-- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III met with more than 140 wing commanders from across the Air Force Nov. 28 at Joint Base Andrews, Md., to underscore, face-to-face, his expectations of them as leaders, and to discuss Air Force issues.
"Operationally, we're doing great ... mission-wise we're doing everything we're supposed to be doing and we're doing it in outstanding fashion," Welsh said. "The bottom line is performance."
He emphasized that performance comes from taking great care of Airmen and their families, as well as making sure they are proud of what they do. This includes addressing the problems of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the service.
The chief of staff stressed that zero occurrences of sexual assault in the Air Force is the service’s goal, and that commanders who are not directly and aggressively involved in fixing this issue are not part of the solution, but part of the problem.
"The environment inside our Air Force is changing. It's been changing for the last 25 to 30 years, but it hasn't changed enough and it hasn't changed in all the right ways to ensure integration of all Airmen," Welsh said. "And so you and I are going to change it -- immediately and definitively. We must ensure that every member of our Air Force is treated with respect and feels like a critically important part of the team."
Eliminating sexual assault and preventing an environment conducive to sexual harassment takes strong and effective leadership, especially at the unit level. Ridding the Air Force of these problems is a change for the good.
Every Airman has a story and Welsh stressed that leaders learn and know the stories of their people. "The more we know and care about each other, the more we will take care of each other," he said.