Chief Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Visits CJTF-HOA
The chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force spent a day in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti to see firsthand the role Airmen play in the mission of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and throughout the U.S. Africa Command theater.
During the October 13, 2010 visit, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy visited Airmen in various work centers around the camp.
"What Airmen are doing here is important," the chief said. "You have to understand your presence here has an impact on both the military and civilian populace around you. Each and every day, what you do has a strategic impact around the world; it's not just about changing the tire on an aircraft."
Though this was the first time Chief Roy has been to Africa, he noticed how engaged U.S. AFRICOM and 17th Air Force are throughout the continent.
"I see their presence in the theater," he said. "You can't do this mission from afar and it's evident to me that AFRICOM and 17th Air Force leaders are engaged in this theater."
The mission in Africa is very different than in Iraq and Afghanistan. Service members are not going in and kicking down doors, but rather are building relationships and mentoring partner nations to help build their security capacity.
"We use kinetics when we have to (in other theaters), but the non-kinetic aspect of warfare is one that is not just about the military but is about governmental and nongovernmental agencies, and I think that's some of the challenge," the chief explained. "I think we work well with joint and coalition partners, but not a lot of (Airmen) have a lot of experience with other (U.S.) agencies."
Another challenge, Chief Roy pointed out, is the new focus on building partner nation capacity.
"That's fairly new for us as an Air Force," Roy said. "For Airmen coming into U.S. AFRICOM and 17th Air Force, the biggest challenge, I believe, is understanding the mission. It's different, but that's who we are today. Our people will adjust, and they'll train for that (mission). Those non-kinetic pieces are just as important, if not more important, than those kinetic pieces. Building partner nation capacity working with local militaries, government agencies, working with nongovernmental agencies is important to the security of Djibouti, surrounding nations and the security of the U.S."
During his visit, Chief Roy held an Air Force enlisted call where he shared his office's focus areas: ready for joint and coalition operations, deliberate development, building resiliency.
"We are the smallest Air Force we've ever been," chief said. "We have about 40,000 Airmen deployed around the world. But every single day, we have about 200,000 of our Airmen employed by a combatant commander."
The chief believes predeployment training specific to the mission is important for all Airmen.
"It's not about the combat aspect," he said. "It is about the capacity to work with another nation and all the entities within. That to me is a piece (the Air Force) needs to look at for our predeployment training."
Roy also received a mission brief from Rear Admiral Brian Losey, CJTF-HOA commander, and Command Sergeant Major Scott Mykoo, CJTF-HOA senior enlisted leader.
"I was absolutely impressed with the leadership here at CJTF-HOA," chief said. "They really appreciate the work our Airmen are doing for the task force. I thank them for their leadership and continued support of our Airmen deployed here."