
Investigations and prosecutions continue into the allegations of sexual assault and professional misconduct by training instructors at Lackland Air Force Base, Donley said, and command-directed investigations should identify any systemic failures.
“But we can’t overlook the fact that if all our airmen followed the rules and lived by Air Force standards, these crimes and policy violations would never have taken place,” Donley said. “Leaders at every level have an obligation to adhere to and enforce Air Force standards and to establish and maintain a unit climate and culture that reflects what we stand for. This is family business. Nobody will do this for us.”
The Air Force celebrates its 65th birthday this week.