NEWS | April 10, 2012

Air Force's top enlisted leader visits JB Charleston

By Senior Airman Ian Hoachlander Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The 16th chief master sergeant of the Air Force spoke with Charleston Airmen about current and future Air Force operations April 9 during a brief visit here.

During his visit, which included an "All Call" held at the base theater, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy touched on topics such as force shaping, Air Force budget cuts, education, training and resiliency.

"We need people to know that every single day we are living this war," Roy said. "There are still 31,000 Airmen deployed overseas, with most of them residing in Afghanistan. Every day, this base, this installation, supports the efforts toward this war. The mission you do today is unbelievable. This is one of the busiest installations in our Air Force today."

Roy went on to address President Barack Obama's proposed 2013 budget, which outlines a significant decrease in funding to all military services. Roy emphasized the important work today's Airmen do every day will continue to be important to national security.

"As we continue to shape the force, Airmen today are going to be doing a whole lot more than I was when I first came in," said Roy. "Both the Navy and Air Force are very technologically advanced branches of the military.   We have Airmen coming in with bachelor's, master's and even doctorate degrees, which means we have a very, very educated force. It is a very competitive Air Force and is going to become more competitive in the future."

Beyond the budget constraints, Roy focused on the new adaptation of enlisted professional military education - EPME Next.

The chief master sergeant of the Air Force stated there is a huge gap in the Air Force's enlisted professional military education. On average, there is a 10-year gap between Airman Leadership School and the Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

"This is a very important time for Airmen, because that's the time they find themselves as first-line supervisors," he said. "We have an opportunity to pivot the enterprise and we are going to do it."

EPME Next is going to focus on more consistent exposure to the Air Force institutional competencies through both distance learning and in-residence courses.

"Our goal is to make you the best supervisor you can be," said Roy. "We do not want you to wait until you are well into your career to gain this knowledge. Not only do we want the active-duty Airmen to participate in these courses, but we want the Total Force to have these opportunities as well."

Roy encouraged Airmen to maintain a resilient attitude through the shaping of the force and also in their day-to-day lives.

"Resiliency to me is not a buzz word," Roy explained. "Resiliency is the idea that you can work through a very tough situation and grow from it. We do not need to design another program to help Airmen; we need to inherit the culture of taking care of one another. We have got to be assertive and learn how to communicate with one another."

As Roy toured Joint Base Charleston, he emphasized that we cannot look at just one specific entity when focusing on the budget, we have to look at the force overall. He noted that we have to find efficiencies and duplications of efforts and cut them down.

"Every joint base is different and takes up its own cultures, Roy continued. "There are some challenges in it and some goodness in it. When we deploy, we operate that way and it is kind of a hidden benefit. We have to embrace that new culture. We are not giving up our Air Force culture by doing this. We are given the opportunity to spread our culture and influence other branches just like we need influence from Sailors, Soldiers and Coast Guard members ourselves."

Roy concluded by saying, "Paula and I are honored to be back here at Joint Base Charleston and in the Lowcountry. We always feel at home here and today is no exception. There is nothing more that we can ask for than a community that takes care of our Airmen and Sailors as well as their families while their spouses are deployed."