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Acting secretary shares his perspective with Airmen

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley in his first visit to an Air Force base, held a town-hall style meeting with members of the Air Force Space Command here, July 1. He outlined three perspectives for the audience; jointness, support to the war on terror and the welfare of Airmen. He candidly addressed the challenges facing the Air Force, in particular the nuclear enterprise issue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley in his first visit to an Air Force base, held a town-hall style meeting with members of the Air Force Space Command here, July 1. He outlined three perspectives for the audience; jointness, support to the war on terror and the welfare of Airmen. He candidly addressed the challenges facing the Air Force, in particular the nuclear enterprise issue. (U.S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley (left) is greeted by Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command (right) and Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command upon his arrival at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Mr. Donley visited four bases on July 1-2 to discuss his perspectives and address the issues facing the Air Force. (U. S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley (left) is greeted by Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command (right) and Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command upon his arrival at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Mr. Donley visited four bases on July 1-2 to discuss his perspectives and address the issues facing the Air Force. (U. S. Air Force photo by Duncan Wood)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The U.S. Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do will remain in place, said Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley during a July 1 visit here.

In his first visit to an Air Force base since being named to the position, Secretary Donley held a candid town-hall style meeting with members of Air Force Space Command.

"We are working through the issues confronting the Air Force," he said, referring to the nuclear enterprise issues and others that caused his predecessor to resign. "We need to build back inner confidence in our Air Force and we need to rebuild our credibility."

Secretary Donley outlined three perspectives he brings to this position based on his previous experience.

"The first thing you will get from me is 'jointness,'" he said. "The Air Force is one part of a big team."

He outlined some of the ways the Air Force contributes to the ongoing joint fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terrorism both in the United States and around the world.

"I know the Air Force is contributing lots of mission sets and capabilities, and it is an impressive array, I can tell you," the acting secretary said.

A related theme is the support to the war on terrorism.

"This is a priority for this Air Force," he said. "We have more than 30,000 Airmen deployed around the world engaged in the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan."

One of Secretary Donley's first acts upon appointment was to visit Walter Reed Hospital and speak with wounded Airmen. From this visit he gained an appreciation of their sacrifices and inspiration from them as well, as these warfighters all expressed their desire to heal quickly and get back in the fight. He also recognized those who stand behind and support the people on the pointed end of the spear.

His third theme is the welfare of Airmen. The acting secretary said the Air Force is a technology-driven service, but it's most important asset is the knowledge, experience and commitment of the people who make it all work to support the warfighter.

"The welfare of our Airmen is very important to me, and I will try to strike the best balance in the Air Force budget between equipment needs and our people," Secretary Donley said.

After addressing his overall concerns, he spoke to the issue closest to Air Force Space Command members right now.

"The Air Force's credibility has been tarnished, and we need to rebuild it," he said. "The Air Force leadership needs to develop a roadmap for the nuclear enterprise to put us on the right track for stewardship of the nuclear mission that the defense establishment and the American people expect from us.

"There is no quicker route to recovery than the power of tens of thousands of Airmen and civilians rededicating themselves to the high standards of excellence that have always been the hallmark of the world's best Air Force," he said.