2013 was a year “history will certainly not forget,” and airmen’s efforts throughout the year were “tremendous, individually and as a team,” wrote CMSAF James Cody in the latest issue of Roll Call, his monthly bulletin to the enlisted force. “We maintained a critical presence of nearly 23,000 airmen in the [US Central Command] region, and supported combatant commanders worldwide with more than 217,000 airmen,” wrote Cody in the bulletin, dated Dec. 30. “Tragically, 16 of our fellow airmen paid the ultimate sacrifice and many more were injured defending our nation,” he stated. Among the 2013 highlights, airmen “responded without hesitation” to natural disasters at home and abroad; launched the second Space Based Infrared System geosynchronous satellite into orbit and made it ready for operations; and “navigated the perilous waters of sequestration and furlough,” he wrote. Cody told airmen to take a moment to reflect on their successes to help prepare them for the year ahead, as 2014 will bring new challenges. “We’ll operate with a reduced budget; we’ll defend our nation in familiar and unfamiliar environments; and we’ll go through some significant force management that will require leadership at every level of command,” he wrote. (See also November’s Roll Call.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.