JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
A year ago, I had the honor and privilege of accepting the guidon to become the 36th Pacific Air Forces commander. Since that day, it’s been thrilling to watch Airmen and Guardians perform at extremely high levels every day to accomplish our mission under some very challenging circumstances in the priority theater.
As I look back, I think about how COVID-19 has touched every facet of our lives and mission, and continues to challenge us today. Yet without fail, you faced every obstacle and found a way to continue to defend America’s interest here in the Pacific theater by executing the objectives of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in support of the National Defense Strategy.
The biggest factor to the command’s success is the more than 61,000 Airmen, Guardians, civilians, and families who make up the PACAF team. Each of you play a critical role in how we integrate joint force air, space and cyberspace capabilities to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific. The command isn’t a command without the people, and in my time here I can say we have the best people. I’m grateful and thankful for each and every one of you.
When I took command, I laid out four priorities – diversity, readiness, innovation, and lethality – to focus our efforts. Across 16 time zones, 36 nations, 60 percent of the world’s population and thousands of languages, PACAF Airmen in three numbered Air Forces and nine installations executed those priorities and delivered unrivaled airpower anytime, anywhere. Dedicated people focusing on the mission can achieve anything!
Another important factor to our success is our allies and partners in the region who share a common vision for the theater. You will hear me frequently speak about the list of allies and partners who want to work with us compared to our competitors. We are the partner of choice, and our success will be measured in the allies and partners we’re privileged to work alongside to keep a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The last year also required all of us to have a united focus against near-peer competitors to protect our homeland, deter aggression and be ready to fight tonight. PACAF Airmen flew thousands of sorties and executed kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities in all domains with our joint teammates and allies and partners in exercises, exchanges and operations to protect the international rules-based order and guard our national interests. That will be remain our focus as we go forward.
As I look to the next year in command, I’m excited about what is on the horizon. If you haven’t read the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” and the subsequent action orders – A, B, C, D – you’re behind the power curve. These documents will guide how we execute the command’s mission, vision and priorities amid great power competition with near peers.
I challenge everyone in the command to figure out how to use each of the action orders to accelerate change in the command. I’m most interested in Action Order Bravo – Bureaucracy, and using it to speed up decision-making and improve effectiveness in the command.
If you find opportunities to make things better by reducing bureaucracy, do so. If you need to elevate it to get resolution, do so. I made a commitment to all my commanders that they will find a receptive ear if they can find a better way to do our mission by eliminating bureaucracy. I make the same commitment to each Airmen and Guardian in PACAF. It is my firm belief that if we reduce bureaucracy, we will find the space for innovation and in turn take better care of Airmen, Guardians and their families.
Finally, I need everyone in the command to get familiar with Agile Combat Employment concepts. ACE is how we will fight in this theater. Multi-capable airmen will use networks of well-established and austere air bases, and leverage pre-positioned equipment and airlift, to deploy, disperse and maneuver combat capability around the theater to create dilemmas for our competitors. I need everyone to be ready to do their part in ACE.
I am honored to serve with each and every one of you and thank you and your families for all you do. Here is to another great year living and working in the priority theater.