: This is not the first time the Air Force has faced fiscal constraints—and it won’t be the last, said CMSgt. Pat Battenberg, command chief for Air Force District of Washington. “When things get tough, by default, it goes back to leadership,” said Battenberg during a command chief’s forum at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday. “Leadership will get you through it.” For Air Force Special Operations Command’s CMSgt. Bill Turner the biggest strain on the command is the “fear of the unknown,” specifically with the Fiscal 2012 and Fiscal 2013 budgets, but he said he was confident Air Force leadership will remain “very engaged and active and will make a difference at the end of the day.” The Air Force Academy’s CMSgt. Todd Salzman said leadership, though, “needs to be careful” about the information it puts out there. “We need to be careful when we say, ‘everything is on the table,’” said Salzman. “That means a lot to a young airman who is married to another young airman and has two small kids. Then they are not thinking about their J-O-B anymore, they are thinking about their family … they are taking their eyes off the ball and we can’t have that.” Command CMSgt. James Cody, with Air Education and Training Command, said “We have a tendency to get in a downward spiral,” however, it’s also important to remember “we are sitting on the greatest Air Force in history and we can’t get down on ourselves.”
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.