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Chief of Staff visits Bagram Airmen

by Capt. Travis Tougaw
455th AEW Public Affairs

2/3/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFNEWS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney McKinley visited Bagram and Kandahar airfields Feb. 2 during a tour of Afghanistan.

The general addressed the Airmen of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and 451st Air Expeditionary Group, discussing personnel, mobility and quality-of-life issues.

"We are an Air Force at war and a country at war, and you're serving in a higher place by being where you are," General Moseley said. "You're involved in a cause that is righteous, not only defending the United States of America but also making a better future for a lot of people."

The general said one of his main concerns as chief of staff is improving the force.

"How do we fight better? How do we be more efficient, how do we be more effective, how do we be more lethal? I worry about that every day," he said.

General Moseley said he is also concerned with taking care of Airmen. He said only one out of 100 applicants is selected to enlist in the Air Force and only 30 out of 100 are accepted as officers, and he won't relax recruiting standards.

"The people who wear the Air Force uniform are the most educated, most skilled, most talented, most creative, most flexible of any group of people," he added.

Some of the quality-of-life issues he's looking at include expanding education opportunities and improving how the Air Force accomplishes additional duties and ancillary training.

A third issue General Moseley has been working on since becoming chief of staff is recapitalization, or renewing the aging aircraft fleet.

"Every incremental year we put on an airplane means it costs more to operate it. The more money it costs to operate it, the less money we have to do other things," he said.

Additionally, the effectiveness of aircraft degrades over time as missions and threats continue to evolve. He noted that the Army Air Forces took delivery of the first B-17 seventy years ago.

"You think, 'that's not that bad,'" he said. "Except that we'll be flying KC-135s about that long. If you had to operate and maintain a B-17 over Afghanistan, what good would that be?"

One of the methods the Air Force will use to direct money toward recapitalization is by cutting the number of people on active duty. General Moseley explained that the military works with four kinds of money: personnel, infrastructure, operations and maintenance, and investment. Because the infrastructure and operations budgets must be maintained, the Air Force has to choose between taking money from personnel programs or future investments. For the last 25 to 30 years, he said, the Air Force has paid its bills from the investment money.

"That's why we're operating an inventory that's 25 years old," and that is leading to the draw down with the final number of active-duty Air Force members yet to be decided, he said.

Finally, the general reminded the audience that the Air Force is a total force with 700,000 civilian, reserve, Guard and active-duty members. The same standards are applied across the board, so that there is no difference in the way a Guard and active-duty flying units operate. "That's the strength of the United States Air Force," General Moseley said. "When it comes to operations at war, we hold ourselves to the same standards."

The work being done in Afghanistan and Iraq is important to the future of the United States, General Moseley said.

"This business we're in right now is really about our kids and our grandkids and what the future is going to be like for our country. We do this because we want a better future for our families."

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