WASHINGTON -- In his keynote address at the 2012 Air Force Association's Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley discussed major service accomplishments over the last 12 months and the Air Force's strategic way ahead.
Donley said the Air Force's budget plans reflect both priorities identified in the Defense Strategic Guidance and the requirements of the Budget Control Act. They also represent the culmination of a series of tough decisions by Air Force leaders.
"Our Air Force leadership determined the best course of action for our Air Force is to trade size for quality," Donley said. "Becoming smaller will allow us to protect a high-quality and ready force."
He said a smaller force allows leadership to better focus on modernization and capabilities in the future.
Donley also noted the need to take greater care of Airmen, particularly in the prevention of sexual assaults.
"All of us in the Air Force family and citizens across our nation, as well, have been troubled by allegations of professional and sexual misconduct by basic military training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, [Texas]" Donley said. "This misconduct has no place in our Air Force culture and is especially egregious when it occurs in the basic military training environment."
The Air Force is taking aggressive steps to assist victims and increase protections for Airmen in training environments especially, Donley added.
"We can't overlook the fact that if all our Airmen followed the rules and lived by Air Force standards, these crimes and policy violations would never have taken place," Donley noted.
"We hold Airmen to high standards because that's what is expected of us, and what we expect from each other."
Those same high standards, Donley continued, have enabled the Air Force to accomplish so much over the last 12 months.
The secretary discussed the Air Force's success in taking the fight to al Qaeda, strengthening of the nuclear enterprise and remotely piloted aircraft community, returning the F-22 Raptor to flight, and bringing in new service leadership.
"Airmen are making essential contributions to America's national security and performing important missions every day," Donley said. "Although stretched by two decades of combat, humanitarian and stability operations, the men and women of our United States Air Force continue to provide unmatched global vigilance, global reach and global power across the full spectrum of operations."
He added that America's Airmen are, without a doubt, in the joint fight today.
"Every day, our active duty, guard, reserve and civilian Airmen are adding bright new chapters to the Air Force story, combining air, space and cyber power in new ways that add to our nation's joint warfighting capabilities," Donley said. "Working together in common purpose as one Air Force, there is no challenge we cannot overcome."