USAFE - who we are, where we are going

  • Published
  • By Gen. Roger Brady
  • United States Air Forces in Europe commander
I recently passed the six month point of my command of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and I must say it is an inspiration to see USAFE Airmen and our allies and partner nations in action.

I spent almost half my time logging more than 72,500 miles across three continents and 12 countries talking to Airmen and observing a high level of excellence displayed by USAFE's finest. You are the personification of the Air Force's top priorities of establishing and maintaining partnerships to win today's fight, developing and caring for Airmen and modernizing for 21st Century excellence.

Whether delivering humanitarian supplies to Georgia, supporting U.S. Central Command in Southwest Asia, executing a joint task force effort in support of a presidential visit to Africa or building partnerships throughout the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, USAFE leads the way for our service and our nation. In fact, 2,500 to 2,700 USAFE Airmen are deployed on any given day, winning today's fight and ensuring freedom's future.

United States Air Forces in Europe Airmen also cooperate at every level of government with the militaries of our partner nations in Europe and Africa. United States Air Forces in Europe Airmen participate in joint, bilateral and multinational training events and exercises, like MEDFLAG 08 in Mali and Exercise Thracian Spring in Bulgaria. These events strengthen the bonds with our allies, increase interoperability and prepare us for tomorrow's challenges.

Each and every day, you take care of our fellow Airmen and their families by providing state-of-the-art training and education opportunities, and outstanding base support and health care services, all the while staying fit to fight and ready to deploy at a moment's call.

All of these things ensure we continue to care for our people.

So, what's not to like? Not much, actually. I am extremely proud of our people and humbled to be your commander.

That said, I am compelled daily to remind myself and all of you that the hardest thing for an enormously successful group of people to do is look objectively at themselves and realize there are things that could be done better.

As I have conducted these "mirror checks" over the last six months, it has come to my attention that:
- We are unnecessarily losing Airmen and family members in vehicle mishaps
- We have unnecessary, and sometimes tragic, events stemming from excessive consumption of alcohol
- We have a very small number of Airmen who believe they can take advantage of others and not be held accountable - one is too many
- We occasionally damage expensive assets and put Airmen at risk by not complying with published technical instructions for the task being performed
- We occasionally communicate openly in ways that could compromise the security of our operations
- Supervisors do not always pay sufficient attention to ensure dormitories and work-spaces are clean, safe and secure
- Sometimes supervisors walk by problems, leaving them unsolved and worse, convey to our Airmen that the standard is lower than it really should be
- We can be more aggressive in articulating our civilian personnel requirements and relieve families who pay more than they should for off-base childcare

Obviously, these are things we need to fix.

You may be able to add to this list. These are just a few of the things I observed and am committed to improving every day. And please make a note ... most of the items on this list do not require an increase in funding. They are issues that deal with being leaders and wingmen, being determined to be a better Air Force, to take care of each other and hold each other accountable to a higher standard.

But, do we have enough resources to accomplish our assigned missions? For the most part I believe we do, and it is my job to ensure we do.

I will aggressively advocate to ensure we have proper resources but, to be credible in doing so, I need your help in providing data - not emotion - to those who resource our mission.

With all that said, you have jumped on opportunities to make operations more effective and efficient. You're doing an even better job than in the past with arguably less resources.

Continue on the path of finding areas where things can be improved; identifying problems is important, but relatively easy. Developing and executing solutions is more difficult, but absolutely critical. I know I can count on your support.

We serve a great nation and a great Air Force in a magnificent command. Individual Airmen and USAFE units continue to win Air Force level awards in virtually every part of our mission.

I am proud every day to serve with you, and inspired by your high level of competence and commitment. Thank you for all you and your families do in the service of the nation.