USAF Leadership Shifts As New Top Officer Calls For Action

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The U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff four-star Gen. David Allvin has seven words of advice for today’s airmen: “Don’t take your foot off the gas.” As reported in Air Force Times, Allvin explained that he believes current Air Force personnel stand at a tipping point in history—a contrast between how wars were fought in the past and how they will be fought in the future.

In prepared remarks at a ceremony last month, Allvin said, “We have accelerated change, and now must turn this momentum into outcomes. The time to execute is now.”

As the current top officer in the USAF, the career mobility pilot and strategist took the step up from the number-two spot in the service’s command structure. Heading a new slate of Air Force leadership, Allvin is in charge of a $180 billion budget addressing the needs of close to 700,000 service and civilian employees worldwide. His vice chief of staff is Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, who was confirmed Dec. 19 and has built his Air Force career as a special operations airman.

Joining Allvin and Slife at the senior level of the Air Force command are now-head of Air Combat Command Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, formerly head of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), and Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, who will assume command as top officer at PACAF. The officers will need to “ensure the force can juggle myriad conflicts around the world without significant growth, and convince a restive Congress to fund those plans,” according to Air Force Times.

Last month, Allvin said publicly, “We face a security environment which grows more complex by the day and a pacing competitor which continues to advance at an alarming rate. We have a responsibility to lead and advance the integration of the joint force … We must now follow through.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

43 COMMENTS

  1. Our military can’t even protect our Southern border. But they do have benefits beyond belief for all us slugs in the private sector who create 100% of the wealth destroyed by government. $34T in debt must be repaid. Why are government employees and retirees getting fat COLA’a that balance the historically high inflation that government alone has created?

    • Protection of the border from migrants is not the military’s mission, as I’m sure you know.
      Military benefits are partly designed to offset the low wages for putting our lives on the line. Also, by spending a career floating out in the middle of the ocean, or bopping around the world away from our country — where opportunity abounds — we give up the chance to build a consistent career with potentially much greater financial returns. That’s what the benefits are for. Lastly, the lifelong benefits come with a string; we can be involuntarily recalled to active duty to defend you and your lifestyle, whatever it may be.
      Your debt/inflation comment is spot on, but an airman with a wife and baby (yes, I know, the Air Force didn’t make him get married) need help keeping up with the cost of living and even then often end up needing assistance. The country’s financial morass is not their fault.
      Seeing the military as tax thieves is a sentiment that is as old as the hills, but in the end we are the ones protecting your right and opportunity to thrive as a “private sector slug”. You’re welcome.

      • Spot on! Wouldn’t it be nice if this administration treated the military, and worried about them, and their families, as they do the illegals that they allow to cross our borders unabated?

      • Couldn’t agree more OldDPE! Thank you for your service. I served as well and get really irritated by this person’s comments.

      • Well said. And COLAs are there to keep us out of poverty. We gave that money to or earned it from the government when it was worth a lot more and the government had the opportunity to gain interest on it. To get back ten cents on the dollar now in spending power during retirement would be a true slap in the face.

    • @kent.misegades: Less than 1/2 of 1% of the population is currently serving in the military. Historically, of those serving, only 30% of officers and 10% of enlisted reach retirement. I’m proud to be one of them. But look elsewhere for the cause of deficit bloat. Our numbers are too small.

    • The U.S. military cannot be used to secure the border because of the Posse Comitatus Act, which was passed into law in 1878. The Act bars the Army from being deployed to execute border laws unless otherwise authorized by Congress or the Constitution. While there are certainly policy and practical arguments to be made as to why using military force is not the most effective way to enforce immigration laws, from a strictly legal perspective, the current use of troops at the border is likely to withstand judicial scrutiny if challenged in court. The military is restricted by laws enacted by Congress from actions that are compulsory, prohibitive or coercive against U.S. persons.

    • Well Kent … you’ve pushed MY peeped off button now! Tell us, please, how much time you spent in the military and when.

      I spent 21 years in the USAF. Going in during the Viet Nam war in 1968, we were being paid less than $100/mo. After taxes — yeah, they take tax out of that — I seem to remember having $43 twice a month coming in. I lived in an open bay barracks heated with coal furnaces and we had to shovel the coal if we wanted to stay warm. We showered in a room with metal tacked up on the walls. The toilets had no privacy walls. I remember sometimes wanting to go to the Airman’s club for a 25 cent burger and a 15 cent beer but not being able to do it very often so I could do more on the weekend IF I got off duty. And in Viet Nam … people were dying for not much more. To make ends meet, we’d all go down to the blood bank to sell our blood every 6 weeks for $15 … we felt rich with that infusion. It took four years before I had enough spare money to afford a few decent things. Younger guys with families could be found bagging groceries at the commissary or other off-duty part time jobs. I once stayed a few nights in the Navy married housing in Long Beach … it was SO bad they didn’t have to forfeit full housing allotment to live there. So the 3.2% raise I just got is MY payback for living that way when I was young. Even retired as a SrNCO, I wouldn’t be able to live on my military retired money today. And I damn sure ain’t getting rich.
      Frank Tino has it right … your comment shows your ignorance. Next time, keep your bravo sierra opinion to yourself.

        • BIG diff between the First Amendment and spewing fallacious stories about million of Americans who served and sacrificed — some giving all — in a military uniform. If ya didn’t serve, speaking with disparity isn’t welcome. THAT’s why most of the comments are talking about Kent’s bravo sierra vs the story at hand.

      • I remember back in 1977 as an E-5 in the USAF, with a family of four, I qualified for food stamps. I just couldn’t get myself to take them.

    • Poorly thought out post. The military does not have the authority to control our borders in this environment. This is purely the doing of the government that the “majority” elected.

      In summation, the military and vets are as much victims of the government as the private sector, if not more so. Ponder this: The government (congress) has control over our pay which is often what’s left over after each politician takes care of their pet projects, pork, and boondoggles. Those in the private sector can negotiate for pay and benefits and if it doesn’t go your way, you can leave at will.

  2. Kent, The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits our military from performing domestic law enforcement (with limited exceptions). The job of “securing the border” falls to US Customs and Border Protection, who is of course subject to funding by Congress. A real solution to border security would require a complete revamp of our immigration laws, as well as working cooperatively with the Central American nations where most immigrants originate to improve their economies and eliminate gang violence.
    As for your concerns regarding government benefits and COLAs, perhaps the larger question is if the private sector creates 100% of the wealth, why are they not offering benefits to equal or exceed that of government? Surveys have shown for many years that private sector salaries substantially exceed those of government for many fields and skill sets.
    Lastly, creating wealth is infinitely more costly and difficult without government employees and agencies who ensure health and the rule of law, as well as providing for the orderly construction and maintenance of infrastructure.

    • Nicely said and well written. I would submit, however, that border protection is not “domestic law enforcement” and protection of our borders and our people is EXACTLY what the military should be used for. Instead we seem to have a history of protecting everyone else around the world under the guise that a particular conflict abroad will ultimately be a threat to us. While I absolutely recognize that is a possibility, if the government and its military are not used correctly here at home, there will be no “us” to protect which, again, is EXACTLY why the military exists.

      • I may be what they should be used for, but the military, all branches, can’t just arbitrarily go there and do their stuff!
        Add to that we were in the process of securing the border and building a wall when the current administration (that loathes the military) pulled the plug on that plan!

    • “A real solution to border security would require a complete revamp of our immigration laws”
      Really? So Homeland can ignore the new laws and tell us the border is secure? Let’s solve all the nation’s problems by revamping crime laws, traffic laws, gun laws, drug enforcement, revamp rules to prevent CFIT, runway incursions, fuel exhaustion, stall/spin accidents…..

      • When your house is burning to the ground you don’t think about how you’re going to re-build it. You think about how you’re going to put out the fire first, then you think about how you’re going to re-build it. At this point in time, our house is almost burned to the ground with very little water and fewer people who know how, or, really want to put it out.

    • Several here are falsely claiming that the Posse Comitatus act prevents military intervention against illegal border crossings. That is obviously false. The PC law is to prevent the use of military force against DOMESTIC disturbances, not external invasion. External invasion (by the millions in this case) is a main thing that military forces are for. Furthermore the use of national guard forces has been used even in domestic disturbances many times.

      Also, revamping immigration laws has NOTHING to do with enforcing the border. Those are entirely two independent issues, which many conflate in order to obfuscate matters. Whatever the immigration policy is, a secure border is essential for the territorial integrity, safety and sovereignty of our nation.

  3. These are all good words from the General but as a retired AF pilot, i would be far happier to hear him stress readiness over diversity.As to “kent’s” whiney post above… I would have been far more interested in reading his DD214. Sounds way too much like someone that is unhappy with life in general.
    Kent, take it up with the system, not the folks that keep you free so you can whine to your heart’s content.

  4. You can’t handle the truth! Son we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it you? You Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility that you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have the luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Santiago’s death while tragic, probably saved lives; and my existence while grotesque, and incomprehensible, to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that well, you need me on that wall! We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something, you use them as a punchline. I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself, to a man who rises and sleeps, under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and than questions the manner in which I provide them! I’d rather you just said ‘thank you’, and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn, what you think you are entitled to!

  5. If you want to talk about benefits, you must talk about risks. Like that part about getting shot at, the likelihood of which seems to be ramping up again. For that matter, there’s also crewing on a V-22. And near the top of the list – after having served, trusting one’s health care to the scandalously poor-performing VA.

    Not every vet sees combat, nor is ordered to operate sketchy equipment, nor is in a position to rely only on VA care. But we have to take care of those of us who take care of freedom.

  6. A military person is committed to our country 24/7, always. When directed to do something, they may not refuse, day or night. They have commited to proceed into the worst possible situations if required by the need to defend us (and you). Best thank them. Are you willing to step up to the plate if needed? You go sign up and then you can run you mouth with respect all you want, as long as you say “yes sir” when directed to do you job. You will get your respect not only for doing the difficult job if needed, but for having been there if you are ever called forth to do so. They get pay and benefits for standing by for us any time and any place.

  7. Lots of replies from military folks here, to all of you…well said, proudly said and rightly stated.

    Your rebuttals to Kent’s rant were respectful and spot on, thanks.

  8. C’mon guys, cut Kent some slack. He’s arrived at his magapinions after a career amassing a quite respectable amount of wealth in the tech sector, lives very comfortably in a big house on a lake, and is quite personable until he veers into politics. He’s not unlike a lot of pilots who’ve never been called to sacrifice.

  9. Don’t lump military personnel in with all ‘government employees’. Military people sign a commitment to a rather rigid lifestyle, in addition to their personal survival risks. Civil Service people have as much freedom as anyone in the private sector, so if you want to cry about government benefits and early retirement, pick on the civilians, not the military. It costs a lot of money to be the best military in the world, no different than having a good insurance policy. I don’t have a problem with compensating the people who guarantee(d) that insurance,

  10. I lost hope for the Air Force last year when they issued a new “official” writing guide that authorized “The inclusion of pronouns, such as he/him, she/her, and they/them, in signature blocks”. This was explained as to align more closely with the business world (I guess because it worked so well for companies like Anheuser-Busch and Target)

    Seems to me the only pronouns that should be used are Major, Sergeant, Colonel, Airmen, General, etc. Still sad to see the civilians using the military for social experimentation.

  11. The general said nothing about where our “foot on the gas” is, or should be, taking us. Or which way his “tipping point” should tip. It all sounds very platitudinous and vague. More detail would have been nice. Maybe that is in another speech.

  12. When the commander-in-chief’s family is getting money from the Chinese, leaving billions of dollars of military hardware in Afghanistan, and allows tens of millions to freely enter the country unchecked; face it, YOU HAVE NO SECURITY.

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