2014 Way Forward

  • Published
  • By Gen Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle
  • Commander, Pacific Air Forces
As we transition into 2014, let me begin by saying Thank You. Thank you for your selfless service to our great Nation and to your families for their countless untold sacrifices.

This year, our Air Force will face numerous challenges from force management reductions and potential force structure changes to continued challenges associated with budget and sequestration effects. In the Asia-Pacific, we are also faced with ever-evolving threats such as natural disasters, terrorism and organized crime, and the risk of miscalculation over territorial disputes...to name a few.

Ultimately, we have a moral obligation to our Nation to provide the best possible Air Force we can with the limited resources available. Together, Airmen -- civilian and military alike, at all levels must prioritize efforts within our Lines of Operation in order to safeguard our warfighting commitment to US Pacific Command. We can no longer do "more with less." For example, our fiscally-constrained and current security environment necessitates we emphasize multilateral ahead of bilateral engagements. I also need Airmen throughout the chain of command to differentiate and upchannel what we "must do" versus what we'd "like to do." Bottom line, we need to make deliberate use of our resources to ensure the US and its interests are protected, regional security cooperation is advanced, access to the global commons and theater stability are ensured, aggression is deterred, and our forces are postured for contingency operations.

Now more than ever, we must focus on our PACAF Resilient Airmen who are agonizing over tough career decisions. Commanders and supervisors, I need you to do everything in your power to let your Airmen know where they stand, so they are able to make informed decisions. In addition, I need you to be there for those who choose to stay, as well as assist in the transition of those who separate or retire.

I have proudly worn our Air Force uniform for almost 40 years. I plan to keep wearing it as long as I can for two reasons: 1) I have the honor of serving with Airmen like you -- Airmen with courage, integrity, and character, who treat each with dignity and respect; and 2) when I retire I can say, "I lived a life of consequence -- I was part of something bigger than myself and I made a difference in the lives of our children and our children's children."

We know we will encounter our share of obstacles in 2014, but these are the challenges of our generation, we own them. We come from a long legacy of bold and innovative leaders. Now is our time. We will pick up the mantle and continue their legacy. Look around, you are surrounded by amazing individuals...together we will meet these challenges...together we will succeed. So please stay with us, we need your intelligence, leadership and innovation. Thank you again for what you do every day and for your service. It's because of each you that our Air Force will continue to remain the world's greatest fighting force.

Click here to download Gen Carlisle's '2014 Way Forward.'