Commander to seek advice from those ‘who do the job’
January 19, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – In his past job as the Air Force’s personnel chief, Gen. Roger Brady had his work cut out for him: He oversaw the service’s controversial plan to slash tens of thousands of airmen from the ranks, making him the Pentagon’s face of what the Air Force calls “force-shaping.”
Now, he will see what it’s like to be on the other end of those difficult personnel decisions.
As the 38-year Air Force veteran moves into his new role as the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, the self-described straight-talking general acknowledged he would see firsthand whether those were good decisions.
With the country at war, the Air Force is cutting 40,000 airmen from the service to modernize its fleet of aging aircraft. That will mean major commands such as USAFE must continue to find way ways to do the job with fewer people — a familiar theme across the service.
And when it comes to seeking advice on making those changes, Brady says the number of stripes on an airman’s sleeve matters little to him. As an officer who joined the Air Force in 1969, before many of the enlisted force were born, he said it is important to talk to airmen of all ranks and ages.
His best advisers will be those “who do the job.”
“I’m fortunate to have taken command of a great group of folks who know what their business is; know how to do it,” he said.
Brady, a pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in mostly the KC-135 tanker, C-21 and C-5 Galaxy aircraft, said he isn’t the type of person who is interested in subtleties. He admittedly prefers honest and to-the-point answers.
He takes a similar no-nonsense approach to leadership.
He said the goals for the command are simple but not without challenges: continue to work with NATO partners, find ways to work smarter, and build relations with other foreign militaries in places such as Africa. He said the key is to be “ready to fight tonight if we have to,” while also developing airmen.
“The most lethal weapon we have is our people,” Brady said.
But bases across the continent have fewer people than ever before. USAFE has cut more than 3,500 airmen slots in the past two years. Some 3,000 of those cuts occurred just last year even though the pace of deployments to places such as Afghanistan and Iraq has not let up.
Even with a smaller force, Brady said the biggest challenge facing the command is doing its part in the fight against terrorism.
“It is an ongoing threat to all people of goodwill,” he said. “So, we need to foster our ability to cooperate and interoperate against that threat.”
In addition to being the top U.S. Air Force officer in Europe, Brady also serves as commander of NATO’s Allied Air Component Command Ramstein, the top air force adviser to U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, and director of Muilitnational Joint Air Power Competence Center in Kalkar.
He replaced Gen. Tom Hobbins, who retired last month after serving two years as the USAFE leader.