Everyone a Sensor: USAFE Commander Discusses Sensitive Topic at Airman's Call
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Commander, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, visited Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 21-22, 2012, to meet with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa leaders and Airmen.
While visiting, Breedlove hosted an Airman's call to discuss deployments and the CJTF-HOA mission.
"The first message from me is thank you for what you're doing here â? [and being] away from your families for the holidays," he said. "What you all have done here in the past year is absolutely staggering. All you know is war and deployments. You've all grown up in an Air Force very different from mine. Thank you for what you're doing because it's working."
Breedlove also discussed one topic, which he said, "is near and dear to my heart.
"The issue is sexual assault," Breedlove said. "As an Air Force we've attacked this problem to take care of victims and to prosecute perpetrators. I want to talk from a little different slant."
The general's plan includes that all Airmen, "step up, step in â? be a sensor."
"I want to go on the offensive," Breedlove said. "To a fighter pilot the best defense is a good offense. You don't want to be defending from your enemy's missiles. You want to have a missile in the air. We know who most of these [sexual predators] are. We know who that young lady or young man is who uses alcohol, or drugs, or rank, or position to put pressure on another Airman. I think we know who they are; [and] I'm about to get some missiles in the air on this. Let's not have to patch together a life, ruined by sexual assault."
Breedlove also issued a warning.
"I want these [sexual predators] to know that we'll be rid of them," he said. "You all need to step up and be a hero. If you save one, we've won this battle."
Breedlove then invited USAFE Command Chief Master Sergeant Craig Adams, who accompanied him on the visit, to the stage.
The chief urged Airmen to do four things: stay focused, take care of yourself and fellow Wingmen, do your best every day and keep in contact with your families back home.
"Thanks for your service," the Chief added. "Thank your families for their sacrifice. I'm extremely proud to serve with you."
Breedlove then answered questions posed by audience members.
"How will drawdowns affect deployment schedules?" asked Staff Sergeant Angel Delaney, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of fuels for CJTF-HOA Logistics.
"In budget years 13 and 14, the nation made a decision to downsize its military force," Breedlove said. "It also made a decision to draw down some of the mission expectations. The idea was we would get smaller, but we wouldn't try to do everything we were doing before. The reality is that latter part has not materialized yet. I think in the short-term we're going to see a bit of a mismatch. It is the intention of our leadership to downsize mission as we downsize force and not ask you to do more with less. In the short term, to get to that, you're going to do more with less."
One Airman asked about the rumored recreation of commander's support staff orderly rooms at the squadron and group levels.
"We made a decision to move about 470 Airmen back into the orderly rooms," Breedlove said. "There's a plan to distribute that 470. There's also recognition that that's not enough yet. We are here because we have taken people out of orderly rooms and given systems to [you to] do their job.
"Now you've got your first sergeants, chiefs and commanders sitting in front of a computer all day because they're doing the job that people used to do for them," he continued. "No wonder we have some of the problems we have in squadrons if [these leaders] are sitting at a computer. We've got to 'un-foul' this process."
In closing, Breedlove again shared his thanks.
"Thanks again for your service," he concluded. "You all are so much more lethal than we were. You're more educated, more capable â? it is just staggering."